Mondoweiss Online Newsletter



Palestine Papers– Fantasy and fiasco

Feb 11, 2011

Issa Khalaf


Most of us who admire and respect Hanan Ashrawi are keen to hear her thoughts on the current Palestinian situation, especially on the recent, so-called Palestine Papers. In an Al Jazeera interview with David Frost, “Frost Over the World” on 29 January 2011 found on You Tube, her position struck me as curious. I’ll summarize using many of her words without inserting quotation marks. She said that leaks are acceptable but not if they’re used as a political weapon, for ill-will, and in order to steer leaked documents in a certain direction, that is, not if they form a certain type of incitement or provocation, if they’re taken out of context, and if they’re doctored here and there. This, she said, makes the Palestine Papers, unlike WikLeaks whose leaks are neutral, a PR campaign with serious political objectives seeking to destabilize the PA and put a certain spin on those leaks. Al Jazeera, she says, is suspect. Some of the documents are doctored, some are true, some selected out of context. They are a deliberate attempt to show everything that is negative and that would negatively resonate among the Palestinian public and undermine the Palestinian negotiators and the leadership. Sometimes, they serve to break certain taboos and expose hidden attitudes. However, the Papers will enhance the rift and polarization between Hamas and the nationalists, making it much more difficult to reach conciliation. The documents show absolute American bias for Israel, the helplessness and pressure on the Palestinians, and Americans trying to manage the conflict rather than solve it, presenting no position beyond legal, political, and public discourse cover for Israel. They show Israel will not accept anything nor reciprocate in contrast to Palestinian flexibility and creativity. The talks, she said, have long been non-existent anyway, and the documents are merely “chats,” nothing agreed or conclusive or signed, just exploratory, not official positions.

It’s true that the hurried, journalistic and expert deluge of commentary on the Papers are isolated snapshots of one or more documents, not a comprehensive analysis and interpretation by professional historians, in context, of the entire bunch, and predicated on sound research of other sources. And that the Palestinian and other Arab analysts have a clear agenda, including advocacy of a one state strategy, and are not always fair, sometimes brutal, in their assessments and judgments.

Dr. Ashrawi is right: the Papers reveal nothing that we didn’t know—except perhaps that the Palestinians actually offered as much as they did. In 2008, the Palestinian negotiators were apparently willing to concede annexation of large areas of Palestinian East Jerusalem. These include the huge Jewish colonies and Palestinian “neighborhoods” where Jewish colonists set up shop, quarters of the Old City, and abdication of exclusive sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif. Offered too, were land swaps to include 70-80 percent of the Jewish settlers, estimated to be 500,000 plus, in the Jewish state. They also capitulated on the non-return of refugees, accepted demilitarization, partial sovereignty over resources, transfer of some Palestino-Israelis into the Palestinian state, and, not (at that point) agreed to by Palestinian negotiators, recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” essentially an exclusive national state for Jews only. Israeli negotiators refused a 1:1 land swap ratio, and insisted on larger annexation of West Bank land than the Palestinians were willing to give up, which was quite a bit. Pretty much what the Israelis tried to get out of Arafat at Camp David in 2000. Yet, the Israelis would have none of it, including their rejection of dismantling two mega-colonies further north that cut the West Bank in half and held precious land and water aquifers. In any case, in recent years, one should add the Jordan Valley to Israel’s eternal possessions.

The Papers also show, despite their craven, undignified, sycophantic slips—(where is the principled dignity and humility of a negotiator such as the late Gazan, Dr. Haidar abd al-Shafi, or Hanan Ashrawi, herself?)—the Palestinians standing their principled ground on 1967 baseline, international law, UN resolutions, etc., and threatening to pursue a strategy of one state to prod their intransigent interlocutors. The Israelis were not negotiating seriously, just buying time as usual, while the Americans, especially George Mitchell, behaving like children pathetically fearful of their Israeli masters, refusing to contextualize the negotiations in international law and UN resolutions, and dismissive of their previous commitments to the Palestinians, such as the 1967 baseline. Whatever the Israelis won’t concede, which is pretty much everything, we’ll wring it out of the Palestinians. This is the wretched story as always. The weak, perhaps, should not “negotiate” with the strong.

As I write, my mind goes off into an aside, which is this. Washington is an extension of Israel’s diplomacy, its vanguard, as it is of Israel’s military and economy. The two are virtually indistinguishable, their strategy formed around a bi-national oneness, as if Israel—its needs and misdeeds, its worldview and psychology so deeply woven in American politics, foreign policy, and media—is, indeed, the fifty-first state, the coddled stepchild, as I believe Ron Paul referred to it. Washington will pressure and threaten any party—the Palestine Authority, an individual Arab state, the Arab League, at the UN, NGOs—use any “tool” at its disposal, go to any length to protect Israel from the consequences of its reckless, even suicidal path—right or wrong, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, decent or indecent. It will spend billions of Americans’ hard-earned dollars to maintain dictators, such as Hosni Mubarak, and their repressive police apparatus, to secure Israel’s southern borders, not to mention more billions to keep Israel happy and American politicians free of domestic hassle. Human rights and freedom be damned. Real, sane American national interest and security be damned. Talking to Washington on Israel-Palestine is the same as talking to Tel-Aviv. The US effectively negotiates, sanctions, bribes, menaces, and wars on Israel’s behalf. The “peace process” in actuality constitutes an endless act of torment inflicted on the Palestinians in which the US pressures them for ever-growing concessions to meet endless Israeli demands. Without this reality, Israel cannot sustain its policies of occupation, expansion, wars, and violations of international law. Dependence or more accurately extraordinary access to the halls of power of a great state to realize colonization is an intrinsic part of Zionism. First Britain, then, since the 1940s, the US. Israel truly cannot exist without this bizarre phenomenon dubbed the special relationship. Not in the sense that the Arab hordes are out to throw it into the sea, but in the sense that it absolutely could not have carried on its decades-long brutality and aggressions with impunity, and therefore, left to its own devices, would have made peace with the Arabs long, long ago. Its power as well as the other side of the coin, its mirage of power, is a reflection of Washington’s might applied on its behalf, at the cost of America’s exhaustion and decline. Peace remains elusive precisely because there is no countervailing power to force an unaccountable Israel, virtually the only state in the world to enjoy this exceptional status, to reach a settlement with the Palestinians and its neighbors, inverting reality with the mantra that the Arabs understand only force.

Returning to where I was. I am puzzled by Hanan’s statements . How does she know some of the Papers are doctored, and which ones? Who is trying to destabilize the PA and why? Exploratory or otherwise, did not the Palestinian negotiators effectively make an offer that the Israelis could very well have accepted? Why and how is Al Jazeera “suspect”? More importantly, how can one say that the Papers will enhance the Hamas-PA rift when, in fact, the PA with the US, Israel, and Egypt worked mightily to undermine an agreement with a willing Hamas, effectively refusing national unity? When the PA looked the other way as Gaza was pummeled? Or is dead set on sealing the Egyptian-Gaza border and suffocating the Gazans to dislodge Hamas? Has not the Palestinian leadershipalready undermined itself because of its willingness to continue with this outrage?

Aaron David Miller who was interviewed with Hanan, argued that, while the Palestinians were prepared with flexible and creative fixes, they and the Israelis did not depart from their narratives. Israelis were silent because they had more questions than answers and were reluctant to express their positions. They are a strong power but also vulnerable and extremely cautious, hence careful and deliberate in negotiations. The peace process is in trouble because of leaders’ weakness on both sides and their inability to close the gaps. No one is prepared to consider making difficult decisions on the core issues and sell them to their respective constituencies. There is a lack of ownership.

Indeed. The Palestinians must shoot down the awful logic that has made the careers of countless academics, especially those Jewish-Americans motivated on behalf of Israel: the conflict is not a dispute between two states but one in which one state occupies and brutalizes another people. Peace is elusive not because of conventional wisdom, viz., that the politically survivable Israeli maximum offered to the Palestinians is far below the politically survivable minimum the Palestinians can accept. This is nonsense, because the Palestinians have been ready to accept a state in 1967 borders for decades, and this should not be hostage to domestic Israeli colonial politics. They are reasonably asking for viability to exist in what is theirs; Israel will not give them anything close to it. Thus, it is not a matter of reducing a fantasy gap; instead, it is a matter of one side wanting all the land without the other in it; of making one side abide by international law and decency.

It’s not that, per incredulous Israel supporters, the Palestinians don’t comprehend the nature of negotiations, whose fundamental purpose is compromise, not getting all one wants. The Palestinians understood these principles since the late 1980s, knowing they’d have to make concessions, but starting from the 1967 baseline. The Israelis, on the other hand, want a settlement exclusively on their own terms, their rights God-given. Israeli governments, certainly the current one, are more extreme in their position towards peace than Hamas, which has accepted a settlement based on 1967 lines. They rejected the Palestinians’ generous offer. We must therefore remember that the sensationalism about the Papers are unwarranted. At least we can say the Palestinians tried, negotiated in good faith, even capitulated. Now we can say, as if we didn’t conclude this by at least the late 1990s, that the Palestinians must move on.

Must the Palestinians, as it is argued by Israel’s supporters infuriated at Al Jazeera, accept whatever Israel offers, essentially surrender, to save it from itself and at least end Palestinian torment? That, given Israel’s internal contradictions and domestic calculus, this is the best that could now be realized for the Palestinians? That it will reassure Jewish Holocaust fear and paranoia? I don’t know. I do know that America forcing (no, not “pressuring”) Israel to do what is in its best interest is also good for it and its long-term safety and survival, and everyone else’s.

The central question is, knowing all this, now what, and why not recommend the PA quit the whole scene, nationally unify all elements, including civil society, and pursue a strategy of nonviolent resistance? Is there anything else left to do?  Clearly, Dr. Ashrawi cannot get herself to say the two state fiasco is (long) over. On the one hand, because of the asymmetry in power between the two parties, she knows there can be no negotiated solution. On the other, the peace process is only in “serious trouble.” So she implores the “Quartet” (really the US using the others to continue the sham) to do something, unilaterally, about a two state solution before it is too late. Here’s what she says in Foreign Policy on February 4, 2011 (“The Quartet needs a qualitative shift on Palestine”):

The Middle East “peace process” is in serious trouble. After years of fruitless negotiations, Israel’s occupation is still firmly entrenched, eroding what hope remains for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state and concluding a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution. …

In the absence of a neutral and principled third party, the vast inequalities separating Palestinians and Israelis have doomed bilateral negotiations to failure. The overall power disparities between occupier and occupied have been transposed to the negotiating table. …

It is not enough just to repeat the mantra in support of a return to bilateral negotiations. Two decades of such negotiations have eroded the very viability of the two-state solution, and the credibility of the Quartet members. It is already too late for statements without actual enactment and intervention. Israel’s immunity from accountability and from compliance with the global rule of law must end. The rights and needs of the Palestinian people must be respected and safeguarded.

While the Palestinian Authority continues to build the institutions of state in spite of the occupation, Israel persists in destroying the territorial, economic and demographic viability of a sovereign Palestinian state. These mutually exclusive policies cannot be reconciled.

To render the Palestinian nation-building process successful, Israel’s occupation must end before it does irreparable damage to the two-state solution. The September 2011 deadline is drawing closer. It is imperative that the Quartet take concrete steps before it is too late.

A good start on February 5th is for the Quartet to take a clear and bold decision to recognize the Palestinian state on the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as its capital. It can also convene an international conference to map out Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders within a binding timeline. It is also essential that the Quartet afford the nascent Palestinian state the appropriate protection it needs. The whole region is currently undergoing critical transitions. The challenge before the Quartet now is to prove that it can inject a positive momentum for peace and stability in the midst of this sea of change.

The hope for a two state solution is “eroded,” not dead, the damage to it, not yet “irreparable,” hence canvassing the Quartet to recognize a Palestinian state, protect it, and arrange (force?) Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders. What she is not saying is why, what arguments and rationales, compels her to hold on to the two state option, why she defends the PA without apparent criticism, and, considering that these requests, these pleas, will not be fulfilled or heeded, what she feels about other alternatives. What other options do the Palestinians have?

Given what’s happening in Egypt, and in light of the Palestine Papers, one would think the Palestinian people in the territories would also be galvanized. Yes and no. The Palestinians are weary and cautious, disenchanted, so many failed strategies, peaceful revolts, mass protests, mobilizations, so much sacrifice, including at the hands of the repressive apparatus of their leaders’ little security state. The Papers reveal little they did not know or suspect; their grasp of the complexity and politics of the Palestinian dilemma is deep and sophisticated. Where to focus the energy of anger: Israeli occupation or corrupt leaders? Weary too, especially the middle classes, that a peaceful revolt against the PA may cause great economic damage and hardship and elicit violence against them from all sides. And the leadership cannot countenance the thought of losing its comfort and privileges, the sacrifices required by a peaceful mass struggle. Fatah, who’s gotten fat on US aid and has a vested structural and institutional interest, is not an enthusiastic supporter of this sort of democracy, and still sings the praises of Hosni Mubarak. Did he not support a peace process and strangle Gaza, wherein rule Fatah’s enemies, with the Israelis? However, it may be soon a reality that Tunisia and Egypt’s empowering and electrifying examples will galvanize the younger generation of Palestinians. 

6 February 2011


This is all that matters

Feb 11, 2011

Philip Weiss


Guardian blog the other day:

5.36pm: The Egyptian finance minister, Samir Radwan, has just told Sky News that Suleiman has been running Egypt for the last week.

In the US, James Steinberg, the deputy secretary of state, said Washington was committed to ensuring that political changes in the Middle East did not threaten Israel and that any Egyptian government honours the treaty with Tel Aviv.


Revolutionary thought

Feb 10, 2011

Philip Weiss


For years my main reservation about the one-state/binational solution for Israel/Palestine was that realists said that even if democracy is the right thing, it would take years of bloodshed to get there. And I have given that argument weight.

Did anyone think that Egypt could get as far as it has toward democracy so swiftly, and with so little bloodshed? Did any of these people on TV ever ever admit the possibility that politically-sophisticated Arabs could lead a revolution without slicing people’s throats?


Let Egypt be a light unto the nations. Let us climb down from suspicion of other races. Let us imagine a peaceful transition to democracy in Egypt’s neighbors too.


The Palestine Cables: Egyptian VP Suleiman, Israel’s favorite, wants ‘Gaza to go ‘hungry’ but not ‘starve”

Feb 10, 2011

Alex Kane


The Israeli establishment is pleased to see that Omar Suleiman, the former head of Egypt’s intelligence services who was recently appointed to be Egypt’s first vice president, is angling to continue the Mubarak regime.  As reports circulate that Hosni Mubarak may step down tonight, examining Suleiman, Mubarak’s presumed successor, seems all the more important.  State Department cablesreleased by WikiLeaks show that Suleiman directs Egypt’s policies on Israel/Palestine, policies that are in line with Israeli goals:   weakening Hamas, continuing the blockade of Gaza and halting Iranian influence. 

In fact, Israel has explicitly voiced that Suleiman–spelled “Soliman” in the diplomatic cables–is their favored choice to assume the helm of the Egyptian presidency once Mubarak is gone.  An August 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv reads:

[Arab Affairs Adviser David] Hacham was full of praise for Soliman, however, and noted that a “hot line” set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use…Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated. (Note: We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman.)

Egypt has been Israel’s chief partner in the devastating blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has caused Gaza’s economy to be on the “brink of collapse,” as a UN spokesman put it yesterday.  Suleiman is quoted in a December 2007 cable as wanting the blockade to cause “Gaza to go ‘hungry’ but not ‘starve.'”  80 percent of the people of Gaza rely on UN aid to survive.  

The leaked “Palestine Papers” published by Al Jazeera provide more details on  Suleiman and Egypt’s complicity in the siege.  As Abdullah Al-Arian, writing in Al Jazeera, notes:

Throughout the documents, Suleiman in particular is singled out as the point person whom Israeli and American officials could count on to execute their agenda of dividing the Palestinian factions or pressing the PA for greater concessions…

In early 2007, as the siege on Gaza had crippling consequences on the lives of Palestinians, negotiators complained that Egyptian leaders were duplicitous, speaking publicly in support of allowing goods into Gaza, but in reality, “it remains blocked on the ground …. This is a general problem with the Egyptians”.

An internal report from April 2007 confirms these suspicions. The Agreement on Movement and Access states: “Although there has been political agreement by Omar Suleiman and President Mubarak on allowing exports through, this agreement has never been translated into operational reality.”

Suleiman, and the Mubarak regime, have also been intent on weakening Hamas in the wake of the party being democratically elected in the 2006 Palestinian elections.  The Dec. 2007 cable reports:

In their moments of greatest frustration, Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF would be “welcome” to re-invade Philadelphi…Mubarak and his security chiefs viscerally want Hamas “to fail.”

separate April 2009 cable reports:

On reconciliation, Soliman explained, the ultimate goal was to return the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, as “Gaza in the hands of radicals will never be calm.”

Suleiman’s viewpoint on Iran also lines up with Israeli goals.  An October 2007 cable reports that “Omar Soliman takes an especially hard line on Tehran and frequently refers to the Iranians as ‘devils.’” 

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and blogger based in New York City. You can read all of ‘The Palestine Cables’ reports here and he blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States at Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

The Egyptian uprising is united in one goal – Remove the Mubarak regime

Feb 10, 2011

Sarah Hawas


“Go to Tel Aviv, They like you over there” (Photo: Hossam El Hamalawy)

9th February, Downtown Cairo

It’s not Facebook, or Twitter, or the Muslim Brotherhood, or the middle class, or Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the CIA, Mossad, Saudi, the PA, Timbuktu OR the illuminati! Read the signs – aren’t there enough? This uprising has one single goal – the removal of Mubarak and his regime, and nothing less than that. Mubarak himself says he’s “fed up” with being president. One of many running jokes on the streets here in Cairo suggests that any day now he might just self-immolate in protest! Perhaps we could all calm down and review the symptoms before, next thing we know, the Haitians are being accused of financially backing this uprising!

As independent labor unions make their way to Tahrir and thousands set up camp outside Parliament, over two weeks into the popular Egyptian intifada, many workers throughout the country have reportedly gone on strike in solidarity and in demand for higher wages and social equality. It would be a mistake to assume that this is a “new development” or that these actions merely adorn this national liberation struggle, whose main international symbol has become Tahrir square. The reality is quite the opposite.

The events of the last two weeks are not new and they are not unprecedented. They are the culmination of many years’ worth of social organizing in the face of consistently brutal repression. My generation of students and activists was born in part out of the solidarity protests of the second Palestinian intifada, but more importantly, through witnessing virtually uninterrupted workers’ strikes and sit-ins throughout the country. The last year alone rarely saw a quiet day in the downtown area of Cairo, where the People’s Assembly is located, along with several ministries and the notoriously sinister-looking Mugamma’ building which houses the government’s largest archive of paperwork and has been a symbol of foreboding bureaucratic nightmares for Egyptians in the last four decades and more. These strikes and sit-ins were almost always ended by force, thanks to relentless police violence that most people have – had – simply become accustomed to. On January 25th, and then again most definitively on Friday the 28th, the people of Egypt said ENOUGH.

It is an insult to Egypt’s people, particularly Egyptian workers, to suggest – as many media outlets and international officials have continuously done, since January 25th – that the current Egyptian uprising is a) new to the streets of Egypt, b) led or characterized exclusively by middle-class youth or, even worse, c) staged or hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood. It speaks to the vast ignorance of some, and the racism of many, to espouse the stale Zionist mantra that chalks up any political activity to the “Islamist influence”, just as it is wildly untrue that the Egyptian uprising exclusively (or even just primarily) owes its debt to a Facebook page, twitter, or the internet at large. I say this as someone who has not used Facebook or any other social networking site in over a year: the chants, slogans, signs and anger on the streets of Egypt are all too familiar to the ears of anyone who’s been listening in the last few years.

The people in Tahrir square, outside the Parliament building, and their counterparts throughout Cairo and the rest of Egypt have been resisting with both conventional forms of protest, mass strikes, sit-ins and even factory takeovers and self-management for years. They have also been resisting the neoliberal ghetto run by the NDP and its mafia through more autonomous, day-to-day strategies of mutual aid and cooperative production. Almost half the country (if not more) survives through informal economy, and communities outside Greater Cairo have traditionally relied on their own collective forms of production and distribution, in the face of unruly privatization programs and microcredit slavery.

It was through a thoroughly grassroots, decentralized and localized form of mobilization that we came to see the success story of January 25th and the days to follow. It was through an uncontained, unled presence that we saw the central security forces pushed back and nearly destroyed on Friday the 28th. It was through popular word of mouth, neighborhood organization and voluntary participation that Egyptians survived the absence of the police, and their murderous return. It was through fearless cooperation and trust that Egyptians protected their homes and neighborhoods by night, defended eachother and the square against rabid, “pro-Mubarak” thugs and it is through the same cooperative spirit that they continue to share food, water and medical supplies in Tahrir square today. 
There is enormous diversity in Egypt – social, political, ideological, and so on. Even our opposition movement has historically been characterized as a joke, because its parties and members run the gamut from Islamists to liberals to die-hard Trotskyites and Nasserites, and much much more. But the absence of any agenda or blueprint in Tahrir square is seriously outdone by the presence of direct, cooperative action between people who are united by one thing only: their determination to end the reign of Mubarak and his appointed regime, at all costs. If anyone is to blame for this, it is Mubarak and his government itself.

Sarah Hawas, 23, is an Egyptian-American student activist based in Cairo for the last five years where she has been studying at the American University in Cairo.


Crash on the Nile– Mubarak isn’t stepping down!

Feb 10, 2011

Seham and Philip Weiss


Visit for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

Live video of Tahrir Square from MSNBC

Update: Well you heard the speech. He owes it to the minds of the unborn not to step down? Now how can he trust anyone around him? This is tragic… And how many networks will be eating crow? Richard Engel’s two sources. Hmmmm.

Earlier: NBC is reporting that Mubarak will step down tonight. CNN says that CIA director Leon Panetta has said that Mubarak will resign today. Wael Ghonim has tweeted: “Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians.” Everyone should be listening to Al Jazeera English now, all of us who can’t speak Arabic, which has passed along reports that the presidency is “now vacant.” The “Supreme Council of Armed Forces,” a gov’t council minus its head, Mubarak, has come out for supporting the protesters’ demands. Can it really be true? Victory, victory. Delirium in Tahrir. Say AJE’s reporters: “The chanting has not stopped… Revolution till the end, revolution to the end.” “Within touching distance of a dream that they thought could never come true just a couple of weeks ago…”

And let’s just be clear: When NBC announced the news in a Special Report, Andrea Mitchell assured American viewers of vice president Omar Suleiman. “He is a friend to Israel.” (Jeez. Can’t anyone else in the world ever have a birthday party?)

Here is the unfolding news on Twitter:


Here are more of the latest developments:

Egypt’s Mubarak ‘may stand down’
A senior member of Egypt’s ruling party tells the BBC he is “hoping” that President Mubarak will transfer power to to his vice-president on Thursday.
Egypt army detains protesters – rights groups
CAIRO, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Egypt’s army has detained dozens of Egyptians involved in massive protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak and abused some of them in custody, a U.S. rights groups and Egyptian activists said on Thursday.  The army was ordered to the streets on Jan. 28 to restore order. It was welcomed by protesters as a neutral force. The army said it would protect protesters from Mubarak supporters who have attacked them but also asked them to return home.
Egyptian army ‘torturing’ prisoners
Human rights groups allege that pro-democracy protesters have been detained or tortured in an “organised campaign”.
Four killed in Egypt desert clash with police
CAIRO, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Four people were killed and several suffered gunshot wounds in clashes between security forces and about 3,000 protesters in a western province of Egypt, the state news agency and security sources said on Wednesday.  The clashes in New Valley, a province that includes an oasis in Egypt’s western desert, erupted on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday, according to the security sources. 
Five dead, 100 wounded in south Egypt clash: Official
CAIRO – AT LEAST five people were killed and around 100 wounded in two days of clashes between police and demonstrators in a town in southern Egypt’s New Valley region, medics told AFP on Wednesday.  Earlier, a security official had confirmed three dead. Police fired live rounds on Tuesday when local people rioted in the oasis town of Kharga, more than 400km south of Cairo, the security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Scores were wounded and three people died of their injuries on Wednesday. 
Egyptians mourn uprising dead
Residents count the cost of ongoing protests and mourn those who died in the clashes. 
Police use live ammunition against protesters in Kharga 
Revolutionary Justice: Egyptian police car runs over protesters, protesters flip it over, set it on fire. 
Resisting Mubarak’s Thugs 
28 hours in the dark heart of Egypt’s torture machine
A blindfolded Robert Tait could only listen as fellow captives were electrocuted and beaten by Mubarak’s security services
Egypt’s army ‘involved in detentions and torture’
Military accused by human rights campaigners of targeting hundreds of anti-government protesters 
VIDEO: Concern for Egypt’s missing protesters
Human rights activists in Egypt have told the BBC that the country’s security forces have been detaining increasing numbers of people over the last fortnight, including doctors who treated the injured in Tahrir Square. 
Human Rights Watch: 300 Deaths, Massive Detentions and Abuse Under Mubarak Regime Crackdown
Human Rights Watch is reporting that at least 302 people have died in Egypt since pro-Mubarak forces launched a violent response to the popular uprising last month. The group says at least 232 people have died in Cairo, 52 in Alexandria, and 18 in Suez, but warns the actual death toll could be far higher. We speak with Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef, who has been monitoring the situation on the ground since the protests began. 
Egyptian talks near collapse as unions back protests
Government refuses transition plan as demonstrations are joined by strikes – and vice-president’s coup ultimatum raises tensions
Egypt’s top opposition party abandons talks with Mubarak regime
Tagammu becomes first party to announce withdrawal from negotiations; Muslim Brotherhood has criticized the talks, but expressed no intention about eschewing talks.
News Update: Deadlock in Egypt
The fact that Egyptian workers are on strike across the country may be a more worrying development for the government. Behind the scenes, negotiations are under way between a committee of “wise men” and the government to agree on a transition. But despite those talks, Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, says the deadlock between the government and the protesters looks set to continue. 
Egypt crisis: Doubts rise over Omar Suleiman’s handling of situation
Egyptians now feel the Mubarak regime has lost the initiative as momentum shifts back to the streets
US says Egyptians’ demands unmet
White House says Hosni Mubarak’s government hasn’t met minimum threshold of what pro-democracy protesters have demanded.
US:Egypt govt must do more to meet protester demands
WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – The Obama administration said on Wednesday Egypt’s government must do more to meet the demands of protesters in the country’s streets.  “What you see happening on the streets of Cairo is not all that surprising when you see the lack of steps that their government has taken to meet their concerns,” Robert Gibbs, a White House spokesman, told a daily news briefing. 
U.S., Egypt exchange verbal blows over inability to quell persisting unrest
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit says U.S. imposing its will on Cairo, as White House slams Egyptian leadership for lack of reform.
Egyptian Foreign Minister: US Should Not Impose Will on Egypt; Violence Against Uprising Possible
PBS NewsHour‘s Margaret Warner has secured very important interviews with Egypt Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. In the five minute clip above, Foreign Minister Gheit is pushing back, telling the US that its expectations are out of line with political and time realities in Egypt. The Egyptian government, including the Foreign Minister in this interview, have forcefully rebuffed Vice President Biden’s and President Obama’s request for the Egyptian government to suspend its stifling Emergency Law.
Egypt Foreign Minister Gheit: Mubarak Feels He is an “Indispensable President
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit gave PBS a lengthy interview today. In addition to the usual jargon, he revealed Egyptian Hosni Mubarak’s true beliefs about his role in Egypt, his legacy, and how he feels about US pressure for him to step down. 
Mubarak government issues warning as unrest, dissent grow in Egypt
CAIRO – An array of new developments turned against President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday as Egypt moved closer to a full rupture between its autocratic government and a growing popular rebellion. 
Egypt rejects US advice on reforms
Foreign minister rejects calls for immediate repeal of emergency law and says US “imposing its will” on Cairo
U.S., Egypt square off over protesters’ demands
* White House says Mubarak’s govt must do more to change
* Egyptian minister rejects US “imposing will” on Cairo
* Violence flares in desert province, breaking relative calm
* Next big demonstrations planned for Friday
Obama’s advisors split on when and how Mubarak should go
White House aides acknowledge that the differing views among Obama’s team of advisors has resulted in a mixed message on Egypt.  The Obama administration’s shifting response to the crisis in Egypt reflects a sharp debate over how and when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should leave office, a policy decision that could have long-term implications for America’s image in the Middle East.,0,3809182.story 
Inside the White House – State Department rift on Egypt
The White House and the State Department have been sending out different messages over the past few days regarding the U.S. position on Egypt. The seeming disparity between the focus and tone of remarks by officials from each part of the government has the Washington community wondering if there’s a rift between Pennsylvania Avenue and Foggy Bottom and who’s really in charge. 
Egypt’s Brotherhood says “real talks” yet to start
CAIRO, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Egypt’s biggest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Wednesday it would stick to its demand that President Hosni Mubarak step down in talks with the authorities that many in the opposition fear are a trick. 
Egyptian minister quits Mubarak’s new cabinet
CAIRO, Feb 9 (Reuters) – A minister has resigned from the Egyptian cabinet formed by President Hosni Mubarak in response to an uprising against his rule, a family member said on Wednesday. 
Cables: FBI trained Egypt’s state security ‘torturers’
‘Thousands’ of protesters may have been tortured: report Egypt’s secret police, long accused of torturing suspects and intimidating political opponents of President Hosni Mubarak, received training at the FBI’s facility in Quantico, Virginia, even as US diplomats compiled allegations of brutality against them, according to US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms runners to Gaza
Omar Suleiman, the new vice-president of Egypt, told the Israelis he wanted to start “cleansing the Sinai” of Palestinian arms smugglers, according to leaked cables.
Australian detainee Mamdouh Habib recounts torture at the hands of the US/Israeli favorite Omar Suleiman
Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured and tortured in the years after September 11 in both Egypt and Guantanamo Bay.
Soliman : Fear Al Qaeda !!
So Soliman has not convinced anybody whether the international community or the Egyptians with the Muslim brotherhood conspiracy theory , he actually does not care that much about those people “who lack the culture of democracy and so he is speaking the language the West knows very : Al Qaeda phobia !! We found suddenly the general wearing us that there are Al Qaeda members who escaped from the Egyptian prisons , thus we should be very afraid or rather the West should be very fear. 
“..Nobody has any illusions about what Omar Suleiman wants to do,.. what is unknown is what Suleiman could be persuaded to do. ..”
“..The White House invited several Middle East scholars to discuss the Egypt upheaval Tuesday.  Among those who attended were the Center for Strategic and International Studies’s Jon Alterman, Dan Brumberg of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University and the Wall Street Journal, former George W. Bush White House Middle East and democracy advisor Elliott Abrams, Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Michele Dunne, and Scott Carpenter, a former State Department Middle East democracy official now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The one and a half hour meeting, with the NSC’s Dan Shapiro, Samantha Power, and Ben Rhodes, was off the record. 
“.. Samy Anan can end the crisis “in a minute” ..”
In a conversation with a group of young military officers I came out with strong impressions that the real strong man now is the CJCS Gen Samy Anan. The young officers believe that it is him who has the key to the solution and that he will “do something”. Gen Sulliman does not have the same weight in the military like Anan. The young officers hint to the fact that the Air Force is very loyal to Mubarak and that the Presidential guard is hostile to Anan. They also oppose the idea that the next president should be a civilian. One of them said that Anan can end the crisis “in a minute” but did not explain how. All of them agreed that using force by the military is a very remote possibility.  I do not understand why Anan did not make a move yet. He solidly refuses to use force against the demonstrators and seem to be letting events unfold so far as they do not reach a certain tipping point. He refused orders by Mubarak to use force. If he just goes to the TV building and announce the termination of the Mubarak regime he could turn in a minute to a national hero and possibly the next President. Anan sent a text mssg to all cell phones in Egypt that the army will not use force. That was almost 10 days ago. Everybody seem to be talking now about the expected role of the army and Anan refusal to use force and his role in ending the current situation.  Yusuf al-Misry 
Obama speaks with Saudi king about Egypt crisis
WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Wednesday about the political situation in Egypt, the White House said.  “The president emphasized the importance of taking immediate steps toward an orderly transition that is meaningful, lasting, legitimate, and responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the White House said in a statement.  “The president also reaffirmed the long-term commitment of the United States to peace and security in the region.” 
Egypt Nobel laureate Zewail urges Mubarak to go now
U.S.-Egyptian scientist Ahmed Zewail once received a medal from President Hosni Mubarak. Now, he says, it’s time for the Egyptian leader to heed the demonstrators clamoring for his departure.  “He should step down tomorrow and allow for a transitional government,” Zewail told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. 
Hamas says Egypt ex-minister tied to church attack
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas says legal action against former Egyptian Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adili linking him to the Alexandria church bombing exposes the baselessness of the minister’s accusations against Palestinians.  The Islamist movement said in a statement that accusations that Palestinians targeted the Saints Church on New Year’s Day was to incite the world against Palestinians, distort the resistance, and justify the blockade of Gaza. 
Egypt passport official: No Palestinians allowed into Egypt
An official at the Egyptian passports authority said on Wednesday that instructions were received banning entry of Palestinians into Egypt.
Media Suppression and Repression
Where Is Kareem Amer?
A few years ago, he was one of Egypt’s boldest bloggers, scathingly critical of his government and of conservative Islam. His release from prison came only last November, and now he’s gone again.
Magda Abu-Fadil: Egyptian Media Defects Highlighted by Local Journalists
Journalists working for major state-run dailies and television channels have revealed, off the record, that senior officials in their news organizations were corrupt, abused power, and lined their pockets at taxpayers’ expense. 
Mohamed Abdel Dayem: Egyptian Journalists Take a Stand
The wave of defiance against entrenched censorship and interference by the state in Egypt is likely to reach a crescendo tomorrow, when journalists are calling for a massive demonstration by media practitioners.
Protests/Protesters/Attacks Against Them & Eyewitness Accounts
The Lede: Latest Updates on Day 17 of Egypt Protests
The Lede continues to follow the protest movement in Egypt, now in its third week.
“We are attempting to name all of the brave Egyptians who have been killed…” 
Striking doctors join Egypt rally
Striking doctors join protesters in central Cairo, with reports of walkouts by lawyers, textile workers and bus drivers around Egypt.
Workers continue Egypt strikes
Doctors and lawyers among thousands of workers joining strike as anti-Mubarak demonstrations enter 17th day.
Egypt Labor Strikes Break Out Across The Country; Protesters Defiant
CAIRO – Thousands of state workers and impoverished Egyptians launched strikes and protests around the country on Wednesday over their economic woes as anti-government activists sought to expand their campaign to oust President Hosni Mubarak despite warnings from the vice president that protests won’t be tolerated much longer. 
Unions boost Egypt protests
Thousands have gathered in Tahrir oSquare to continue their call for President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Three independent unions have joined them, meaning that in addition to the anti-Mubarak protests hundreds of workers are on strike in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez demanding better pay. But Mubarak is still in office – refusing to step down. Alan Fisher reports from Cairo

Wael Ghonim, Freed Google Manager, ‘Ready To Die’ For Egypt

Wael Ghonim, a Google manager who has become something of a hero among Egyptian protesters, said on Wednesday that it is “no longer the time to negotiate” with the government.  In an interview with CNN, Ghonim said, “We went on the streets on the 25th, and we wanted to negotiate. We wanted to talk to our government…. They decided to negotiate with us at night, with rubber bullets, with police sticks, with water hoses, with tear gas.” According to CNN’s Ivan Watson, Ghonim also said he is “ready to die” for the cause.
Come home to force change, Ghonim urges Egyptians
Dubai: Wael Ghonim, Google’s marketing manager for the Middle East and North Africa, and one of the youth leaders of the ongoing Egyptian mass movement, has called on his compatriots from all over the world to return home and support the youth in Al Tahrir Square as they strive for a political rejuvenation in the country.
Google executive earns star status in Egypt’s revolt
CAIRO (AFP) — Cyberactivist Wael Ghonim, a young executive at internet giant Google, rallied thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators and catapulted to star status among Egypt’s youth thanks to Facebook.  Part fashionable marketing man, part engaging cyber-geek, the 30-year-old who launched the January 25 online call to arms against the Egyptian regime, has the polish of a politician in-the-making and an intellectual veneer. 
Wael Ghonim interview on CNN 
Victims’ mothers drawn into Egypt protests
‘Egypt is my real mother. I must go save her,’ said one of the men killed in the early days of the protests. Organizers are using images of the ‘martyrs’ and their mothers to keep passions stoked. Day laborer Mohammed Badr clearly didn’t expect trouble when he left home to join the pro-democracy protests in Tahrir Square early on Jan. 29. He took his 5-year-old son, Mahmoud, and promised to return for dinner.,0,2796341.story 
Scenes from Egypt’s Parliament: Two Nights of Sitting In
On Tuesday, February 8, protesters in Cairo began sleeping in front of the parliament building a short walk from Tahrir Square, the center of the protests. Their protest, like its twin in Tahrir, quickly exploded into a semi-permanent encampment, complete with graffiti. At the end of the video, one of the parliament protesters bears a street sign that used to say “Maglis el-Shaab” or “People’s Assembly” street – now it just says “People’s Street.” 
Anti-Mubarak demonstrators remain defiant
It is midnight in Egypt and protesters remain camped out on the streets of Cairo. But the fact that workers are on strike across the country may be a more worrying development for the government. We continue our live blogging for February 10, as protests enter the 17th day in Egypt. 
The Lede: Latest Updates on Day 16 of Egypt Protests
The Lede continues to follow the protest movement in Egypt, now in its third week.
Egypt protesters seek to spread beyond Tahrir Square
Egypt’s protesters yesterday staged the largest protest since the democracy uprising began more than two weeks ago. Now, they may join forces with Egyptian laborers. 
Hossam el-Hamalawy “The Egyptian Working Class Enters the Arena with Full Force”
My sources have just confirmed this now. The Cairo Public Transportation workers, who started a strike today in six garages — Nasr Station, Fateh Station, Ter’a Station, Amiriya Station, Mezzalat Station, Sawwah Station — have issued a statement with a list of demands, calling for overthrowing Mubarak. No public buses will roam Cairo tomorrow, except those buses that will bring the drivers to the central station in Nasr City’s el-Gabal el-Ahmar, where the strikers have announced they will declare an independent union. . . . This comes as strikes have spread literally everywhere. It’s happening, people. It’s happening. The working class has entered the arena with full force today. Mubarak’s regime’s fate will be sealed SOON! 
Interview with an Egyptian blogger
Al Jazeera speaks to Hossam El-Hamalawy, a blogger and activist from Cairo, on the strikes set to sweep Egypt.
After Record-Level Turnout in Tahrir, Egyptian Protests Spread to Parliament, Cabinet Buildings; Labor Unions Launch Strikes Nationwide
Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising is seizing new momentum one day after hundreds of thousands turned out for one of the largest protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to date. A gathering of protesters led to the evacuation of the Egyptian cabinet building today, and tent camps are also being set up outside the Egyptian parliament. Egypt’s labor movement has launched new strikes across the country, with an estimated 10,000 workers taking part. Democracy Now! Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous interviews a demonstrator outside the Egyptian parliament building.

“We Are Writing History By Our Blood”: Egyptian Physician on Why Protests Won’t End Until Mubarak Resigns
Democracy Now! Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous speaks to Egyptian physician Dr. Ali El Mashad in Cairo’s Tahrir square over the weekend. Dr. Mashad describes being injured in the streets and bleeding from the head. “We are writing history by our blood,” he says. Mashad says he will not stop demonstrating until Mubarak leaves office.

“People Are Taking Care of Each Other”: Democracy Now!’s Anjali Kamat Camps With Protesters Overnight in Tahrir Square
Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat reports on the festive atmosphere in Tahrir Square last night following a record-level turnout of protesters: “People are taking care of each other very well, giving each other food, water and blankets. It is a very moving experience,” Kamat says. 
#Jan25 Public transportation workers call for overthrowing Mubarak
My sources has just confirmed this now… The Cairo Public Transportation workers, who started a strike today in five Garages: Nasr Station, Fateh Station, Ter’a Station, Amiriya Station, Mezzalat Station, Sawwah Station, have issued a statement with a list of demands, calling for overthrowing Mubarak. No public buses will roam Cairo tomorrow, except those buses that will bring the drivers to the central station in Nasr City’s el-Gabal el-Ahmar, where the strikers have announced they will declare an independent union.The strikers’ statement has also called for abolishing the emergency law, removing NDP from the state institutions, dissolving the parliament, drafting new constitution, forming a national unity govt and setting a national minimum wage of LE1200 and prosecuting corrupt officials… This comes as strikes have spread literally everywhere… It’s happening people… It’s happening… The working class has entered the arena with full force today. Mubarak’s regime’s fate will be sealed off SOON! 
The youth of Tahrir Square
Al Jazeera meets the newly formed “youth coalition” who are speaking on behalf of a broad array of voices in the square.
Dispatch from Tahrir
I spent most of the day today walking around Downtown Cairo and Midan Tahrir. There are still tens of thousands of people in the square. A definite rhythm has established itself, with Tuesday and Fridays the serious turn-out days; the rest of the week a moulid-like atmosphere pervades the area, with families visiting it, taking pictures next to tanks and the various memorials and displays set up in the square–out on the fun excursion. Some genius has started making hundreds of laminated مصر فوق الجميع (“Egypt Above Us All”) tags that you can wear around your neck (they sell for 2 pounds, about 30 cents). Sellers are also doing a brisk business in Egyptian flags, snacks and drinks. Opposition newspapers are taped to walls so everyone can read them; and some enterprising local restaurateur has set up shop in the demolished Hardee’s. 
I know you all fear that our fervor is waning. It is not, Ahmed Moor
Almost universally, everyone I’ve spoken to who isn’t in Egypt over the past few days has expressed a concern that the revolutionary fervor here is waning. I am happy to report that isn’t what I’ve been witnessing. But a few new developments both here and internationally are worth discussing.  News that economic activity was returning to Cairo appeared to suggest that the protesters had begun to grow weary. That isn’t what I’ve observed. Yesterday, more people participated in the Tahrir demonstration than at any other time in the past 16 days. What surprised me was the number of first-time demonstrators who showed up. I don’t doubt that the Ghonim interview touched a lot of people and encouraged them to participate (and many hope he’ll lead the movement). But, I also think that increased food and cash security alleviated the sense of siege that persisted for much of last week. For instance, food and water were very difficult to come by in downtown Cairo on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday, I was offered food and drinks at pretty short and regular intervals. I think that that security positively impacted energy levels and turnout. 
Actors for the Revolution
Cinema actors and actresses have issued a statement in support of the revolution and will be staging a march today Thursday 12 pm in solidarity from their syndicate headquarters to Tahrir Square… 
Egypt’s Tahrir Square MC rocks protest crowds
CAIRO (AFP) — Like a rock star, Ali Elfi faces adoring crowds, a microphone in hand as he belts out lines. But his lyrics are anti-regime chants and his stage is Cairo’s protest central: Tahrir Square.  Elfi is dressed like a rocker, in jeans and a leather jacket, but his role is more like that of an orchestra conductor, controlling the mood of the crowd, riling them up and leading call-and-response chants against the government. 
29/1/11 The Battle for Lazoughli 
Damietta protesters clash with Mubarak’s thugs 
Revolutionaries expand the area they control, moving to besiege the parliament…. 
Children revolt in Tahrir 
Amazing: Egyptian Uprising 
Dancing in Tahrir

Chanting in Tahrir


Divers for the Revolution

Long Live Egypt

Video of Egyptian Workers Protesting and Parliament Takeover & More

Go to Tel Aviv, They like you over there
Great Pictures Capturing the Revolution
Divers holding a banner addressed to Mubarak that reads: Leave before air runs out! 
Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Feb 8, 2011 
The Role of Social Media
Wired, Educated and Shrewd, Young Egyptians Guide Revolt
As the Egyptian government has sought to splinter a protest movement led by young professionals, its leaders have stepped forward for the first time to describe their hidden role.
Inside Story – The tool for revolution?
Social media has been dubbed the new tool for revolutionaries. But with many of the protesters on the ground having little or no access to the internet in Egypt, can social media really be credited with sparking the recent uprisings across the Middle East?

Egypt activists have upper hand in cyber war
CAIRO – President Hosni Mubarak’s supporters took their battle against anti-government protesters to cyberspace but their voices were drowned out by an army of tech-savvy activists willing to wage keyboard war.  Anti-regime street protests had for years been stifled by Egypt’s powerful security apparatus but, much to everyone’s surprise, it only took a few clicks to launch the biggest ever challenge to Mubarak’s 30-year presidency.
From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising
While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue. The seeds of this spectacular mobilization had been sown as far back as the early 2000s and had been carefully cultivated by activists from across the political spectrum, many of these working online via Facebook, twitter, and within the Egyptian blogosphere. Working within these media, activists began to forge a new political language, one that cut across the institutional barriers that had until then polarized Egypt’s political terrain, between more Islamicly-oriented currents (most prominent among them, the Muslim Brotherhood) and secular-liberal ones. Since the rise of the Islamist Revival in the 1970s, Egypt’s political opposition had remained sharply divided around contrasting visions of the proper place of religious authority within the country’s social and political future, with one side viewing secularization as the eminent danger, and the other emphasizing the threat of politicized religion to personal freedoms and democratic rights. This polarity tended to result in a defensive political rhetoric and a corresponding amplification of political antagonisms, a dynamic the Mubarak regime has repeatedly encouraged and exploited over the last 30 years in order to ensure a weak opposition. What was striking about the Egyptian blogosphere as it developed in the last 7 or so years is the extent to which it engendered a political language free from the problematic of secularization vs. fundamentalism that had governed so much of political discourse in the Middle East and elsewhere.
World Solidarity 
Despite PA repression, Palestinians rally for Egypt
In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah last weekend, security forces belonging to the Palestinian Authority attempted to pacify a protest of 2,000 persons.
Palestinians in Gaza hold Egypt solidarity rally
Several hundred students rallied in central Gaza on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests in Egypt
Friends of the Dictator
Congress debates the Muslim Brotherhood and aid to Egypt
Today’s first hearing of the Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee was dominated by the question of how much the United States should fear the empowerment of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and what leverage should be used against the Egyptian military to get them to behave in accordance with U.S. interests. Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) opened the hearing with a broad criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis in Egypt, which she said is now tilting too far in support of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and is failing to counteract the threat posed by the rise of Islamist parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood. 
PA security forces targeting Egypt-supporting Palestinians
Peaceful demonstrators targeted by Palestinian Authority security forces during a demonstration in support of the Egyptian uprising.
These are some of the celebrity assholes who denounced the revolution… 
As’ad Abukhalil’s Commentary
Angry Arab on Egypt at UC, Davis [Feb 8,11] 
The heroic Egyptian Army
This is a picture of the heroic Egyptian Army.  I am reminded of its heroism as I listen to Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal praise the Egyptian Army.
Obama receives expert opinion on democracy
“The President spoke today with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia about the situation in Egypt.  The President emphasized the importance of taking immediate steps toward an orderly transition that is meaningful, lasting, legitimate, and responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.  The President also reaffirmed the long-term commitment of the United States to peace and security in the region.
so what would you do without Sulayman?
“The agency has cultivated its relationships with people such as Gen. Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s chief of intelligence and now vice 
president, but it has not done as well understanding the world of the protesters.” 
A Panel On Egypt at Emory University
A reader at Emory University sent me this account):  “yesterday, there was a panel discussion in EMory University about the egyptian revolution. It was a joke. The panelists were so “white”.  The whole 2-hour discussion boiled down to discussing the fear from the muslim brotherhood and how they should be careful not to let the brother take over. One of the speakers, a pro-israeli prof. and the director of the “institute for the study of modern Israel” at Emory, was discussing something when he said that israel “withdrew” from Sinai in 1973.  Another speaker called Michael Youssef, a pastor, said that egyptians dont know what a tyrant is and then he went on to explain the suffering of the jews. Then I interfered and was made to shut up. his whole argument was flawed and focused on the brotherhood control of egypt and comparing that to iran. Another thing he said was: ” make no mistake, aljazeera English is completely the opposite from the arabic channel because it has american anchors”. He also said that he saw people getting paid money to stay in the “Midan el Ta7rir” (though he has not been in egypt recently”.  I felt it was so weird to highjack the stage and intead of talking about the dreams and aspirations of the live and dead egyptians and their courage for change but rather go and scare the audience from something that does not really exist (at least now). I thought u might want to know that about emory.” 
“Should the government of Hosni Mubarak be replaced by one not truly committed to freedom and peace, the consequences for Israel could be devastating. As Egypt struggles toward an internal balance that appeases all forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, peace with Israel could be the price of an Egyptian compromise. And the risks are worse if the Brotherhood, an organization deeply hostile to Israel, America and the West, gets to call the shots.” 
The Great Egyptian Revolution, Dr. Azmi Bishara
The Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions heralded a new Arab era in which it is possible to couple freedom and social rights, sovereignty and citizenship. Arab regimes will not deride their populations anymore; and they will be facing a choice between comprehensive reforms and the complete overthrow of the regime. On the level of political powers and ideological splits, everything will change as well. Past divisions will lose their significance for the importance of past debates between ideological currents has greatly diminished. None of these actors was capable of engaging with the challenge of overthrowing despotism, and the phenomenon of new social powers that reject injustice and embrace ethical values without giving up their identity has risen. A new polyarchy shall emerge, and leading the ranks will be a thought that can combine democracy, social justice, and Arab identity without denying the legacy of the Islamic civilization. 
“The Great Tragedy is Obama Chose Not to Hold Out His Hand”: Robert Fisk on the Gap Between U.S. Rhetoric and Action in Egyptian Uprising
The longtime Middle East correspondent of The Independent newspaper in London joins us from Cairo to talk about the popular uprising ongoing across Egypt, its regional implications, and how Obama should respond. “[The protesters] are asking for nothing less than Americans expect in their own lives,” Fisk says. 
Robert Fisk: Hypocrisy is exposed by the wind of change sweeping Arab world
There is nothing like an Arab revolution to show up the hypocrisy of your friends. Especially if that revolution is one of civility and humanism and powered by an overwhelming demand for the kind of democracy that we enjoy in Europe and America. The pussyfooting nonsense uttered by Obama and La Clinton these past two weeks is only part of the problem. From “stability” to “perfect storm” – Gone With the Wind might have recommended itself to the State Department if they really must pilfer Hollywood for their failure to adopt moral values in the Middle East – we’ve ended up with the presidential “now-means-yesterday”, and “orderly transition”, which translates: no violence while ex-air force General Mubarak is put out to graze so that ex-intelligence General Suleiman can take over the regime on behalf of America and Israel.
The tide is changing for the army, Issandr El Amrani
When the uprising began in Egypt and tanks deployed on the streets on January 28, the military was initially welcomed. Perhaps many thought it had carried out a coup against Mubarak (in fact it probably partially has), and many more still cherished the myth of the Egyptian army triumphant in 1973 after the defeat of 1967. Things began to turn last week when the army stood and did nothing while pro-Mubarak thugs attacked the crowd in Tahrir. The protestors issued an ultimatum to the army to pick its side: with them, or with Mubarak. The army has still done nothing. Then, over the weekend, military police (and probably military intelligence) were deployed to beef up security on the streets. It then came out that they have been arresting dozens if not hundreds of people, and began raiding the offices of human rights activists and visiting the homes of people asking to poke around their computers.
People & Power – Egypt: Seeds of change
People & Power reveals the story behind the unprecedented political protests in Egypt. Over the course of a remarkable fortnight, People&Power has been filming exclusively behind the scenes with a core group of young activists.

Muslims and Christians Protest as One, Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani
CAIRO – Over recent years, Egypt has witnessed mounting tension between its Muslim majority and its sizeable Coptic Christian minority. But in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the site of ongoing mass protests against the ruling regime, members of both faiths chant in unison: “Muslim, Christian, doesn’t matter; We’re all in this boat together!”
Tahrir’s Other Sky, Noura Erakat and Sherene Seikaly
Egypt’s exhilarating call for freedom, as Elliot Cola recently noted is an astonishing moment of poetry. The refrain, “Ish-sha‘b/yu-rîd/is-qât/in-ni-zâm,” [The People Want the Fall of the Regime]resoundingly rings for millions in the Arab world and beyond. With all eyes on Liberation Square, many are wrestling with what Maya Mikdashi aptly called the unfamiliar restlessness of hope. As the twists and turns of the 25 January Revolution quickly unfold, another extraordinary process is taking place. The relentless resilience of Egyptians risking life and limb for freedom has seared cracks in the sky and revealed another horizon of politics.
Jim Cowie: The Resilience of Egypt
The Egyptian “kill switch” was simultaneously a technical success and a mystifying strategic blunder. Could other governments implement such a kill switch?
Wael Ghonim vs. Barack Obama: Change we Can Believe in, Yes we Can, Juan Cole
It is no secret that President Barack Obama has been in some regards a profound disappointment to the American Left, and his erratic and often disgraceful performance on the Egypt crisis exemplifies his faults in this regard. He just seems to lack empathy with the little people and is unwilling to buck the rich and powerful, even though they all opposed his run for the presidency. As Iran’s speaker of the house put it, the Obama administration, faced with a choice of supporting the youth revolution or the camels unleashed on it, has chosen the camels. It makes a person think there should be rule that no one can run for the presidency who didn’t have a proper father figure in his or her life (Bill Clinton, W., Obama), since apparently once they get into office they start thinking the billionaires are their long-lost parent, whom they have to bend over backward to please.
How hard would it be to back Egyptian democracy, Mr President? | Joshua Treviño
This is a simple enough choice between liberty and tyranny, yet the White House has done nothing but equivocate and dodge. The administration of Barack Obama has reacted to the uprising against Hosni Mubarak with the enthusiasm of a man condemned to consume a gallon of plain yoghurt. The president of the United States is not against Egyptian democracy, exactly – but neither is he especially for it. 
Beyond Tahrir: Two faces of Egypt | Editorial
On the one hand there is vice-president Omar Suleiman, and on the other young activist Wael Ghonim. You only have to hear and see the two men for a few minutes to understand what is at stake in Egypt. On the one hand there is vice-president Omar Suleiman, with his clipped moustache and beautifully cut suits. Clearly intelligent, but also inherently slippery, his words are intended to be reassuring, but every now and then there is a hint of menace. He may well be less wily and less in control than he likes to appear, as our story today on the state of negotiations suggests, but this is still the face of a survivor, a fixer, and a believer in the authority over others of old foxes like himself which his own body language so obviously conveys. 
My love for you, Egypt increases by the day
The call begins with a song portraying the love people of Egypt have for their country. Caller: My love for you, Egypt increases by the day. And you know that Egypt. You know it Egypt. You know that I live and die for you.  Every day I love you  more than the day before.  It ends here my dear country, so be happy and proud of your children and martyrs. Because we want no safe comfort. I swear to you we gave up everything, just so we can hold onto you, dear country. So be filled with joy, because that’s it! We are freeing you! And in no time you will become again the magnificent country you once were. Be happy, because the next regime that will rule you will be worthy of that responsibility, it will be everything unlike the lowlife revolting system led by the lowlife Mubarak and his followers. I swear to God you will be free, and soon! Because, we are not leaving. I swear we are not leaving.  We are not buying all this nonsense talk about negotiation. All these negotiation’s meetings being planned are fruitless, because it is just a charade played by 2 parts of the corrupted system and political parties trying to converse together. And this is not our conversation. And pardon me for saying this, but before people used to grovel for the sake of those political parties but not anymore. So again I repeat we are not leaving before we cleanse Egypt from this corrupted regime. This regime must be wiped out completely.  He and his followers will that robbed this country.
Memo from Egypt: We Shall Not Be Moved, Ahmed Amr
With every passing day, the Egyptian uprising gathers strength as more citizens rally to the cause and demand the immediate resignation of Hosni Mubarak. The regime’s pillars are crumbling. Yesterday, the demonstrators surged out of Tahrir Square and marched towards the National Assembly and the building that houses the Ministry of Interior. But perhaps the most important development was the smaller demonstrations held in front of government owned media outlets and the resignations of a number of prominent journalists on the regime’s payroll.

Memo from Egypt: We Shall Not Be Moved

The Arab Pro-Democracy Movement: Struggles to Redefine Citizenship
We are witnessing a historic moment in Egypt and the Arab world. The youth of the region have a revolutionary opportunity to enfranchise citizens—this is the antithesis of the entire post-colonial formula. I am trying to identify the tangible but radical changes that can take place. Clearly there are many forces in Egypt that might undermine this revolutionary situation. The old political parties, and most importantly the Muslim Brotherhood—might try cutting deals. I think the most that may come out of this is a serious democratic revolution–not a small achievement–to alter relations of power, and promote a serious agenda for socio-economic justice. The role of youth and the street is crucial, and their new form of organization (network as opposed to hierarchical) is an advantage but it has its pitfalls and limitations. It is unparalleled, but who and what will play a crucial role in reversing the social and political relations? I am unable to provide an answer for this from Orange, CA. 
The west’s debt to Egypt | Ahmed Salah
After actively supporting Mubarak’s corrupt and violent rule, the west has a duty to help end it. This week has seen the biggest protest in the history of Egypt. Millions have demonstrated in Cairo and other cities all over the country – north, south, east, and west. All had the same demands. The first, as the world knows now, is that the dictator Hosni Mubarak must step down.
Trade unions: the revolutionary social network at play in Egypt and Tunisia | Eric Lee and Benjamin Weinthal | Eric Lee and Benjamin Weinthal
The media have focused on Facebook and Twitter, but the pro-democracy movements have flourished thanks to unions. Perhaps the most overlooked factor in the demise of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, and the weakening of Hosni Mubarak’s grip on state power in Egypt, has been the trade unions in both countries. While the media has reported on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as revolutionary methods of mobilisation, it was the old-fashioned working class that enabled the pro-democracy movements to flourish.
Recuperating the Democracy Narrative: Fareed Zakaria and Preparing for a Post-Mubarak World
On February 8, 2011 Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA chief Robert Gates urged “ governments in the region” to “take measures to begin moving in a positive direction toward addressing the political and economic grievances of their people.”[1] The mantra has droned out of  Obama administration corridors for weeks including Hilary Clinton’s now infamous and indeed racist admonition of Arab regimes to reform in early January. In Doha, the Secretary of State criticizes the “corrupt institutions and stagnant political order,” which are “sinking into the sands.” For anyone vaguely familiar with the modern history of the Middle East, the rhetoric of reform espoused by Gates, Clinton and Obama among others smacks of a grotesque hybrid of arrogant superpower paternalism and selective memory.
Robert Scheer: Hey Obama, Read WikiLeaks 
The new script in Egypt is out of an all-too-familiar playbook: Pick the longtime chief of Egyptian intelligence who has consistently done our bidding in matters of torture and retrofit him as a modern democratic leader. 
Michael Hughes: U.S. Fears Democracy Might Actually Flourish in Egypt
The Obama administration has acted in accordance with standard U.S. operating procedure by supporting a dictatorial government, regardless how oppressive and undemocratic, in the name of serving U.S. national interest. 
People Power v. Duplicity in Egypt and Washington, Stephen Lendman
Hundreds of thousands of protesters in Egypt’s capital and across the country remain resilient. They continue “mass demonstrations, with a new wave of optimism reaching the pro-democracy camp.
Philip N. Howard: A State Department 2.0 Response to the Arab Spring
It’s time to put State Department 2.0 to work, and the next step is to make more confident statements and commitments to supporting civil society. 
Uprising has revealed the real Egypt | Amira Nowaira
The US and its allies have to realise the Egypt they have been dealing with is no more than a figment of their imagination.  There is no doubt in my mind that the Egyptian uprising that started on 25 January has caused a political earthquake whose aftershocks will resonate not only in Egypt but way beyond its borders as well. It will redraw lines, remap political topographies and create new perceptions. Those who ignore this fact will do so at their own peril.
Meet Egypt’s Future Leaders, ESAM AL-AMIN
On June 6, 2010, soft-spoken businessman Khaled Said, 28, had his dinner before retreating to his room and embarking on his daily routine of surfing the Internet, blogging, and chatting with his friends on different social websites. Several days earlier, he had posted a seven-minute online video of Alexandria police officers dividing up confiscated drugs among themselves.
On the Streets of Cairo, CHRIS FLOYD
For a few days, the imperial gang thought they had turned the tide — and their stenographers in the mainstream media followed suit. The protests in Egypt were running out of gas, we were told; now the power players were coming to the fore, in Washington and Cairo, to take charge of the situation and move things along — slowly, moderately — down a path of gradual reform and stability. 
From Tiananmen to Tahrir Square, STEVEN COLATRELLA
As I write this hundreds of thousands have again filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, and hundreds of thousands more march in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast , demanding an end to the authoritarian, pro-US government , pro-neoliberal  regime that has caused the Egyptian people such suffering under the 30 year rule of Hosni Mubarak. Along with their revolutionary fellow Arabs in Tunisia, Egyptians fighting for democracy and for a better life, and against injustice and inequality are on the front line in the battle for global civilization today. For it is civilization itself, global society as a whole that is at stake in the struggle taking place in the streets and squares of Egypt and across the Arab world. To understand this however, we need to understand the full, global context of these struggles and revolutions. 
Egypt’s Berlin Wall Moment, Richard Falk
When the Soviet empire collapsed, the way was opened for the triumphalist pursuit of the American imperial project, seizing the opportunity for geopolitical expansion provided by its self-anointed global leadership – as ‘the sole surviving superpower’. 
Let’s Go to Plan B, Philip Giraldi
Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a definition of insanity. He might have been describing the foreign policy of the United States of America. In the past week we long suffering citizens have seen our government stand by the dictator in Egypt, then call on him to go, and most recently support his staying on while at the same time publicly demanding that some transition start immediately. All of which is not doing the same thing over and over except when one considers that the US Department of State and White House have followed precisely the same dysfunctional pattern when dealing with other client states throughout the Middle East and in Central Asia. Take one position based on faulty and incomplete information, then take a contrary position when it appears that the first position was rash, finally shifting into yet a third formulation when numbers one and two turn out to be fraught with unintended consequences. 
Cartoon: Egypt: Obama’s Counter-Revolution, by Carlos Latuff 
Cartoon:  Mubarak the Laughing Cow, Carlos Latuff
Tunisia and Egypt Ripples Felt Throughout Arab World
Jordan king swears in new government after protests
Jordan’s King Abdullah swore in a new government on Wednesday, replacing a business friendly prime minister with an ex-general in response to anti-government protests inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Lawyers protest against Iraq government (AFP)
AFP – Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets across Iraq on Thursday to protest against widespread corruption and unemployment in demonstrations inspired by anti-government uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.*
Egypt inspires Iraq protests
Ongoing protests in Egypt are inspiring anti-government demonstrations in Iraq. 
Palestinians turning to Arab Street for inspiration
GLUED TO television sets in Ramallah’s shisha cafes, Palestinians have been watching al-Jazeera television attentively as Egyptian people rise up from Alexandria to Cairo.  Looking on with admiration as tens of thousands fill the streets during the January 28th “Day of Rage”, cheers erupt through the cafes with every police retreat and every Molotov cocktail that lands on security vehicles.  It was fresh reaction of unity and optimism following the shame that rocked Palestinian society earlier in the week in the wake of al-Jazeera’s release of the “Palestine Papers”, the more than 1,600 documents (part of the WikiLeaks hoard) on the US-brokered peace process exposing the extent of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) collaboration with Israel.
Syria Restores Access to Facebook and YouTube
Human rights advocates greeted the change guardedly, warning that the government might try to monitor activity on social networking sites. 
Protests in Libya
Comrade Farag sent me this: “Also for some background information on why the 17th of Feb. copied from a news group that i belong to: 3. The Feb. 17th date comemmorates the following, so make sure you talk about it in your tweets.  – In 1987 a group of shabab were executed–their bodies dragged through the streets of Benghazi and left outside for days–for killing Ahmed Mufda’ Werfelli.  Werfelli was one of Gaddafi’s executionners.  He was known to smile and laugh when he put nooses around the people’s neck he executed.  He was also known for going through the markets, bullying people and gnerally being a jerk.  A group of young men followed him and killed him.  They were executed for their role. – In 2006 the government called people into the streets, in front of the Italian embassy, to protest the Italian ambassador wearing a t-shirt with the infamous cartoon of the prophet.  When people went to the embassy they began to riot…quickly the security forces turned against the people–beating them, etc.  The chants then transformed into chants against the regime and gaddafi himself.  18 people were confirmed dead…more were  probably killed, they were all young people with one being 15 years old.  And 700 were imprisoned, many of which are still in jail.  The protests spread through the region–reaching Tobruk. We are commemorating these brutal attacks on the people. 4. Gaddafi yesterday gathered a bunch of people, activists, bloggers, etc…to tell them, among other things, that if anybody joins these protests that their tribes will be punished.  In hopes that the tribes will keep people quiet.  He also said that all of these things were CIA and Mossad conspiracies to tear down Libya.  He said that Mubarak wasn’t a rich man…he borrowed his clothes from people.  He said a lot of delusional things, but mostly he wanted to scare people and to get the tribes to restrain people. 5. One of the Revolutionary committees (Gaddafi’s vanguard) called people to the streets to protest on 17th…as if Gaddafi was going to join them and demand his rights too.  Today they organized a protest in Tripoli in front of the Main building of the People’s committee in Tripoli.  They were blaming AlBaghdadi, the secretary of the committee, for everything in Libya….so you can see where this is all going.  Gaddafi’s committees hijaking people’es legitimate claims. Tweet about it, talk about it.  Please if you know any tidbit of info post it to dufungy immediately.” 
The ascent of the Palestinian pharaoh
Economic dependency and an oppressive security state is the recipe that many dictatorial, one-person, or one-party regimes apply across the region. This model was followed by the once American-supported, and then American-deposed Saddam Hussein, to Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, who was first a pariah in the West and then became its darling, to Tunisia’s Zine El Abedine Ben Ali who was overthrown by his people, among others. While the Egyptian people stand steadfast in an effort to overthrow their own Pharoah, a similar “pharoah regime” is steadily being built for Palestinians in the West Bank.

Getting to know the ‘son of Egypt,’ Wael Ghonim

Feb 10, 2011

Philip Weiss


“No one is going to go against our desire. We are getting back our country,” Wael Ghonim declared on CNN last night, and today the 30-year-old Google executive is arguably the most powerful man in Egypt. Ghonim’s spectacular interview on Egyptian TV Monday night hours after he was freed from 11 days of imprisonment spurred the revolution to new heights and stirred the White House (as David Gergen said on CNN).

This small passionate intellectual with the wide forehead instantly became the face of the revolution, and today as reports swirled that Mubarak was stepping down, Ghonim tweeted, “Revolution 2.0: Mission Accomplished,” and also:

“I promise every Egyptian that I will go back to my normal life & not be involved in any politics once Egyptians fulfill their dreams.”


Who is Ghonim and what is his program?  I watched the staggering interview with Dream Television’s Mona El-Shazly to try and figure out some answers.

Ghonim is 30 years old and lives in a villa in Dubai. A graduate of the American University of Cairo, he married an American Muslim 10 years ago, and they have two children. He called Google the greatest company in the world on CNN last night, and he has gotten steady raises in his job as the head of marketing for Google Middle East and North Africa.

But more important than Google or his marriage is Egypt. He became eligible to apply for American citizenship in 2001 and has never done so. And for the last nine months at least, he has been involved in the democracy movement in his country.

“You know, my personal life is in a shambles,” he told El-Shazly. His wife has threatened to divorce him because he was not spending enough time with her, he said; and on CNN he spoke of his marriage in the past tense. All his time has been taken up sitting crosslegged at a computer.

As Ghonim put it with typical lacerating self-derision–comparing his sacrifice to others: “I was just using my keyboard. Your fingers don’t even hurt.”

For several months, Ghonim has had a secret life: he was the administrator of a facebook page We Are All Khaled Said, dedicated to 28-year-old Alexandria blogger who died in police custody last June. This page became the organizing engine of the youth movement in Egypt. But its administrator was anonymous. Indeed, Ghonim said his fear when he was in detention was that people would figure out that he was the admin– I assume because to be administering such an activist political page was a violation of Google corporate policy.

The facebook movement that kindled the revolution was based in fear and love, as he explained to El-Shazly. The young, educated people with whom Ghonim was interacting want to serve Egypt but were afraid of the corruption and political culture that was the opposite of the culture they were learning on the internet. Thus the revolution was part human-potential movement– an awakening by Egypt’s future leaders that the structure of their society was defeating its potential.

Ghonim says that there are two great problems in Egypt. One, communication. The authorities do not trust the people ever to tell them the truth. It has been the father, and treated them like children who cannot absorb the truth. That whole system had to be taken apart. And two, mistrust. The government was filled with “cats,” Ghonim said, “and no disrespect to cats,” but cats who tell others what to think. And the people now so mistrust the government that if Ghonim came out of detention and said he was tortured and took off his shirt and had no marks at all they would believe him–and if he said he wasn’t tortured they wouldn’t believe him…

It is time, he told El-Shazly, for the cats to go back to their cages, and go eat mice.

And here I would note, if it is not obvious already, Ghonim is a man not just of great intelligence but of political imagination. His awareness and imagination have made him a leader in spite of himself. People value his crystalline judgments and pronouncements, and are thrilled by them.

When the protest movement began planning its January 25 demonstration on the facebook page with the idea that they were not afraid to die, Ghonim knew he had to leave Dubai. He says that he “tricked” his bosses at Google and told them it was a family matter. His father is half blind and ill in Saudi Arabia. When his bosses asked why he needed 6 days, he said, “Personal reasons.” Then he came back to Egypt before the stunning Tuesday January 25th demonstration– which the government promptly lied about, saying it was tens of people in the street, when it was tens of thousands.

Ghonim was as surprised as anyone by the power of the first demo. “We didn’t know. We were just doing…”

And then on Wednesday, the government cut the internet off and Ghonim reached out to Mona El-Shazly, a leading independent television personality on Dream 2 channel. She was afraid that she was going to be shut down herself, and when he called, Ghonim spoke in a headlong and passionate manner. “The vein of their living has been cut, which is Facebook, which is connecting them to the world, and to each other,” El-Shazly later related.

The next day she got a text from Ghonim apologizing for his emotionalism.

“Wael, do not worry. Good luck,” she texted back, and then that night, Thursday, they spoke by phone.

“The phone call ended with sweet wishes, and I told him, Take care of yourself, Wael… a natural phone call, between two people.”

And within hours after that he was abducted by four men in the streets of Cairo. “Save me, save me,” he shouted, but they slammed his face down and blindfolded him.

For the next 11 days as the revolution boiled, no one knew where Ghonim was. His family was frantic, his sick father was agonized. Relatives searched the hospitals and called the government. They were lied to. Ghonim’s best friend, a Google employee named Najid, had the code to his phone. He found the call to El-Shazly in the hours before Ghonim was abducted and called her and asked for her help. She was shocked to learn of Ghonim’s disappearance, but she too began making calls, and promised she would not air the news. And she too was lied to.

But before long the news got out. Google issued an appeal, and so did Amnesty International.

Ghonim says that he was blindfolded constantly so that he would have no idea where he was, and that he had no idea what was happening in the streets. He thought that maybe everyone had gone home after the big Friday demo he was planning. He thought maybe people had forgotten about him.

But he was never roughed up — in stark contrast to Khaled Saeed. And surely this had something to do with his status. One of the most important moments in the interview is when El-Shazly says of Ghonim’s unique expertise about the internet: “I don’t want to say more because there are agencies that are important in Egypt that depend on him for his technical knowledge.”

Which is to say, Ghonim’s industrial power was known inside the country, and played a role in his treatment.

The interrogators kept Ghonim blindfolded so he would not know where he was, and they had a simple question: Who was behind this movement? What was the international hand that was manipulating things in Egypt?

Ghonim was able to convince his interrogators, without any proof, simply by talking, that they were mistaken. He explained the roots of the revolution to the smartest men in the security forces, and convinced them of their error.

As he told El-Shazly on television. “I am a young person, but I am a son of Egypt. I love Egypt….This is the revolution of the youth of the internet, which became the revolution of the youth of Egypt. And it has become the revolution of all of Egypt…. No one can trump our love of Egypt.”

The security men had believed that only outsiders could be doing this, Ghonim said, and it was this false belief that was the heart of the corruption and that the revolution is now deconstructing. The idea that young people who love Egypt would not be doing such a thing. And when El-Shazly made the mistake of saying that Najid who had called her was Syrian, Ghonim corrected her sharply. He is Jordanian, he said, and it is important to correct that lest people think that outside forces are manipulating the situation (ie, Iran/Syria).

Similarly, he explained that the Muslim Brotherhood had had no role in the coordination of the January 25 demonstration. Later they had asked to join the January 28th demo. But the youth reached out to no party. The demo was about youth and love of Egypt and human and civil rights. The motto was “Do not break.” Be hurt before you hurt someone else. Ghonim was most proud that during the January 25th demonstration, he saw thousands of young women, and none were harassed. And people picked up trash. And when someone held a club, others told him to put it down. 

To El-Shazly, and all of Egypt, Ghonim revealed his poetic side when he spoke nationalistically:

“We are Egyptian. We are beautiful in soul. We are a people who– someone can be extremely upset or sad, and yet satisfied with that, even happy with it.”

He said that he got along with the men of the secret police. They understood that his agenda was a better Egypt. Though he had to explain the special democratic power of the internet and facebook.

“There is no one on a horse smacking his saddle and moving the people… I was just a mouthpiece. I was a horn. I was honking and telling people to get out.”

On the last day of his detention, Ghonim was brought to the new minister of the interior and head of the National Democratic Party, Hosam Badrawi. Badrawi’s own daughter had been in the demonstration–for as Mona El-Shazly says, many gov’t officials have children in the demonstrations– and told him about Wael Ghonim, and he had gone and found him. They sat and spoke as peers. There was no patriarchal feeling, Ghonim said.

Badrawi assured Ghonim that the country was now changing. “There is no turning back. We are moving forward. We all love Egypt and fear for it.”

But Ghonim told him that the country would not be free till the regime is ended. The logo of the National Democratic Party must be removed from every street in Egypt. Because this was the party that had ruined Egypt, which had built the mistrust and lies. It must be removed, and all the good people inside that party, for there are good people, must run with some other party if they choose to run.

Badrawi released Ghonim personally, and Ghonim sent out a twitter that will resound through history: “Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it.”

By now he knew of all the people who had died in the streets and when the cameras found him that night, he said, “I am not a hero. Please direct the cameras on the right people.”

An hour or two later he told El-Shazly, “I’m not a hero or a symbol. I’m a regular person and I eat Super Watermelon seeds, and I’m a fan of the Ahly [football] Club.” And El-Shazly’s interview with Ghonim ends, famously, when she begins to show the photographs of the young people killed on the streets– “youth just like roses, roses in a garden,” she says, movingly, “they did what the generation before them should have done and couldn’t do”– and Ghonim begins to sob and drops his big head on the table, before he expresses his condolences to the parents.

“It’s not our mistake,” he says. “It is the mistake of those in charge of this country who don’t want to leave their positions.” And then overcome, he walked off the set.

In his tweets since gaining his freedom, Ghonim has thanked Google for its support, called on Egyptians around the world to come home and help their country, and apologized for not having time for any foreign interviews–a policy he suspended in order to use CNN last night to address Omar Suleiman personally, in English.

In the CNN interview, Ghonim showed an ingenuous side, reminding us that he is a rich young man. But he has a mature political vision, and there can be little doubt that Wael Ghonim will be a leader of his people in years to come. What can we say about Ghonim’s agenda and political values? He’s wealthy, but as he says, “I am willing to give up all my money today.” He has populist concerns: the revolution is for the poor whose dignity has been murdered, he said movingly, it is their Egypt; and the man who earns only 500 Egyptian Pounds a month ($100), much of which goes to taxes, has an absolute right to question his leaders.

Sounding like Pete Seeger in Arabic, he chanted, “This country is our country, our country, not yours.”

Throughout his detention, Ghonim had three thoughts ringing through his head, he said. One, this is not the time to settle scores. There are many he is angry with, this is not the time. Two, this is not the time to cut the cake. And people in politics know what that means, he said wryly; it is not the time to divide any spoils. And finally, this is not the time to spread ideologies. It is the time of demanding rights.

So now you understand. The Egyptian revolution has a face as strong as Lech Walesa’s in the shipyard in Gdansk of 22 years ago. But that shipyard is the internet; and Ghonim’s horn could change the world.


Al Arakib villagers beaten and gassed as they protest the 16th demolition of their homes

Feb 10, 2011



And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
Women, children of Bedouin village El Araqib beaten as they silently protest 16th demolition of their homes
(with photos) AIC 10 Feb – Women and children of the Bedouin village of Al Araqib were beaten and gassed by Israel forces Thursday morning (10/2), in an attempt to halt the 16th demolition of their homes and property. Israeli forces and Jewish National Fund workers entered the Bedouin village and again destroyed the residents homes, and continued preparing the land for the planting of a “peace forest.” When residents and activists attempted to halt their work, JNF workers and Israeli police fought back with force. The men in the village were held or detained while the women and children stood before the police and bulldozers and did not allow them to pass, all the while waving their Israeli identification cards as an expression of their trampled civil rights. The police attacked them with punches and tear gas. Six residents, four women and two children, were hospitalized at the Soroka hospital in Beer Sheva.

Clashes in Bedouin village leave 6 wounded
Ynet 10 Feb – Residents of southern village of Al-Arakib clash with JNF workers who came to plant trees in the area. Three people arrested for allegedly hurling stones. Balad condemns government,7340,L-4026687,00.html
Israeli army occupies roof in Silwan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 10 Feb — The Israeli Army has occupied the roof of a Palestinian building in East Jerusalem’s Silwan district. The military order is effective until August 5, 2011, but the residents have been given 14 days to appeal. They are prohibited from ascending to the building’s roof … The structure contains the Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood’s main mosque and the houses of seven Palestinian families.
Meanwhile in Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli police threatened locals it would take extreme punitive measures over ongoing confrontations sparked by provocations by Jewish settlers in the area.
IDF razes settler outpost, illegal Palestinian structures
Ynet 9 Feb – The illegal outpost Mitzpe Avichai near Kiryat Arba was demolished Wednesday for the eight time, but Jewish settlers rebuilt it just a few hours later. “Each time they destroy it we expand it a little more,” one of the settlers said.,7340,L-4026434,00.html
Incursions / Detention / Israeli injustice
Israeli army represses Palestinian dissent by arresting children at 3 am  – Part 1 / Joseph Dana
9 Feb – (with videos of Nabi Saleh night raids) “They come for our woman and our children,” Bassem Tamimi, the leader of the Popular Committee of Nabi Saleh recently told me, “they [the Israeli army] know that woman are half our population and half our strength and so they target them along with the children.” Tamimi, a gentle man with a warm smile spoke to me about the repression of his village as we sat in his home overlooking the settlement of Halamish.
Exclusive video: Israeli army arrests 11-year-old in broad daylight (Part 2) / Joseph Dana
10 Feb – Yesterday, I posted two videos of January 2011 night raids in Nabi Saleh. The videos were taken during a ‘mapping operation’ conducted by the Israeli army. The operation was to photograph and catalogue all the male children in the village. There is no violence, just violation. The above is another video from Nabi Saleh, shot a couple of days after the night raids. It was taken on a Tuesday morning after Israeli authorities had completed another house raid. As the army and police were leaving, one police van stops and two border police officers jump out. 11-year-old Kareem Tamimi comes running into the frame, running towards his mother … The border police officers capture the child, handling him as if he was a fully grown adult … Kareem’s arrest was part of a strategy to apply as much pressure as possible on his 14-year-old brother Islam, who was arrested the previous day in a night raid, in order that Islam will deliver any script that his investigators wanted.
IOF troops desecrate mosque, detain West Bankers
NABLUS, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) broke into an ancient mosque in Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus, and rounded up seven Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Thursday. Local sources reported that the IOF soldiers took photos of the mosque from within and outside along with other ancient sites and old buildings, the municipal council premises, village clubs, culture centers, and under construction projects … Locals said that tens of IOF soldiers stormed at dawn today Oqaba village in Tobas district, and detained four citizens of one family after searching their homes.
Jews and three right-wing Israeli ministers desecrate Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
NABLUS, (PIC) 10 Feb — Hundreds of extremist Jewish settlers and three ministers desecrated last night Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus city and some of them caused havoc in a nearby Palestinian girls’ school. The visit was made under protection from Israeli soldiers and Palestinian authority security militias.
3 youth arrested, 1 injured in day of army harassment in Beit Ommar
10 Feb – On Tuesday, February 8th, 2011, Israeli soldiers entered the village of Beit Ommar and arrested three Palestinian youth. The soldiers also shot 14-year-old Shadi Ahmed Ikhlyal, with rubber-coated steel bullets three times at a distance of about 20 meters. Shadi was taken to the Ahli Hospital in Hebron where his wounds were described as moderate. Five military vehicles and one police car entered the Jodor area of Beit Ommar from the Gush Etzion Settlement at 10am. This is the same area where Yousef Ikhlyal was shot and killed by Israeli settlers from Bat Ayn on January 29th
Hawara prisoners poisoned after jail served rotten food
RAMALLAH, (PIC) 10 Feb — Palestinians held at the Israeli Hawara detention center were poisoned after eating breakfast served by the prison on Monday, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said. Several prisoners had suffered extreme stomach pains and diarrhea. They rejected breakfast served the following day complaining of its bad smell and taste. They believed it to be rotten like the previous instance.
Cops cleared of abuse charges
Ynet 9 Feb – Last of 10 officers accused of beating, urinating on Palestinian man cleared for lack of evidence … Though the Justice Ministry believed the complainant’s account of severe physical violence used against him by 10 officers, just four were originally indicted, and the charges against three have since been dropped. On Wednesday, the unit also dropped charges against the final remaining indicted officer.,7340,L-4026451,00.html
Siege / Closures / Restriction of movement
Nablus town closed down for MK visit
NABLUS (Ma’an) 10 Feb — The town of Balata was closed down overnight by Israeli forces escorting three members of the Knesset on the first state visit to Joseph’s Tomb since troops withdrew from the area. At least 1,000 religious Jews and settlers were present for the visit, which began at 11 p.m. and lasted until sunrise. Residents were told not to leave their homes for the duration.
Huwwara checkpoint to come down
NABLUS (Ma’an) 10 Feb — Nablus Governor Jebrin Al-Bakri was informed by PA liaison officials that the Israeli military will begin immediately the removal of infrastructure for the Huwwara and Beit Furik checkpoints … The announcement came after what Al-Bakri said was eight months of negotiations with Israeli officials, saying that without freedom of movement through the northern West Bank, economic development would be impossible … the Nablus district alone has 6 checkpoints, three partial checkpoints, 33 earth mounds blocking exit roads from major thoroughfares, eight roadblocks 5,400 meters of trenches and 3,363 meters of earth walls preventing free movement.
Health ministry: The bombing of medical aid depot worsened crisis in Gaza
GAZA, (PIC) (10 Feb) — The Palestinian ministry of health warned that the crisis of medicines in the besieged Gaza Strip was aggravated after Israel bombed a medical aid warehouse at an early hour Wednesday morning. Minister of health Basem Naim said in a news conference inside the bombed depot that Gaza already suffers from acute shortage of medical supplies and the bombing worsened the problem and noticeably affected the work of hospitals.
UN puts Gaza unemployment rate at 45%
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The unemployment rate in Gaza has continued to climb in 2011, reaching 45.4%, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told reporters in Gaza City on Wednesday. At a news conference for the UN Relief and Works Agency, Gunness warned that the increasing unemployment was a sign of a hugely fragile Gaza economy, which he described as on the “brink of collapse.”
Crossing borders: the long, lonely walk to Gaza / Harriet Sherwood
Passing through the Erez terminal between Israel and Gaza is an unnerving experience, however many times I do it
Goods enter through single crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 10 Feb — The southernmost Gaza-Israel crossing terminal Kerem Shalom was opened by Israeli officials on Thursday, for an estimated 180-190 truckloads of goods … The same crossing, described by UN officials as a “bottleneck” was scheduled to export six truckloads of strawberries and carnations under a Dutch government program to support Gaza farmers.
Industrial fuel – needs vs. supply – Jan 9 – Feb 5
Goods – needs vs. supply – Jan 9 – Feb 5
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
New fund to aid victims of army abuse
10 Feb – The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee has created a new fund, the “Dismantling Impunity Fund”. This fund will aid Palestinians engaging in non-violent resistance pay for legal fees when suing Israel for deaths caused by the Israeli army.
Battle over Mideast transit ads heating up
…In several major U.S. cities, advertisements on public buses and municipal rail stations are designed to galvanize public opinion to end U.S. military aid to Israel or to pressure Palestinians to end anti-Jewish incitement. In some cases, the ads have been deemed so inflammatory that local authorities have tried to restrict or ban them outright, leading to frustration on both sides and, in one case, a federal lawsuit.
PACBI asks Macy Gray not to come to Ramallah / Joseph Dana
Open Letter to Macy Gray Occupied Ramallah February 9, 2011 – The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) views with great dismay your upcoming performance in Tel Aviv, despite your acknowledgment that “what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting.” … PACBI has also learned that you intend to visit Ramallah on your tour, a suggestion raised in the past by all those who have tried to appease the occupied Palestinian people while going against our call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Irish artists join forces to launch Gaza ship fundraiser
2 Feb – A GROUP OF Irish artists including actor Stephen Rea have launched a fundraising project to help an Irish ship join an international flotilla to Gaza later this year.
Egyptian uprising and Palestine
Stranded Palestinians finally allowed to leave Cairo airport
CAIRO, (PIC) 10 Feb — Palestinian citizens stranded at the Cairo international airport were finally allowed on Wednesday to enter Cairo after two weeks in the airport. Egyptian sources told the PIC that 30 Palestinians left the airport after being held there after closure of the Rafah border terminal leading to Gaza Strip … The sources said that part of those Palestinians went to their relatives and friends’ homes in Cairo while others were moved to Palestine hotel, adding that diplomats at the Arab League intervened for the sake of moving those stranded citizens from the airport where they had declared a hunger strike last Sunday to protest their condition.
Gazan students hold Egypt solidarity rally
GAZA CITY (AFP) 9 Feb — Several hundred Islamist students rallied in central Gaza on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests in Egypt, onlookers said.
Despite PA repression, Palestinians rally for Egypt / Charlotte Silver
(EI) 9 Feb – …In the West Bank, demonstrating solidarity takes on a dual and potentially treacherous significance, as Palestinians can easily indict their own government for similar charges heard from Egyptians and earlier, Tunisians. The fate of Egypt has direct consequences for that of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where elections for the Palestinian Authority have not been held even though the terms of office for the legislative council and president have long since expired … The PA has notably distanced itself from the events in Tunisia and Egypt, while Palestinian television has reportedly entirely ignored Egypt. Moreover, the PA has squashed attempts by Palestinians to express solidarity with their sisters and brothers in Egypt, bringing to light the repression and fear Palestinians face.
Political/Diplomatic news
Islamic Jihad: Elections will deepen crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 10 Feb — Palestinian factions in Gaza said Tuesday that no Palestinian faction is entitled to unilateral decisions to hold national elections to serve special interests.
Ashrawi welcomes elections date
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 10 Feb — PLO official and lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi welcomed Wednesday the decision to hold local elections on July 9. She stressed that elections were a basic requirement for a future democratic and sovereign Palestinian state.
US ‘committed’ to Israel security amid Egypt unrest
WASHINGTON (AFP) 10 Feb — The United States will work to ensure that turmoil in Egypt does not create “new dangers for Israel or the region,” a top US diplomat said in prepared testimony to a key congressional committee. [End]
US official: Israeli’s actions in East Jerusalem go against Mideast peace efforts
Haaretz 9 Feb – Israel’s continued East Jerusalem construction hurts efforts to advance Middle East peace, a U.S. State Department official said on Wednesday, adding that those actions contradicted the logic of a reasonable agreement on the capital’s future status.
Israel’s Barak discusses Egypt at White House
WASHINGTON (AFP) 10 Feb – Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak met US President Barack Obama’s most senior national security aides Wednesday, with anxiety over Egypt dominating the foreign policy of both nations.
Other news
Report: Egypt used Israeli technology to disable state’s Internet
(PIC) 9 Feb — Egypt used advanced Israeli technology to disable the internet across the nation during the first week of popular revolutionary protests that began January 25, the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper said. The ruling regime was forced to ask for Israeli technology experts to block the internet in order to curb the swelling of protests that eventually demanded the ouster of President Mubarak, Ynet reported Wednesday.
Journalists arrested in Bethlehem
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 9 Feb — The Preventive Security Service prevented two journalists from covering a protest Tuesday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem and then placed them in custody, a press freedom group said. Quds TV correspondent Mamdouh Hamamrah was covering a teachers’ sit-in in at the Education Ministry in Bethlehem when Preventive Security personnel arrested him and his cameraman, MADA said Wednesday.
Qalqiliya man arrested for collaboration
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) 10 Feb — The Palestinian Authority Court of First Instance sentenced a suspect to 14 years in prison and hard labor after he was convicted of collaborating with the occupation. The Public Prosecution in Qalqilya charged the unidentified man with spying for Israel. The charge carries a maximum penalty of death, but it is almost never carried out.
Jewish Israeli woman gives birth at Palestinian West Bank hospital
9 Feb (Haaretz) The woman, who is married to an Arab Israeli man, refuses to be transferred to an Israeli hospital, saying she hoped her baby would have Palestinian citizenship.
Israeli university lecturer says denied promotion for being ‘too leftist’
Haaretz 10 Feb – Bar Ilan’s promotions committee also ruled against elevating Dr. Menachem Klein to the rank of professor five years ago.
After France, Israel considers ‘banning the burqa’
Haaretz 10 Feb – All clothing that covers the face in a public place would be banned, but the proposed law would affect mainly Muslim women … Solodkin insists that the law does not discriminate against Muslims, pointing out that a small sect of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women that shroud themselves from head to toe also exists.
Activist: Israel becoming country of servants and lordst
Ynet 9 Feb – Viki Knafo, who led single moms’ campaign eight years ago, joins fight against recent price increases on bread, fuel, water. ‘Israelis like to suffer, but we must wake up before situation becomes catastrophic,’ she says,7340,L-4026385,00.html
Haaretz editorial: Israel must carry out fair judgment for foreigners
9 Feb – A Georgian citizen married to an Israeli woman was surprised to discover last week that a decision made by a judge overseeing his custody tribunal appeared in his file before his case was even heard. The file on Besik Kajaia also contained statements he had supposedly made in Hebrew, a language he does not know.
Analysis / Opinion / Human interest
The scent of the Palestinian pharaoh / Abdaljawad Hamayel
(EI) 9 Feb – “They are marching to freedom, while we march to surrender.”  These were my mother’s words as she reacted spontaneously, but intensely to the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions and lamented over Palestinians’ self-inflicted wounds emanating from the Palestinian Authority and its numerous failures … It is not only surrender we are marching to, but we are marching — under PA tutelage — toward a typical one-party, pseudo-security state.
Unlike Egyptians, Israelis support restricting expression / Akiva Eldar
Nearly 40 percent of Israelis believe there is too much freedom of expression in Israel.
Palestinian teen undergoes skull surgery at Hope
9 Feb – Palestinian teenager Nojoud Basal sat on an examining table Wednesday at Hope Children’s Hospital and got a clean bill of health from Dr. Yoon Hahn … Basal, 15, was seriously injured in 2009 when an artillery shell exploded outside her home in the Gaza Strip during a military conflict and shrapnel damaged her skull.
Wednesday: 14 Iraqis killed, 120 wounded
A significant attack in Kirkuk may have shook the country today and reminded the world of Iraq’s continuing violence, but it is the amount of chronic corruption within government that perhaps has even more Iraqis rattled. At least 14 Iraqis were killed in attacks across the country and 121 more were wounded. The head of the Commission on Integrity (COI), Rahim Hassan al-Uqailee, warnedthat corruption is a major source of financing for terrorist groups, but self-protection within the departments and among their ministers exacerbates the situation.
Thursday: 11 Iraqis killed, 50 wounded
Attacks in north and central Iraq have left at least 11 Iraqis dead and 50 wounded. A National Alliance legislator has asked for another sweep of Ba’ath Party loyalists from security forces. A car bomber stalking pilgrims in Dujail killed nine people and wounded 40 others. The victims were walking to the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra for religious observances that will take place on Saturday. The bomber easily penetrated their procession by disguising his car with flags and mourning music.
Other Mideast / Arab world
Jordan PM names Islamist, leftists to new cabinet
AMMAN, Jordan (AFP) 9 Feb — Jordanian Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit named a new cabinet including an Islamist and five leftists Tuesday following the dismissal of the previous government by King Abdullah II earlier this month. The new line-up, which was sworn in, includes independent Islamist Abdelrahim Akur, who is a former leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, as head of the ministry of Islamic affairs and awqaf (endowments).
Jordan tribes break taboo by targeting queen
AMMAN, Jordan (AFP) 9 Feb — Popular discontent took a new turn with unprecedented public criticism of King Abdullah II’s wife, Queen Rania, who stands accused of “corruption” by large tribes, the bedrock of Jordan’s regime. “We call on the king to return to the treasury land and farms given to the Yassin family (of the queen). The land belongs to the Jordanian people,” 36 tribal leaders said this week in a joint statement.
Tunisia announces talks with unions
TUNIS (AFP) 9 Feb — Tunisia’s interim president Foued Mebazaa on Wednesday announced that talks with unions would be held soon after he was given wide powers to restore order following the ouster of ex-leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. [End]
Revolution is an export Tunisia can be proud of / Nouri Gana
(EI) 8 Feb – I am not a big fan of Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mohammad Ghannouchi. His name is reminiscent of deposed President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali’s autocratic regime, and of the interim government’s riot police’s recent attack on sit-in protesters in Tunis’s Qasbah Government Square when all eyes were focused on Egypt (“Let’s not forget about Tunisia,” Jadaliyya, 30 January 2011). Yet, I very much appreciated some of what Ghannouchi had to say last Friday, 4 February 2011, to journalist Piers Morgan on his new CNN show Piers Morgan Tonight. Here is an excerpt:
WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep lid on prices
Guardian 8 Feb – The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show. The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.
WikiLeaks: IDF deputy chief of staff discusses Gaza Operation Cast Lead and US, Egyptian roles to slow smuggling to Hamas
Date: 2/19/2009 14:53 Origin: Embassy Tel Aviv Classification: SECRET – 1. (S) SUMMARY: Israel Defense Force (IDF) Deputy Chief of Staff MG Dan Harel in a meeting with Ambassador Cunningham and senior U.S. officials said Egyptian and U.S. assistance is critical to slowing the flow of weapons and munitions into Gaza. Cooperation against smuggling is better with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman than it is with Egyptian Military Commander Field Marshall Tantawi
WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would cleanse Sinai of arms runners to Gaza
The news is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Mr Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president. The close relationship has emerged from American diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph.
Fatah expects little progress in reconciliation talks, defends PA security doctrine
Date: 6/25/2009 14:33 Origin: Consulate Jerusalem Classification: SECRET — 1. (C) Summary. Fatah and Hamas delegations will hold reconciliation meetings in Cairo in late June in advance of a planned “signing ceremony” on July 7, according to senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad. Al-Ahmad said Egyptian officials want a “political” announcement that puts off the most difficult issues until new elections. Fatah opposes such an agreement because it could legitimize Hamas control of Gaza, he added.
Feds: Young Muslims revered NC terrorism leader
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) 9 Feb  – Daniel Patrick Boyd developed a following in his local Muslim community as believers learned about his time waging war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and he used that stature to tell young followers about the need for violent jihad, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Al Jazeera video: Dispute over Guantánamo death
9 Feb – Kin of Afghan man who died in the US-run detention centre contest the claim he died of “natural causes” — Al Jazeera has obtained exclusive footage from the funeral of Awal Gul, an Afghan man who died in US custody at the Guantánamo Bay detention centre last week. The US military said that Awal Gul’s death was caused by “apparent natural causes”. But as Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports from Kabul, the incident has stirred up anti-American sentiment.

Land, property, resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
New settlement built in Negev to Judaise area, displace Bedouin communities
The first housing plots in the new Negev settlement of Carmit went on sale this week. A representative of the Or Movement, which promotes settlement construction in the Negev and the Galilee, said Carmit is being advertised as a town for “affluent immigrants from English-speaking countries.” “There are 80 families of British, Americans and South Africans who are coming,” Roni Flamer, the movement’s co-founder, stated in March 2010. Israel’s District Planning and Building Commission of the Southern Region approved the construction of 739 housing units for Carmit’s Phase A, back in 2005.

Red Cross tents demolished in village
NABLUS (Ma’an) 9 Feb — Israeli military bulldozers demolished barns and tents in Khirbet Tana village on Wednesday, marking the fourth time in a week dwellings in the area set up by the International Red Cross were forcibly taken down … A representative of Israel’s Civil Administration said the demolitions were a part of “routine law enforcement activity against illegal building,” and confirmed that approximately 19 buildings were destroyed.
Eviction orders issued to Bedouin families in Jerusalem
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Feb — The Israeli Civil Administration issued eviction orders to the residents of Palestinian Bedouin community Sira’iya. The orders are valid for the tents, barns and animal pens that house the families of Sira’iya and their livestock, horses and poultry. The community is located in Wadi Abu Hindi area between Abu Dis, Bethlehem and Sawahreh of south-east Jerusalem. Hatem Abdel Qader, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio for the PA, stated that the eviction orders underline the clear intention of the Israeli authorities to displace the Sira’iya clans from their traditional land in the greater Jerusalem area, thus enabling further land annexation and settlement construction in the region, completing the so-called “Eastern Ring” of Jewish settlements around the capital.
Rawabi developer to replace trees donated by JNF
9 Feb – Bashar Al-Masri, developer of a new West Bank city Rawabi, said Tuesday that trees donated to the project by the Jewish National Fund would be replaced by olive trees. Masri said there was some confusion over the trees, explaining that pine trees near the city were actually in Area C, a zone under full Israeli control. He stressed that the new city’s identity was Palestinian, and that some Israeli elements were trying “to manipulate the issue.” Earlier Tuesday, senior Fatah member Uri Davis called on Masri to uproot the trees in an opinion piece published on Ma’an.
Village and forest and a bit about God / Adam Keller
8 Feb …Why is the government of Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East (?), so insistent upon repeatedly destroying a small village which existed long before Israel itself came into being? The answer is well known: to make the desert bloom. Yes, it is the proclaimed and outspoken intention of the Jewish National Fund to plant a forest on this site. This damned unrecognized village called Arakib poses an obstacle to their noble forestry plans. A forest? Is it really possible to let a forest grow in this arid area, even if a lot of water is pumped there from other regions. Possibly the JNF might manage a little grove, should the police ever manage to rid them of the stubborn villagers. Maybe…
Civil Administration destroys caravans in West Bank outpost
Ynet 9 Feb – Civil Administration officials, accompanied by police and army forces, destroyed a number of caravans in the West Bank outpost of Mitzpe Avihai near Kiryat Arba. The illegal outpost, which houses two families, was demolished several times in the past and rebuilt by the settlers.,7340,L-4025924,00.html
Violence / Attacks / Incursions
Video: Israel deliberately bombs medical supply building in Gaza / Ken O’Keefe
9 Feb – Israel has intentionally dropped two large bombs on the AL-Qerem Medical Supplies Factory in Jabalya, Gaza. The building is totally destroyed, as was all of the medical supplies and equipment. Gaza is already in crisis mode for lack of medical supplies, this bombing will mean even the most basic of medical needs will continue to be impossible to satisfy.
Israel bombs medical aid warehouse in Gaza
(with photos) 9 Feb (Middle East Monitor) Fires raged through the early hours of the morning as fire-fighters and volunteers tried to salvage medical supplies and aid … The press spokesperson for the Emergency Services, Abu Adham, said that eight civilians were injured by the Israeli bombs, including two children and three women. The casualties were taken to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza. Abu Adham pointed out that there is already an acute shortage of medicines and medical supplies in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing Israeli blockade of the territory. In his assessment, the airstrike targeted the medical warehouse in an attempt to subdue further the civilian population.
10 Palestinians injured in Gaza strikes
Ten Palestinians were injured Wednesday morning in Israeli air strikes which started after midnight and hit in a series of explosions running from the northern end of the Strip to the south … eight were lightly injured including two children and three women … one strike targeted a medicine warehouse east of Gaza City. The strike obliterated the warehouse and damaged a carpenters workshop next door, he said. The Israeli warplanes dropped another two missiles on an empty area east of Gaza City with no injuries reported. Further south, two Palestinians were injured when missiles hit a training ground used by Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades. Medical sources said the injured were civilians who lived adjacent to the site.
Palestinian injured in clashes south of Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A teenager was hospitalized Wednesday morning after being shot in the leg by Israeli forces with a rubber-coated bullet, as witnesses said the force entered the village of Urif. South of the illegal Yitzhar settlement, locals said the military patrol sparked clashes as a group of armored cars drive through the area, prompting teens and children on their way to class to throw stones and yell.
PFLP wing says shelled Israeli military jeep
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 9 Feb — The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said militants fired a projectile on an Israeli military jeep east of Gaza City’s Ash-Shujayiya neighborhood on Wednesday morning. According to a statement sent by the group, Israeli soldiers entered the area to rescue the targeted patrol. The attack came after a series of three Israeli airstrikes hit targets across the Gaza Strip, injuring 10, including three women and two children.
OPT: Gaza vulnerable despite resumption of Egyptian petrol deliveries
GAZA CITY, 9 Feb (IRIN) – Despite ongoing protests calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s immediate resignation, petrol is once again flowing through the tunnels from Egypt into Gaza after supplies were cut for a week due to the unrest, according to the Palestinian General Petroleum Corporation.  The corporation reports that almost one million tons of diesel has been pumped under the border into the Gaza Strip in the past two days. At least 210,000 litres of petrol has also come through and more is expected, alleviating immediate fears of a fuel shortage.
WHO: Gaza drug shortage ‘serious’ risk to health
9 Feb – A World Health Organization report found “serious health risks” were at play during an investigation probing the availability of essential medications in the Gaza Strip.  In coping with the unavailability of medications, the report said, doctors prescribe alternative medications that are sometimes less effective or have worse side effects. In other cases, patients must independently approach NGOs for medications unavailable in clinics. The report said the issue was the most severe when it came to cancer drugs, drugs for patients with kidney failure, congenital heart disease or immunosuppressant drugs for transplant patients.
Two Gaza crossings operate
9 Feb – Two terminals were opened Wednesday for the introduction of aid and commercial goods into Gaza, Israeli officials informed Palestinian liaison officers early in the day.
Egyptian uprising and Palestine
Facebook call for uprising against Hamas in Gaza on Friday
9 Feb – Gaza City – A Facebook page created by anonymous people is calling on Palestinians to take part in mass protest against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Friday.The page, titled Honour Revolution (Thauret al-Karama in Arabic), urges Gazans to take to the street after Muslim Friday prayers to topple the de-facto government of the Islamist movement … By Wednesday afternoon, 2,338 people had joined it by clicking “like.”The group’s stated aim is to end the split between Gaza and the West Bank,,uprising-hamas-gaza-friday.html
Hungry Gazans feed Egyptian troops / Mohammed Omer
9 Feb – Rafah – Mustapha Suleiman, 27, from J Block east of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, crosses through gaps in the iron fence on the border carrying bread, water, meat cans and a handful of vegetables for Egyptian soldiers stationed on the other side. “Whatever you offer on Saturday you will receive on Sunday,” Suleiman says. “I am ready to help with what I have, for all the work they do.”

Palestinians face uncertain reception at Cairo airport
An official at the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo denied reports that Palestinians were being denied entry into Egypt, saying all those with residence permits could access the country freely. The director of the Egyptian borders authority, however, told AFP that the entry of at least 12 Palestinians had been denied, saying they were expelled from the country after landing in Cairo. The ban, he said, would be temporary and not apply to those already in Cairo. On Tuesday, Hamas officials in Gaza said there were at least ten Palestinians being held in the Cairo airport.
Fatah had nothing to do with pipeline blast: ambassador
Palestinian ambassador to Cairo Barakat Al-Farra said Wednesday that Egyptian media reports had accused Fatah-affiliates of being behind a blast that targeted the Israel-Egypt-Jordan gas pipeline in the Sinai last week … Hamas had initially come under suspicion for the attack, but officials said their fighters had nothing to do with the incident.  According to Al-Farra, Fatah next came under suspicion.
Egyptian humor touches Palestine
‘If the Egyptian revolution succeeds,’ the joke, murmured in the streets of Cairo goes, ‘it will meet with Tunis for the finals.’  A second, which made the rounds in Egypt by SMS, and arrived on the mobiles of thousands of Palestinians, commented: A group of surgeons went to Egypt to perform a one-of-a-kind operation on conjoined twins named Hosni Mubarak and the Throne
Political/Diplomatic news
Israel’s Barak in US for top-level talks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 9 Feb — Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak is to hold a series of top-level talks in Washington later on Wednesday which Israeli media say will center on the unfolding crisis in Egypt.
Hague warns Israel to soften rhetoric
9 Feb – The Middle East peace process is in danger of falling victim to the revolutionary tide sweeping the Arab world, [British] foreign secretary William Hague has warned. Speaking on an emergency tour of the region, Mr Hague also urged Israel to tone down its “belligerent” language in the wake of the uprisings which have spread from Tunisia to Egypt and beyond.
Netherlands could be safe haven for war criminals: leaked memo
A leaked secret memorandum from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggests the government is seeking to ensure Israeli and other foreign officials who may be pursued for war crimes can visit the Netherlands without fear of arrest or legal accountability.
Authority to complain against Al Jazeera
9 Feb – Ramallah: The Palestinian National Authority plans to complain against Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera at the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for theft of confidential documents [‘Palestine Papers’], a top Palestinian official said on Monday. Dr Saeb Erekat, the Chief Palestinian Negotiator, said the Palestinian Authority will bring up its case against Al Jazeera to the IFJ in the next 14 days. He accused Al Jazeera of stealing the documents, which he termed a crime committed against the Palestinian people.
Other news
Marmara hits stage in anti-Israel play
‘We are presenting Israel’s inhuman actions against Palestinians,’ says director of play on flotilla raid — On Saturday a new play about the May 31 IDF flotilla raid on the Mavi Marmara, which killed nine Turkish civilians, premiered in Istanbul. About a thousand people watched ‘Dying to Give Life – Mavi Marmara’, and its producers have planned many more showings throughout the country.,7340,L-4025884,00.html
Gaza youth vent anger on Facebook
9 Feb (BBC) …Khaled (not his real name) has become something of an online sensation in Gaza, but is now effectively living in hiding. He is one of the authors of the Gaza Youth Manifesto for Change, a 450-word tirade against the frustrations of life in the Strip. Posted online in December, the manifesto now has over 19,000 followers on the group’s Facebook page under the name Gaza Youth Breaks Out [GYBO].

Rainfall up after years of drought
9 Feb – The PA Department of Agriculture released rainwater statistics for the West Bank on Wednesday, showing significant boosts to annual numbers as showers continue across the region. Six out of twelve regions have already seen more than 90 percent of the historic average number of millimeters of rainfall,
MKs: 13 Iron Dome batteries needed
Member of Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee say first batteries of missile defense system must be stationed in Gaza vicinity; defense establishment seeks fewer batteries,7340,L-4026242,00.html
Haredi ads: Internet causes cancer
…”Where there is Internet, there are no rains,” read one of the posters that were pasted in central haredi spots. “Let’s remove the idolatry from among us. Hundreds of thousands of cancer patients (suffer) because of the Internet.”,7340,L-4015545,00.html
Tuesday: 4 Iraqis killed, 7 wounded
Amnesty International released a report stating that Iraq routinely tortures detainees in secret prisons. Meanwhile, at least four Iraqis were killed and seven more were wounded in reported violence. In Baghdad, a bomb at a brigadier general’s house in Ghazaliya killed him, while a second bomb wounded four others. Gunmen stormed a home in Mushahda, forced a man and his son outside, and killed them both. Two Katyusha rockets fell in the Tigris River near the Green Zone….
Three car bombs kill , wound 78 in Iraq’s Kirkuk
(Reuters) 9 Feb – …The explosions were the latest in a series of attacks on police and soldiers by insurgents as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw by the end of this year. Kirkuk, inhabited by a mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and others, sits on some of Iraq’s biggest oil reserves and is one of the disputed territories at the center of tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraq’s central government in Baghdad.
Video: Moment roadside bomb exploded in Kirkuk
9 Feb BBC
US reports 20 percent drop in Iraq violence
Baghdad 8 Feb (CSM) — US military commanders in Iraq on Tuesday praised the lowest levels of violence in Iraq since 2003, saying that Iraqi forces were making security gains while American forces prepare for final departure at the end of the year. Overall security incidents fell by one-fifth, despite a host of security incidents in recent months
US gov’t seeks to reopen Blackwater case
WASHINGTON (AFP) 8 Feb — A US appeals court met behind closed doors as the government appealed a judge’s decision to clear five former guards with security company Blackwater of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Amnesty UK: ‘Tortured British man in Iraq faces trial tomorrow 
7 Feb – A British man is set to stand trial in Iraq on terrorism charges tomorrow (9 February) amid claims that he suffered prolonged torture while being held in secret detention. Ramze Shihab Ahmed, a 68-year-old dual Iraqi-UK national who has lived in the UK since 2002, is due to appear at the Al-Rusafa Criminal Court in Baghdad tomorrow morning (9 February) to face charges of inciting and fundraising for terrorism, charges that may attract a death penalty.
Graft finances terrorism, Iraqi official claims
BAGHDAD (AFP) 9 Feb — Instead of fighting graft Iraq’s ministers prefer to hide departmental corruption, contributing to a major source of insurgent financing, the country’s top anti-fraud official said on Wednesday. Iraq is rated by watchdog Transparency International as the fourth most corrupt country in the world
City of contrasts / Abeer Mohammed
8 Feb – Some are less obvious than others as Sadr City undergoes cultural and economic change — Contradictions are evident everywhere you go in this impoverished district of Baghdad. Sadr City is increasingly a cultural battleground between traditional Islam and modernity. This teeming Shia stronghold of Baghdad is also the backdrop for a fight against poverty as Iraq stabilises and attempts to expand its economic opportunities.

Mannequins wear a message for Iraq’s women
8 Feb – Four mannequins in Western dress in the Kadhimiya neighborhood. Text accompanying the display, put on by a mosque, had an uncompromising message: Men who look at women in such dress become voracious monsters; women who wear it burn through eternity … Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003, women’s clothing has served as a barometer not just of fashion, but of the current ascendancy of religious values in a once secular society.
Other Mideast / Afghanistan
UNIFIL says not notified of Israeli freeze of withdrawal from border village
8 Feb …The UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said that UNIFIL has not been notified by Israel of any change in its stance on the matter of its withdrawal from Ghajar and the adjacent region. “Our stance is very clear, Israel is obliged to withdraw from these two areas according to (UN Security Council) Resolution 1701, ” Tenenti was quoted as saying by the NNA.
Arab leaders pin hopes on subsidies to allay anger
BEIRUT (AP) 9 Feb — Arab leaders are scrambling to boost salaries and subsidies in a bid to head off the kind of popular uprisings that have threatened the Egyptian president’s hold on power and led to the ouster of Tunisia’s leader after more than two decades. But experts warn the moves might actually prolong the economic imbalances that helped spark the unrest in the first place.
Jordan king swears in new government after protests
AMMAN, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Jordan’s King Abdullah swore in a new government on Wednesday, led by a former general who has promised to widen public freedoms in response to anti-government protests inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.