Mondoweiss Online Newsletter



Looking good

Jun 02, 2011 06:39 pm | Philip Weiss

Screenshot of the president on June 1 from the American Center for Law and Justice’s TV show.

Looking better

Jun 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Sarah Palin visited New York today. The Daily News had a shot of her wearing the bling at left. Mentioned at this site.

Ahram reports that Israelis name a settlement ‘Obama’ in gratitude
Jun 02, 2011 06:26 pm | Kate

and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers
Rightists in Jerusalem: Muhammad is dead, butcher Arabs
Ynet 2 June —  Dozens of right-wing activists marching through Jerusalem Wednesday were filmed chanting inflammatory messages and singing provocative songs in the capital, including “Muhammad is dead, ‘  ‘May your village burn, ‘  ‘Death to leftists, ‘ and  ‘Butcher the Arabs. ‘ The disturbing utterances were made during the traditional “Flag Dance” on the occasion of Jerusalem Day [see video (in Hebrew)],7340,L-4077292,00.html
In photos: right-wing extremist Jerusalem Day march in Sheikh Jarrah
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 2 June — some captions: A settler attempts to kick a Palestinian child out of his native Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood; Palestinian merchants close and barricade their shops in anticipation of the march’s destruction; One of the Sheikh Jarrah homes seized by settlers
What is Jerusalem Day to the Palestinians?
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 2 June — …To Palestinians, the day marks the occupation of the entire eastern half of the city in 1967, reflected in present day by the demonstrations staged on the date by Israeli extremists, who flock to East Jerusalem in their thousands. The day is one of danger for Palestinian residents. In the past many have been physically attacked and had property damaged or destroyed by right-wing marchers, who enjoy the support and protection of Israeli state security forces. The marches immobilise the entire eastern city as the streets are overtaken by marchers chanting racist slogans and given free rein to cause havoc in the Palestinian neighborhoods. Many are seen to engage in binge-drinking during the marches, upping the aggression they inflict on residents.
Palestinian woman beaten by colonists during march
GulfNews 1 June — Ramallah: A Palestinian teacher from Occupied East Jerusalem was admitted to hospital after a group of Israeli colonists attacked her and severely beaten her up. The attack on Noor Al Hussaini took place while she was in a supermarket buying items for her special needs students, when a group of ultra orthodox Israeli colonists attacked her for no apparent reason. Colonists did not stop beating the teacher until Palestinian residents interfered, according to sources.

Jewish celebrations organized near banished Jerusalem officials
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 2 June — Jewish settlers celebrated Wednesday morning the occupation of Jerusalem near where the Palestinian officials have been seeking sanctuary at the Jerusalem Red Cross. The officials, two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former Palestinian Authority minister, have been sitting in for almost a year after Israeli authorities ordered them to leave their native holy city … Ahmed Attoun, one of the PLC members stationed at the site, called choosing the location for the celebrations a “provocative move that reflects an extremist mentality.”
Muslim worshipers counter provocative Aqsa raid
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 1 June — Worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem fought back after Jewish fanatics infiltrated the sacred site during the forty-fourth anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of Jerusalem. Muslims who had gone in reclusion since dawn prayers were dragged into intermittent clashes with the Jewish fanatics and Israeli police, the mosque security guards said … Jewish groups had announced beforehand that they would infiltrate the mosque in a bid to enforce “Israeli sovereignty” over it
Netanyahu’s office promoting plan to relocate 30,000 Bedouin
Haaretz 2 June — The government is to consider a plan drafted in the Prime Minister’s Office to relocate close to 30,000 Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages in the Negev to expanded areas of existing Negev Bedouin towns such as Rahat, Kseifa and Hura. The plan would involve transplanting about 40 percent of the 71,000 Bedouin residents in the unrecognized locales. The relocated Bedouin would receive both monetary compensation and alternate land.
Israel temporarily expels residents of Jordan Valley village
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 2 June — About 200 Palestinians were forced to leave their village in the Jordan Valley on Wednesday, locals said, instructed by Israeli forces to vacate the northern West Bank area as a training mission was conducted. According to villagers, who said soldiers and civil administration officials instructed them to move two kilometers outside the village of Khirbet Yarza, they were not told when they would be permitted to return. Residents told Ma‘an that they feared the move preempted [presaged?] their permanent expulsion from the area.
Israeli settlers clash with police during West Bank outpost demolition
2 June — Some 200 IDF soldiers, police arrive at outpost near Shilo settlement to dismantle four illegal structures; 11 lightly wounded in fray; three settlers arrested as result of clashes; video inside shows police car ablaze … The residents, who were prepared for the evacuation, blocked all roads to the outpost using large rocks and nails. During the confrontation, settlers hurled a firebomb at the vehicle of the police commander of the settlement of Benyamin.
[‘price tag’] After outpost evacuation, settlers smash 12 cars
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 2 June — Twelve Palestinian vehicles were vandalized Thursday morning, along the Nablus-Ramallah road not far from the Shilo settlement, where violence erupted before dawn as Israeli soldiers evacuated an illegal settlement outpost there. The cars’ windshields were broken by rocks, bats and sticks, locals told Ma‘an, doors dented, paint scraped and decals ripped off in what residents blamed on settler aggression … Under the policy, settlers make Palestinians “pay” for each evacuation of an outpost. In the past, the “price” has included arson, shootings, beatings, burning fields, uprooting trees and poisoning water wells belonging to Palestinians.
[‘price tag’] Settlers torch crops in Nablus villages
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 June — For the second time this week, villagers reported fires set by settlers in farmlands south of Nablus, with Burin residents pointing the finger at residents of the Yitzhar settlement. Farmlands near the Madama and Burin villages, both south of Nablus, were ablaze Thursday afternoon, and villagers told settlements observer Ghassan Doughlas that settlers were seen in the area. Palestinian fire crews were able to contain the blazes, but several dunums of lands were wrecked, the official said. The fires came following the evacuation of a settlement outpost fifteen kilometers south of the villages.
Israel creates ‘Obama’ settlement, more obstacles for viable Palestinian state / Saleh Naami
Ahram 31 May — In a move that comes as gesture of deep gratitude, the Israeli government permitted an extreme rightwing Israeli association to name a new settlement Obama. The building of settlements makes the establishment of a connected Palestinian state an impossible task … The location of the Obama settlement is along the main road that connects the West Bank’s northern and southern regions; a consequence of building the settlement would therefore be to separate those territories permanently. [not sure about this article – Ahram Online seems to be the only source],-more-obstacles-fo.aspx
Jerusalem area settlement asks nearby mosques to turn down loudspeakers
Haaretz 2 June — The Ma’aleh Adumim local council is demanding that the loudspeakers announcing the Muslim call to prayer from some mosques in the adjacent Palestinian village of al-Eizariya be turned down because the volume is disturbing residents of the settlement, Palestinian sources told Haaretz … Beyond the religious sensitivities involved, the issue also has political implications. Last July, the Palestinian religious affairs ministry in the West Bank ordered mosques to stop reading from the Koran before the call to prayer, except during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, saying that the decision had been made in 2007 by the Palestinian Liberation Organization-Hamas unity government. Officials explained that Sunni Muslim experts did not consider the innovation to be required. Other religious figures in the West Bank disagreed, however, calling it an acceptable custom cherished in many parts of the Muslim world. About two months ago, the order eliminating the reading of the Koran was withdrawn.
Gaza – under siege for 1450 days now
Gaza fishermen: Israeli navy hit skiff, 1 injured
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Gaza fishermen said one skiff was hit and sunk Wednesday night by an Israeli naval boat off the Rafah coast. Fisherman Ahmad Abu Salmiyeh, 20, was injured after sinking with his boat following the collision, which took place near Tal As-Sultan in the southern Gaza Strip, his colleagues told Ma‘an. A group of fellow fishers rushed out to rescue him, Ma‘an’s correspondent reported.
Rafah border: a dream that remains a dream
Gaza, June 1 — A major crisis mounted between Egypt and the de facto government of Gaza yesterday regarding Rafah border, which left both sides to exchange accusations of failing to create a mechanism to facilitate the crossing of Palestinians in both directions through Rafah crossing.
Open border at Gaza is not so open, Palestinians find
NYTimes 1 June — GAZA — Days after Egypt, with great fanfare, opened its border permanently with Gaza, new restrictions have been imposed on Palestinians who want to cross, and the area’s Hamas rulers spoke on Wednesday with frustration and anger. Only three buses, carrying a total of 150 passengers, entered the Egyptian hall at the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, while five others remained stuck on the Palestinian side, Hamas officials said two hours before closing. “Since Tuesday, we are witnessing complications that we cannot understand,” said Salama Baraka, director of the crossing, who blamed “the Egyptian side for the nearly paralyzed movement of travelers.” Local reports said that Hamas was considering shutting the border in protest.
Gaza crossing opens for limited goods
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Three-hundred truckloads of goods were slated for import Thursday into the Gaza Strip, Israeli crossings officials told their Palestinian counterparts. The last shipment before the weekend will supply the commercial and humanitarian sectors serving Gaza’s 1.6 million residents, but it falls short of pre-siege levels by nearly 60 percent.
Aussie surgeons to give Gaza girl ears
ABC TV 2 June — Towards Hope, a fledgling charity in Melbourne, has brought five-year-old Malak Al Ghoul across to potentially restore some hearing. Life in the Gaza Strip is hard enough, but especially so for those with a disability; Malak, one of triplets, was the only one born with a congenital condition called microtia …It was an arduous logistical and bureaucratic task to get them to Australia, and a remarkable outcome for a family that had unsuccessfully sought help in Egypt, Israel and Jordan.
30,000 Turks protest against Israel on Gaza flotilla raid
Xinhua 31 May — Some 30,000 Turks staged a protest against Israel on Istanbul’s main street Monday night on the anniversary of the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Holding candles, waving Palestinian flag and flags of Turkey and Iran, and shouting slogans such as “wait Palestinians, Mavi Marmara ship is coming” and “blockade is crime against humanitarian,” the protesters marched on the Istiklal street, the most important and prosperous business street in Istanbul, and gathered in the Taksim square. The event was organized by the Turkish nongovernmental organization the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (IHH)
US: All flotillas provocative
Ynet 2 June — US State Department reinforces objection to Gaza-bound flotilla stressing ‘there are efficient mechanisms for getting humanitarian assistance.’ Spokesman: We’ve raised our concerns with Turkey,7340,L-4077318,00.html
‘We are unarmed and we are sailing’  – on anniversary of Mavi Marmara killings, US Boat to Gaza announces passenger list
New York, NY 31 May — Organizers of the U.S. Boat to Gaza announced today that they expect some 50 people will be aboard The Audacity of Hope when it joins the second “freedom flotilla” in late June to break the siege of Gaza. So far, 34 passengers and four crew members have confirmed that they will be sailing on The Audacity of Hope. They range in age from 22 to 87 years old and live in 14 states in every region of the U.S. All are committed to non-violence. Members of the press will also be on the boat … Passengers and crew will gather in Athens on June 21, 2011 in advance of the anticipated sailing date, which will depend on weather conditions and logistics.

Americans are joining flotilla to protest Israeli blockade
NYTimes 1 June — When an international flotilla sails for Gaza this month to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Palestinian territory, among the boats will be an American ship with 34 passengers, including the writer Alice Walker and an 86-year-old whose parents died in the Holocaust … Organizers said the new flotilla, scheduled to leave in late June from a port they would not identify, had at least 1,000 passengers on about 10 boats. One boat will carry Spaniards, another Canadians, another Swiss and another Irish.
Detention / Court actions
Hamas, Fatah leaders detained in West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli forces detained two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Hamas and Fatah blocs overnight on Wednesday, following raids on their homes in Nablus and Tulkarem, official sources told Ma‘an. Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader, a long-time proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, was taken from his home at 2 a.m., officials said … Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that An-Najah University professor Ghassan Thoqan was taken from his house in Nablus, as was Yasser Badersawi, the director of the Right of Return and Refugee Affairs Center. The [Israeli] spokesman confirmed, however, that Hamas lawmaker Abdul Rahmad Zeidan, also elected to the legislature in 2006, was detained from his home in Tulkarem.
Trial of West Bank protest organizer Bassem Tamimi to begin Sunday
PSCC 2 June — After more than two months in custody, the trial of Bassem Tamimi, a 44 year-old protest organizer from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, will finally begin Sunday. Tamimi, who is the coordinator of the Nabi Saleh popular committee, will plead not guilty to the charges against him. He will, however, admit to having organized demonstrations against settlement expansion and argue that it is, in fact, the Israeli Occupation that should be on trial.
Claim of swap deal raises hopes, ruffles feathers
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 2 June — A former Egyptian ambassador told a Cairo-based paper Thursday that 1,000 Palestinian prisoners could be released “within hours,” in exchange for the freedom of a captured Israeli soldier. The report sparked immediate reactions; hope from the families of prisoners, and swift denials from officials in Israel and Gaza. Finally, speaking to Ma‘an, the source quoted in the Egyptian paper denied the information, saying his comments were misrepresented.
Naksa Day
Lebanon seals off Israel border ahead of planned demonstrations
Haaretz 2 June — Palestinian groups are planning to organize a demonstration on Sunday near the Israel-Lebanese border to commemorate the naksa, or defeat [setback], of 1967, which saw Israel occupy the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula …The Lebanese army’s decision came after Israel warned Lebanon and Syria against allowing any naksa-related protests. “We shall use all means to prevent an attack on our sovereignty. You will be held accountable,” Israeli radio quoted a military source as saying.
Israel puts up barbed wire on border: Lebanon
MARJAYOUN, Lebanon (AFP) 2 June — Israeli soldiers on Thursday put up new barbed wire on the border with Lebanon, three days ahead of a planned Palestinian march, a Lebanese security official said. An AFP journalist at the scene saw the soldiers adding the wire on top of a fence already in place in the Adaisseh-Kfar Kila sector facing the Israeli town of Metulla.
Netanyahu: Israel will defend its sovereignty during planned border protests
Haaretz 2 June — Prime Minister says Syria, Iran behind Nakba Day mass protests earlier this month, adding that the same elements were pushing for riots in rallies scheduled for Sunday.
Activism / Solidarity
Palestinians plan mass fly-in
Ynet 2 June — Amid heightened tensions over the next Gaza-bound flotilla set to depart in June, pro-Palestinian elements are planning to send a large number of activists on commercial flights to the Ben-Gurion airport in the beginning of July, with the aim of showing solidarity with the Palestinians, embarrassing the Israeli government and raising awareness for the Palestinian right of return. A report published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center claims the organizers of the event believe the “end the siege” convoys are “too limited” and broader actions are needed to “remove the blockade from the entire land of Palestine.” … According to the organizers’ website, the date of arrival to Ben-Gurion airport is set on July 8,7340,L-4077266,00.html
Returning to Safed in shackles / Budour Youssef Hassan
EI 31 May — Much attention has been paid to the marches of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria to the borders with occupied Palestine, as well as the courageous protests at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank and in Gaza. But Palestinians inside what is known as the green line, Israel’s internationally recognized armistice line with the occupied West Bank and Gaza, marched on 15 May as well. We converged on the borders with Lebanon in a symbolic protest of the apartheid regime that has confiscated our lands, discriminated against us and attempted to strip us of our national identity.
Watch: Israeli Channel 2 (poorly) covers the protest in Nabi Salah / Joseph Dana
972mag 1 June — Recently, a popular Israeli news program visited the village of Nabi Saleh, just west of Ramallah, in order to investigate the demonstrations for an Israeli audience. They ended up producing half of hour of misleading Border Police testimonies while missing the fascinating story of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation inside the village.
Deir Qaddis protesters stop construction of new settler road
PSCC 31 May — Demonstrators managed to drive away bulldozers that cleared path for a road connecting Route 446 to the settlement of Nili though village lands — This morning, residents of the West Bank village of Deir Qaddis noticed Israeli bulldozers working on their lands near Route 446, apparently to pave a new road to the Jewish-only settlement of Nili. At approximately 1:00 PM, villagers accompanied by activists from nearby villages went down towards the bulldozers, who have already advanced a significant distance of a few hundred meters away from Route 446 and into the lands. The protesters approached the vehicles, blocking their path and disrupting the work. The contractor, in turn, started throwing stones at the people but was eventually forced to pull back the bulldozers back towards Route 446. As soldiers arrived, it turned out that construction was being carried out without a permit.

Kufer Malek to protest new settlement on Friday
PSCC 2 June — Roughly two weeks ago, settlers from the Kohav Hashahar settlement put up two tents on a hilltop belonging to residents of Kufer Malek and set up a new outpost. Despite repeatedly raising the issue with the Israeli Civil Administration, directly and through the Palestinian coordination office, the settlers remain on the land. The people of Kufer Malek, located 17 km north east of Ramallah, will protest the establishment of the new outpost tomorrow, together with Israeli and international supporters. The procession will set out from the village’s mosque after the midday prayer, and will head towards the seized lands.
A summary of the Move Over AIPAC 2011 conference
1 June — On Friday we kicked off our actions with a demonstration outside the White House, and participated in the Hava Nagila parody flashmob, which has been seen by more than 50,000 people so far! See it here. On Saturday we had the privilege to hear keynote talks from The Israel Lobby authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, renowned authors, and a stellar panel of analysts discussing the way forward. The afternoon featured great workshops.  Video coverage of Prof. Walt’s talk is now up on our website here. On Sunday we surrounded the AIPAC meeting at the convention center with chants, music and amazing visuals like the apartheid wall that turned into a Palestinian village scene and a human-powered flotilla to Gaza.  See a slideshow of photo highlights here….
Scottish councilor: Hamas are freedom fighters
Ynet 2 June — Scottish boycott leader backs Hamas, says equality and justice ‘words unknown to Zionists’; Councilor Jim Bollan tells Ynetnews terror group ‘elected with a bigger majority than the Israeli government’,7340,L-4077577,00.html
Extrajudicial executions
Blog: Ofers’ ships took Mossad agents to Iran
Ynet 1 June — Ships belonging to the Ofer Brothers Group docked in Iranian ports dozens of times over the past few years, allowing Mossad agents to enter the Islamic Republic to carry out secret operations, American blogger Richard Silverstein claimed on Wednesday. Silverstein recounted that Israeli secret service agents who were allegedly involved in the assassination of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last year escaped the emirate to Iran using ferries. “That always struck me as odd given Iran’s animosity toward Israel,” he wrote. “But if there was an Ofer Brothers ship waiting to take them home it wouldn’t be strange at all.”,7340,L-4077015,00.html
Political / Diplomatic / International news
US to give Israel millions for missile defense
Ynet 2 June — WASHINGTON – The US pledged record-breaking funding for Israeli defense programs Wednesday as Congress voted to add $235.7 million dollars in aid for the David’s Sling and Arrow 3 missile defense systems. The additional funding will also go towards additional Arrow 2 batteries, as well as the development of a system to defend Israel from outer space, against Iranian missiles.,7340,L-4077314,00.html
France presents plan to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
dpa 2 June — During Ramallah visit, France FM says plan largely based on Barack Obama’s speech last month calling for 1967 borders with agreed land swaps; Juppe proposes world peace conference in France in July.

Hamas in Gaza, Damascus spar over unity deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Senior Hamas figures are trying to play down a public spat between leaders in the Gaza Strip and Damascus over which base makes decisions on negotiating with Israel. Mahmoud Zahhar, a senior official in Gaza, and Izzat Ar-Rishiq, a high-ranking politburo member in Damascus, have spent years as party delegation members in and out of Cairo, trying to broker unity with rival movement Fatah.
Report: Clinton refuses to meet with Israeli FM
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — An Israeli television station reported Wednesday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had refused to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during last week’s OECD meeting in Paris … Channel 10 said Clinton refused the meeting because of her frustration with the Israeli government over the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying she holds Israel accountable. Lieberman, who lives deep in the West Bank in an illegal Israeli settlement, is against an end to settlement construction, or a return of lands housing settlements to Palestinians under a peace deal.
AIPAC praises US for boycotting UN racism conference
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — The pro-Israel group AIPAC praised the Obama administration Thursday for its decision not to participate in the UN’s commemoration of the Durban World Conference Against Racism. The event, scheduled to take place in New York in September, “unfairly singled out Israel” and “displays intolerance and anti-Semitism,” a US senator’s letter circulated in an AIPAC statement explained.
Israel spurs work on Egypt border fence
Ynet 2 June — The Defense Ministry vowed Thursday to spur construction on the border fence between Israel and Egypt, saying Israel hopes to complete it by 2012, a year ahead of schedule. The decision was made just days after Egypt opened the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai.,7340,L-4077368,00.html
Egypt reviewing timetable to resume gas exports to Israel
Haaretz 2 June — Gas flows from Egypt to Israel halted in April after gang attack on metering station in North Sinai; Egypt oil minister says working to achieve ‘fair, sustainable relationship between sellers and buyers’.

Other news
Knesset rebukes Israeli Arab MK for attending Hamas-Fatah unity ceremony
Haaretz 2 June — Ahmed Tibi rebuked for failing to obtain Knesset Ethics Committee consent before traveling to Cairo with funding from a Palestinian foundation.

Israel to use trees as missile defense
Ynet 2 June — The Defense Ministry said Thursday it was working on paving a “secret road” between Gaza vicinity towns in order to make it more difficult for terrorists to fire at vehicles … The new road passes between trees, which block it from view. Currently being paved with asphalt, it is 3.5 km long and has been estimated to cost around $1.3 million.,7340,L-4077534,00.html
Closing Gaza gap, Israel posts Iron Dome in Sderot
SDEROT, Israel (Reuters) 2 June  – Israel has deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor outside a Gaza border town that has borne the brunt of Palestinian shelling attacks, posing a new test for the fledgling system underwritten by Washington … Noting the recent ebb in violence along the frontier of Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza, Rubin said: “Let’s hope action by Iron Dome is not required. But as a rule, Israel does not bring systems that are not operational into a war zone.”
42%: Rabbis worsen conflict with Arabs
Ynet 2 June — Poll finds differences in perception of religion’s influence on relations between Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. Forty-five percent believe religion pushes nations apart,7340,L-4075335,00.html
Gaza official: Progress on smoking ban
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — As World No Tobacco Day was marked in Gaza, the Hamas lawmaker responsible for health policy said progress would be made in banning smoking in public places in the coastal enclave. The Palestinian legislative council passed a law forbidding smoking in public space in 2005, but it has yet to be fully implemented.
Foreign ministry, IDF at odds over Russia military attaché expulsion
Haaretz 2 June — …While the Foreign Ministry says Leiderman was responsible for getting himself booted out of Russia, senior Israel Defense Forces officials contend that the decision to expel the attaché was made at the highest levels of the Russian government and that its purpose was to send a message to Jerusalem.
Analysis / Opinion
Fear is driving Israelis to obtain foreign passports / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 2 June — More and more Israelis apply for a foreign passport, not for easier travel but because something has gone terribly wrong here … The foreign passport has become an insurance policy against a rainy day. It turns out there are more and more Israelis who are thinking that day may eventually come … Passports? If the Palestinian people already had one real passport, maybe the Israelis wouldn’t need two. If Israel were to try at long last to be accepted in its region, with all that entails, then maybe the region would open to it by means of a single, blue and white passport.

Pro & Con: Should the 1967 borders guide Israeli-Palestinian peace plan? / Mustafa Barghouthi
Yes. But the details matter: no conditions, no ‘swaps,’ no settlements … Our best West Bank land and aquifers would go to Israeli settlements in exchange for sub-standard land elsewhere. Already, Israel uses 80 percent of West Bank water resources and on a per capita basis Israeli settlers use approximately 48 times more water than Palestinians. The current unjust water distribution is likely to be made permanent if Israel keeps settlements, all of which are illegal under international law. Israel’s retention of settlement blocs and a military presence in the Jordan Valley will make our state noncontiguous and nonviable. Our state would be little more than disconnected Bantustans.
A Palestinian call to engage with the ‘Jewish question’ / Marzouq El-Halabi
972blog 2 June — The Palestinian discourse must  leave denial behind and engage seriously with the Jewish and Zionist questions. No more talk of the victorious and the defeated, victims and victimizers, but a new narrative shared by both sides of the conflict … I believe the Palestinians have avoided engaging with the Holocaust and its implications for fear it would detract from their right over the land and shake a central tenet of their narrative — that the Jews are not a people, that their arrival in Palestine was a purely colonialist development and that they, the Jews, are not the ultimate victim they believe themselves to be.
Time running out for two-state solution / Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH (IPS) 2 June — Time is of the essence if the implementation of a two-state solution to end the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to succeed. Changing demographics both within Israeli and Palestinian society could render this impossible, with a one-state solution the only feasible outcome. An eventual one-state solution, however, would lead to two possible scenarios. Either Israel would extend the franchise to all Palestinians in the occupied territories, which would lead to the end of Israel’s Jewish character, or Palestinians would be denied the vote and Israel would be officially pronounced an apartheid state. (listserv) (archive)

Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, Rest in Peace

Jun 02, 2011


and other news from the Arab uprisings:

Security forces attack Bahraini protesters
Bahraini troops attack anti-government protesters in villages near the capital, hours after martial law is lifted.
Men raped, tortured in Bahrain
BAHRAINI men have been raped, tortured with electric shocks and beaten by government security forces holding them without charge in recent weeks, The Times of London reports.

France 24 correspondent tortured for covering pro-democracy demonstrations
When Nazeeha Saeed, the Bahrain correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, was summoned to a police station in the city of Rifa’a for questioning at midday on 22 May, she expected to be back home two hours later and had no inkling of the nightmare awaiting her.

On arriving at the police station, she took a seat and waited calmly. Other women, mainly nurses, were also waiting, sitting on the floor. An hour later, she was called. She entered an office where there was a male officer. In a quiet but unsettling voice, he told her to answer the questions that would be put to her. He then left her with a female officer, who accusing her of “lying” in her reports and told her to admit her links with the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar and the Iranian Arabic-language TV station Al-Alam“You must confess,” the woman kept repeating, going on to accuse her of participating in the pro-democracy demonstrations that have taking place in Bahrain since March.  An hour later, she was taken to another office. There, a woman police officer mocked and insulted her. When Nazeeha ignored her, the policewoman grabbed her by the chin, held it hard, and slapped her with the other hand. “You must tell me the truth,” she screamed, continuing to slap her and then seizing her by the hair and throwing her to the ground. Four policewomen proceeded to slap, punch and kick her repeatedly. One of the women took her shoe and forced it into her mouth. “You are worth less than this shoe,” she said.,40374.html
Guardian Video: Bani Jamrah, Bahrain: Police ‘shoot at unarmed protesters’
Video posted on YouTube purports to show the moment Bahraini police open fire on unarmed protesters on Wednesday in the north-west village of Bani Jamrah.
Bahrain Shi’ites talk of abuse under martial law (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahraini Shi’ites say they have endured a reign of terror during 11 weeks of martial law imposed to break up a pro-democracy movement that for the first time threatened the control of a Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab dynasty.*
Bahrain halts demos as emergency rule ends (AFP)
AFP – Bahraini security forces were accused of using violence on Wednesday to halt an attempt by pro-reform protesters to stage new demonstrations, even as a state of emergency was lifted.*
Locked up for reading a poem
Bahrain’s security forces are increasingly targeting women in their campaign against pro-democracy protesters despite yesterday lifting martial law in the island kingdom.
Tanks, troops leave heart of Bahrain’s capital (AP)
AP – Tanks and soldiers left the heart of Bahrain’s capital as emergency rule was lifted Wednesday, but authorities warned they were not easing pressure on anti-government groups in the Gulf kingdom.*
Silencing Bahrain’s journalists
Lamees Dhaif tells Al Jazeera: “They can stop us from telling stories now, but they can’t stop us forever.”
Bahrain’s Dark Secret
As Bahrain is torn apart by protests and brutal government repression, Dateline gains access to investigate a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances.
U.S. yanks diplomat from Bahrain after he’s threatened
BAGHDAD — The United States pulled its human rights officer from Bahrain last week after he’d become the subject of a weeks-long campaign of ethnic slurs and thinly veiled threats on a pro-government website and in officially sanctioned newspapers. Ludovic Hood left the island nation Thursday. During his final days in Bahrain, Hood was given security protection equal to that of an ambassador, U.S. officials said.
US says diplomat faced threats in Bahrain (AFP)
AFP – The State Department said Tuesday that a US diplomat in Bahrain faced threats over his work in the Gulf Arab kingdom, a US ally, but denied reports he was brought home for his safety.*
Bahrain: Tough line remains on protest groups (AP)
AP – Bahrain’s Justice Ministry warned Tuesday that authorities will not ease pressure on anti-government groups after emergency laws are removed even as the nation’s king appealed for dialogue.*

Bahrain wary of protests before Formula One ruling (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahrain, eager for Formula One organizers to reinstate a motor race postponed after popular protests erupted in February, acted to prevent any unrest on Thursday after lifting martial law earlier in the week.*
Bahrain king calls for national dialogue
July talks “to push forward reform” announced day before martial law is scheduled to be lifted in the Gulf nation.
US Should Move Navy Base from Bahrain, Juan Cole
In the wake of the brutal crackdown by the monarchy of Bahrain on the largely peaceful protest movement this winter and spring, the United States needs to decouple from the small Gulf kingdom. Although the kingdom is lifting its state of emergency, distrust and tension remain high between the Shiite majority and the dominant Sunni minority.
Israeli defense official visits Egypt
Amos Gilad arrives in Cairo for brief visit, slated to discuss Shalit deal, opening of Rafah border crossing.,7340,L-4077238,00.html
Mubarak and sons to stand trial in August
Former Egyptian president and his two sons to go on trial on August 3 for graft and killing of protesters.
Mubarak’s sons have remands extended 15 days, and military summons journalists
The two sons of Egypt’s toppled President Alaa and Jamal Mubarak had their custody remanded for another 15 days over unfair means of accumulating wealth, Alarabiya reported on Monday.
Mubarak ‘too sick for jail move’
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is too sick to be moved from hospital to prison to await trial on murder charges, officials say.
For the first time since Camp David accords, US shows concern for fair trials in Egypt
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the United States hoped Egypt would ensure due process when former President Hosni Mubarak is put on trial in August.  “Obviously we want to see the rule of law,” Clinton told reporters, saying it was up to the Egyptians whether to try him or not.”  Did the US ever care about fair trials and rule of law during the Mubarak regime? How pathetic.
Egypt ‘reviewing’ timetable to resume gas exports to Israel
Gas flows from Egypt to Israel halted in April after gang attack on metering station in North Sinai; Egypt oil minister says working to achieve ‘fair, sustainable relationship between sellers and buyers’.

US still trying to bribe Egypt…Dispute Grows as Egyptian Gas Is Still Not Flowing to Israel
The gas deal has been an integral part of the two countries’ relations and has been supported by Washington. President Obama recently offered Egypt $1 billion in loan guarantees and $1 billion in debt relief on the condition that it meets its commitments. The United States has told Egypt that its security obligations in the northern Sinai are among its commitments, an American official said.

Ethan Bronner: marketing Israeli propaganda, daily
Read the end of this article.  Bronner actually devotes time and effort to justify the reduced prices at which Mubarak sold gas to Israel.

Meet Egyptian political sentiments
“A former deputy chief of Egypt’s court of appeals, Judge Mahmoud al-Khodheiri, recently expressed a common sentiment about the gas deal in an interview with Al Jazeera. “I consider the export of gas to Israel an act of treason, and we should stop it,” he said. “I salute the people who bombed the gas pipe because this is my blood that is being transferred to theenemy.”

Egypt: Admission of forced ‘virginity tests’ must lead to justice
A senior Egyptian general has admitted female protesters were forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’, which the government has previously denied.  The Egyptian authorities must bring those responsible for ordering or conducting forced ‘virginity tests’ to justice, following a senior military figure’s admission that the army subjected female protesters to them, Amnesty International said today.
Oh and by the way… ‘Virginity Tests’ On Migrants Ordered By U.K.: Report
Newly discovered documents indicate that the British government concealed how often it administered so-called “virginity tests” to female immigrants hoping to enter the country in the 1970s on marriage visas. The documents, unearthed by legal researchers Marinella Marmo and Evan Smith from Australia’s Flinders University, showed that the tests – meant to prove that women coming into Britain to marry were virgins – had been administered more than 80 times.
Egyptian army denies ‘virginity tests’
Egyptian military official denies comments saying the military had conducted forced “virginity tests” on female protesters in March.
Egypt’s Military Censors Critics as It Faces More Scrutiny
The military’s intervention concerns human rights advocates who worry that such efforts could undermine attempts to bring it under civilian control or investigate charges of corruption.
Egyptian army questions blogger and TV host
Move follows televised comments accusing military official of instigating abuses against civilians.
Hossam and Reem Follow up : A chitchat more than an investigation
Hossam El-Hamalawy and Reem Maged left the military prosecution with no charges what so ever, it was more of a chitchat meeting !! From three hours or more Reem and Hossam came out of C28 , the headquarter of military prosecution and according to their lawyers who attended the meeting , there were no accusation at all. Hossam Hamalawy was asked to report the incidents he spoke about in the show with evidence. Hossam did, already he went loaded with video clips , reports and testimonies on military police violations.
VIDEO: Workers seek higher wages in Egypt
Egypt has experienced a surge of industrial unrest since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February, as workers exploit new freedoms to push for better pay and conditions.
This is hilarious: Now Israel found evidence of Al-Qa`idah presence in Sinai
A day or two after the partial and restricted opening of Rafah crossing, Israeli propagandists (including the occupation’s prime minister) claim that Al-Qa`idah has suddenly made its way to Sinai.
The New Fath in the New Egypt
Fath leader, `Azzam Ahmad, tells Al-Masri Al-Yawm that Fath has never recognized Israel and that it will confront Hamas if the latter did.
Salafis in Egypt: link to Mubarak Regime
The brave Egyptian journalist, Muna `Ashmawi (the Cairo correspondent of New TV), did a report on New TV about links between Jihaz Amn Ad-Dawlah (Apparatus of State Security) and the Salafites in Egypt.  Such links have not been reported in the Saudi or Qatari Arab press, nor in the Western press.

Egypt denies Israel’s allegation of Al Qaeda presence in Sinai
Egypt on Thursday denied the presence of Al Qaeda members in Sinai, following charges by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that terror groups were mobilizing in the peninsula. “There are no members of the Al Qaeda organization in Egypt.
Lilian Wagdy, “Crossing Egyptian Military’s Red Line: Speaking Up against Military Tribunals”
A few months ago, just walking too close to the Military Prosecution Complex in Cairo’s district of Nasr City could have landed you in jail. But on May 31, the area surrounding the complex was the stage for a demonstration in solidarity with OnTV’s presenter Reem Maged, socialist activist and blogger Hossam El Hamalawy, and journalist Nabil Sharaf El Din. The three were asked to appear in front of the military prosecution following remarks El Hamalawy and Sharaf El Din made against what they said were military police violations against civilian detainees and what they saw as an ambivalent attitude from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) towards the revolution. . . . Although all three were released, activists say they will keep lobbying for the rights of thousands of Egyptian civilians who received swift and tough sentences by military tribunals and are now in military prisons. In doing so, these activists are, as well, increasingly challenging what the military establishment deems as its ‘red line’ asserting that the only Red Line in post-Revolution Egypt must be the Egyptian people themselves.
Adam Hanieh, “Egypt’s ‘Orderly Transition’? International Aid and the Rush to Structural Adjustment”
At the core of this financial intervention in Egypt is an attempt to accelerate the neoliberal program that was pursued by the Mubarak regime. . . . There are two common elements to all the financial support offered to Egypt to date — an extension of loans (i.e. an increase in Egypt’s external debt) and promised investment in so-called Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Both these elements are tied to Egypt’s implementation of structural adjustment. Strategically, it appears that the initial focus of this structural adjustment will the privatization of Egypt’s infrastructure and the opening of the economy to foreign investment and trade through PPPs (these are discussed below). In addition to the US government, World Bank and IMF, the other main institutional actor in this process is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). . . . Currently Egypt’s external debt runs at around US$35 billion and over the last decade the country has been paying around US$3 billion a year in debt service. From 2000 to 2009, Egypt’s level of debt increased by around 15%, despite the fact that the country paid a total of $24.6 billion in debt repayments over the same period. . . . Obama’s offer needs to be understood accurately. Contrary to what has been widely reported in the media, this was not a forgiveness of Egypt’s debt.
“V for Vendetta”: The Other Face of Egypt’s Youth Movement
“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea […] and ideas are bulletproof.” – From the film V for Vendetta
Into Egypt
Suheir Hammad’s new poem-turned-video is an artistic and highly stylized tribute to Egypt.

Samir Amin, “The Reactionary Bloc in Egypt”
Just as in past periods of rising struggle, the democratic social and anti-imperialist movement in Egypt is up against a powerful reactionary bloc. This bloc can perhaps be identified in terms of its social composition (its component classes, of course) but it is just as important to define it in terms of its means of political intervention and the ideological discourse serving its politics.

The Stunting Role of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces After the Revolution: Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mohamed Waked
During our trip to Egypt we had the fortune of meeting and interviewing a mumber of distinguished journalists, bloggers, and activists, as well as a host of other Egyptians from all walks of life. Our coverage of Friday, May 28, protests can be found hereand here. Today, we begin publishing the video interviews we conducted, starting with our own Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Mohamed Waked. Mohamed is a researcher and an activist who led and participated in the mobilization leading up to the Egyptian revolution. He was also arrested in the process by the Mubarak regime.
Philip Rizk, “Pity the Nation” (Video)
“Those who are making decisions, whoever they are, do not have the right to let local food consumption be determined by the international market. When Law 92 was introduced, the legal shield was taken away from the ‘fellaheen.’ Firstly, around a million tenant farmers were forced to stop cultivating, and the government returned the land to its landowners [without any rights to the farmers who worked it]. And now the market and the owner solely determine the rent price. . . . The Egyptian government now subsidizes large farms and the export of their goods, rather than supporting small farmers. We’ve moved from a situation where food security was based on local production of foodstuffs to a situation where food security is based on the constant export of everything that can be exported and the use of profits from this to import foodstuffs from abroad” (Dr. Habib Ayeb, Sociologist).
Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi quits
As the public grows more frustrated with the government’s performance, the official’s decision is meant to serve as an example to the rest of the bloated establishment. One of Iraq’s three vice presidents has quit the post, his political party said Monday, amid growing public frustration with the government’s performance nearly six months after most of its ministers were sworn in.,0,7232898.story
Iraq protest clouds loom (AFP)
AFP – Iraq risks a return to massive street protests when a 100-day deadline for progress expires next week, experts say, with no core issues having been addressed and a summer heatwave coming.*
Iraq: Protest Organizers Beaten, Detained
(Tunis) – Iraqi authorities have detained, interrogated, and beaten several protest organizers in Baghdad in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi authorities should stop the attacks and charge or release those being held, Human Rights Watch said. In Iraqi Kurdistan, a protest organizer, Isma’il Abdullah, was abducted, stabbed, and beaten on May 27, 2011.

Group calls for rally to liberate Shebaa Farms
June 02, 2011 01:44 PM BEIRUT: The Lebanese Resistance Movement called for a rally at Birket Naqqar in south Lebanon Sunday to “liberate” the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Report: Lebanon to close borderland
Border area declared closed military zone ahead of ‘Naksa Day’, which may emulate recent ‘Nakba Day’,7340,L-4077522,00.html
Gaddafi to send representative to OPEC
Libyan government says its delegate will attend June 8 meeting of global oil cartel after defection of oil minister.
Explosion rocks hotel in Benghazi
A large explosion is reported outside a hotel in Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in eastern Libya, with one rebel officer reportedly killed.
NATO extends Libya air campaign
Air strikes to continue until late September as Gaddafi officials complain of high civilian death toll in bombing.
U.S. concerned over Libya weapons reaching al Qaeda
ALGIERS (Reuters) – The United States has real concerns about weapons from Libya ending up in the hands of al Qaeda, the commander of the U.S. military’s Africa Command said on Wednesday. “There is a very real concern for all the regional partners, and the United States shares this concern, about the proliferation of weapons from Libya to other places, including those under the control of al Qaeda and others,” General Carter F. Ham told a news conference.
Qaddafi and Zuma Meet But Reach No Agreement
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa received a raucous red carpet greeting on Monday as he arrived in Libya for meetings with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Is Jacob Zuma Qaddafi’s only hope?
The South African leader is going to bat for Muammar Qaddafi after a bad couple of weeks for the Libyan strongman.
Muammar Gaddafi: I Will Not Leave Libya
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi is emphatic he will not leave Libya, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday after talks with the Libyan leader that left prospects for a negotiated end to the conflict looking dim. But new questions emerged over how long Gaddafi could hold on after a senior United Nations aid official said shortages of food and medicine in areas of Libya controlled by Gaddafi amounted to a “time bomb.”
Misurata’s residents remain resolute despite sufferings
Residents in Libya’s Misurata endure as months of unending siege have taken its toll on the population. But the longer the war goes on, the deeper the divisions may become leaves many wondering what kind of Libya will emerge after the last bullet has been fired. Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports from Misurata.
‘Evidence for the first time of allied boots on the ground’ in Libya?’
Armed western men have been filmed on the ground with rebels in central Libya in the first apparent confirmation that Nato has sent military advisers to train anti-government forces…. The westerners were seen by al-Jazeera on rebel lines late last week, days before British and French attack helicopters are due to join the Nato campaign. They are likely to be deployed on the outskirts of Misrata, from where pro-Gaddafi forces continue to shell rebel positions to the east….  The subject is sensitive as the UN security council resolution in March authorising the use of force in Libya specifically excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”
Morocco urged to end violent crackdown on protests
Moroccan authorities must not use excessive force against protesters, Amnesty International said today, as activists called for renewed pro-reform demonstrations  across the country on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia
The Lede: Saudi Activist Speaks for Herself
A Saudi woman who was detained for more than a week for driving released a statement on Tuesday, after she was allowed to leave prison.
Real News Video: Saudi Arabia and Western Hypocrisy
Madawi Al-Rasheed: Washington is calling the worst repression in the Arab world “evolving reform”
Protesters ‘killed’ in Syrian town
Crackdown in Rastan continues, as opposition conference ends with declaration demanding Syrian president’s resignation.
Syria must release all prisoners of conscience under amnesty
The Syrian government must release prisoners of conscience and take concrete steps  to stop grave abuses by security forces.
Syrian abuses are ‘crimes against humanity’
Human Rights Watch finds evidence of systematic killings, beatings, torture and detentions.
Syria Troops Pound Town WIth Artillery; At Least 43 Dead
BEIRUT — Activists say Syrian government troops are pounding a central town with artillery and gunfire, killing at least 15 people. The Local Coordination Committees, which help organize and document the country’s protests, said the deaths occurred in the town of Rastan Thursday. With the latest deaths, at least 58 people have been killed in the town in the past three days.
33 killed in crackdown in two Syrian towns
A government crackdown on two Syrian towns in the country’s centre and south killed at least 33 people, including an 11-year-old girl shot dead by troops during a fierce shelling, activists have said.
Video of Tortured Boy’s Corpse Deepens Anger in Syria
Images of the mutilated body of a 13-year-old boy apparently killed by security forces have become a focus of anger in Syria.

The story of Hamzah Al-Khatib: story of brutality of the Syrian regime

I will not reveal the name of the person in Syria who sent this:  “Hello guys: I went two days ago (on Monday) to Hamza’s home and heard the entire story from his father. The martyr went on the Friday 29th to break the siege on dar3a the father (65 year) said: ” he wore wonderful clothes… he looked amazing and he took some stuff to dar3a nd went with the rest of the families.. I heard the shooting later on and so then the dead and injured people.. I asked about him the people told me he was wounded and arrested.. he was taken by the bus.. we asked about him everywhere and nobody had an answer.. until somebody called his cousin who is his his teacher too, to say that there is a body for a kid in the morgue in Dar3a, the cousin went there and after staring in the body for 45 minutes he could be sure that this was 7amze (I don’t know how the Dunia TV recognized him immediately when they have no names) the doctor checked the body and wrote his report (the report is genuine) the doctor tried to find his penis inside the body coz he did not believe his eyes!! the body was then taken and buried and the police called the father and asked him to make an interview with the Syrian TV and he did but saying the entire story as it happened but they did not broadcast it!! the mother has now a nerval breakdown and I could not see her”.
The face of the Syrian uprising
The Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, appeared on state television last night to offer a general amnesty to protesters who have taken to the streets for the past two months to call for an end to his rule.

Syrian president issues amnesty
After weeks of massive media-censored protests, Assad grants amnesty to “all members of political movements”.
Syria opposition talks off to a shaky start
Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall reports from the Syria opposition talks.

Syrian Opposition Meeting in Antalya: Day Two
Both were impressed by the constructive nature of the second day. George Washington was not born, they conceded, but hard decisions were made. The Muslim Brothers and Islamists were under intense pressure to accept the notion of a secular government where religion and state would be separate. They resisted this most of the day but ultimately conceded at the eleventh hour. We do not have the statement or wording on this “secular” statement. But the MB accepted to not contest the separation of state and religion in the conference statement. I will publish as soon as I can get the wording of the conference statement.
“Dissipating concerns …”
were suspicious at first that some of the opposition exiles would advocate negotiations with Assad, something protesters long ago rejected. But after delegates jumped on chairs and chanted, “The people want to topple the regime!” during the welcoming reception, those concerns apparently dissipated (in Syria or in the conference room?). Many secular activists expressed concerns at the strong showing of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though Brotherhood leaders said they would not seek a prominent role on the committee. Some Kurdish groups boycotted, and a scuffle in the hallway between an Arab and a Kurdish delegate highlighted the tensions that could erupt among Syria’s diverse religious and ethnic constituencies if the minority Allawite-led government falls. Some delegates pointed fingers and whispered that others were beholden to the government, or perhaps affiliated with the loathed former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam, who fell out with Assad in 2005 but was not invited to attend…

Syrian opposition conference in Turkey
“I hope you are well. So, being Syrian and all, I was following the supposed opposition meeting in Turkey and from the get-go I find it fishy (I don’t know, maybe it’s the typical paranoia we all have). For one thing, I don’t trust the MB, nor any ‘activist’ who resides in the US (perhaps, I’m just closed-minded).  Anyways, here are some interesting things i found. here is the Wall Street Journal account of the events: Within this piece, our ‘friend’, Ammar Abdulhamid, is of course quoted: “The platform for us is agreed upon: to bring down the regime,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based activist. “Every single person here is in consensus on this,” he said, sitting in the corner of a hotel lobby where men huddled, women planned a fast in solidarity with their relatives in Syria, and children ran around wearing “Free Syria” caps and pins. Chiefs of Syria’s large Bedouin tribes roamed in traditional robes. “We know it’s a logistical nightmare,” Mr. Abdulhamid said. “But there seems to be a consensus.”  here is the Washington Post account: In it, there is this quote: “Nor do the delegates want the committee to assume leadership of the revolt on behalf of those protesting inside Syria. “This uprising is leaderless. No one can speak on behalf of the revolution,” said Radwan Ziadeh, one of the organizers and director of the Washington-based Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies.”The Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies has an advisory board, which is weirdly composed of a lot of white folks (Joshua Landis, whom I have issues with), and Patrick Seale….andAmmar Abdulhammid.  Perhaps I’m being too picky or reading into things, but there are so many dirty forces at work here and we (the Syrian public) don’t really have any true representative for the people (other than of course, the people demonstrating).  I hope to hear your thoughts.”
Syrian Communist Party (Unified), “Message to Communists of the World”
The Syrian Communist Party (Unified) issued a statement — which has won wide support among national forces — demanding the convening of a national conference of all political parties, including the national opposition inside Syria, representatives of trade unions and professional associations, intellectual, cultural, economic, and religious leaders, for dialogue and reconciliation. The task of the national conference is to reach consensus on a national program to put the country on the path to a comprehensive political, economic, and social reform which would help create a new democratic Syria under the rule of law, a state that guarantees public liberties for all citizens and for all components of civil society such as political parties, trade unions, and civic associations, a state that recognizes political pluralism and the freedoms of assembly and expression. . . . Our party has said that the Syrians have been aware of the shortcomings of their own internal affairs. They can also distinguish those who are demanding political reforms and social and economic development in order to strengthen the home front from those who are trying to exploit the situation to stir up strife that only serves the enemies of Syria. It has become quite clear that imperialist interventions in the internal affairs of Syria under the pretext of “democracy,” led by the governments of France and the United States, together with the British and German governments, are behind the mass media campaign against Syria, the campaign employing a number of Syrian dissidents in exile who have associated themselves with the US-Israeli project in the region. Our people take the threats to our country seriously and stand together in confronting them. The foreign plots thus will not succeed in changing the national policy of our country: Syria’s opposition to the US-Israeli project; Syria’s struggle to liberate the Golan Heights; Syria’s support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their land, to build an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, as well as for the struggles to liberate Iraq from the US occupation and South Lebanon from the Israeli occupation.
Kurdistan Commentary, “Syrian Kurdish Parties Boycott Syrian Opposition Conference in Antalya, Turkey”
In an article published in Asharq al-Awsat, a group comprised of 12 Kurdish political parties in Syria (National Movement of Kurdish Parties in Syria) announced that they intend to boycott the opposition summit. The group stated that ‘any such meeting held in Turkey can only be a detriment to the Kurds in Syria, because Turkey is against the aspirations of the Kurds, not just with regards to northern Kurdistan, but in all four parts of Kurdistan, including the Kurdish region of Syria.’ . . . Kurdish Leftist Party representative Saleh Kado stressed that ‘we, the Kurds in Syria, do not trust Turkey or its policies, and that is why we have decided to boycott the summit.’ Kado also said part of the reason for the boycott was the attendance of the Muslim Brotherhood. But other reasons have also surfaced. Two weeks ago the National Movement of Kurdish Parties in Syria announced its own plan to resolve the current crisis in Syria. The Kurdish initiative, which outlined a comprehensive plan for democratic change and fundamental reform at all levels, was largely ignored by non-Kurdish groups. Abdul Baqi Youssef, a leading member of the Kurdish Yekîtî Party in Syria, told AKNews that they do not know who supports this conference or what its goals are. Nor, he said, did the conference organisers make any contact with the Kurdish Movement during the preparations for the conference. This feeling of lack of inclusion in the process and not receiving any support from other opposition groups in Syria on its own proposal could also be contributing factors in the decision not to attend the Antalya summit. Additionally, not all Kurdish parties were invited to attend the conference either. Only five of the parties were asked to attend. They are: the Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria [KDP-S], the Kurdish Leftist Party in Syria, the Kurdish Azadî Party, the Kurdish Future Movement, and the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party [PDPK-S].
Syrian intellectuals in exile in Francs slams BHL
So this guy tries to do the act that he performed in Libya.  The reaction by Syrian dissident intellectuals in France was swift.  They asked him to butt out and they pointed out his Zionist track record and said that the Syrian opposition movements needs no support from his ilk.

Syrians are tired of Assad’s ‘reforms’
A new bill promising fair elections is not going to wash with Syrians – they’ve had carrots dangled in front of them too long. It is ironic that while Syria’s much-heralded general elections bill has been released for public feedback on several official government websites including Tasharukia (an e-government portal), the justice ministry’s website, the interior ministry’s website and the local administration ministry’s website, many villages that are now under siege by Syrian security services have no internet or telephone access.
Syrian Amnesty
So the Syrian regime has been saying for years that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization that has links with the enemies of the Arabs.  But yesterday the regime offered an amnesty for the organization.  This is like the regime lifting the state of emergency when the regime faced a real emergency.  This only means that the lousy Syrian regime would do anything to stay in power.  Are you aware that if you watch Syrian regime media you would not find one trace of the Arab nationalist ideology of the Ba`th Party? It is all Syrian nationalism along the lines of the vulgar and crude manifestations of Lebanonese Phoenician nationalism.  How pathetic.  I also read that Bashshar Al-Asad met with the family of Hamzah Khatib (tortured and killed by security services).   How could Bashshar not say one public word about the case?  The developments in Syria prove that when push comes to shove (here, I just used an American cliche), Bashshar can be as ruthless and brutal as his dictator daddy.
Regime suicide in Syria?,Issandr El Amrani
I really liked the column below, by Peter Harling in Le Monde, on Syria. It explains the uprising in Syria in two parts: first, a regime that once came from the provinces having, in its second and third generations, abandoned them and re-centered its economic policy on Damascus to the detriment of the provinces; and second, the return of a security elite that had previously been marginalized by Bashar al-Assad but that he is now relying on to repress the protesters. The conclusion: that Bashar probably does not have the clout or vision to dismantle that security core of the regime, and that the regime is headed for “collective suicide.”
Refugee camp attacked in Tunisia
Thousands of people who fled the fighting in Libya have spent weeks living in tents in neighbouring Tunisia – unable to return to their homes. But after local residents attacked, burned, and looted the Chucha refugee camp in southern Tunisia, many are once again struggling to find another safe haven.   James Bays reports from the Chucha camp.
In a changed Tunisia, dismay over an unchanged media
Many Tunisians who supported the revolution are dismayed by the continued presence of print and TV reporters who never challenged the status quo under former President Ben Ali.
Dozens killed in overnight clashes in Sanaa
At least 41 people were killed as street battles continue to rage in the Yemeni capital.
No sign of ceasefire in Yemen
Chaotic clashes in Sanaa and Taiz have been ongoing for days. Dozens have been killed, and scores more injured. Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reports from Yemen.
Yemen slides into civil war
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has retained control of Yemen for 32 years by managing the country’s numerous unrelated conflicts. Now, they are flaring up again – and appear to be beyond his control.
‘Fifty dead’ in Yemen’s Taiz city
More than 50 people have been killed in demonstrations in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz since Sunday, the UN human rights office says.
Fighting raises Yemen civil war fears
Truce collapses as forces loyal to the embattled president and opposition tribesmen clash in the capital, Sanaa.
Tribesmen seize government buildings in Sanaa
Street battles rage in the Yemeni capital while conditions in Taiz and Zinjibar remain tense.
Yemen’s Saleh cedes Al Qaeda hotbed to militants. Why?
President Saleh, increasingly embattled as civil unrest spreads and tribal leaders intensify their fight, says that Al Qaeda seized the capital of Abyan province. But residents saw no evidence of a fight.
Saleh: Suppressing opponents from within
In Yemen, president’s regime has long used torture as part of its “security apparatus”.
The Lede: Doctor’s Video Blog Offers a Window on Yemen’s Revolution
Speaking in English, and occasionally wearing a Harvard baseball cap, a Yemeni doctor offers a guided tour to the revolution there on his video blog.
Yemen in Flames
The political situation in Yemen continued to deteriorate on Tuesday. Since Sunday, 50 protesters have been killed by troops and security forces in the country’s second-largest city, Taizz. The government insisted on forcibly removing the protesters from their own version of Tahrir Square, which accounts for some of the casualties of the past two days, which include according to some reports hundreds of wounded.
Yemen: a map ruled by conflict
The movement to oust Ali Abdullah Saleh may not be able to save Yemen from its long-exploited divisions. Since the beginning of Yemen’s popular uprising in February, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been putting into practice his skilful art of “dancing on the heads of snakes”.

Yemen 101: Who’s who in the escalating conflict
As Yemen’s crisis escalates, President Ali Abdullah Saleh is battling opponents on multiple fronts who have diverse backgrounds and agendas. Here’s a rundown of the players you need to know in order to understand the unrest in Yemen.
Other News/Analysis/Op-ed
National security adviser worked for Israeli firm accused of Iran dealings
Yaakov Amidror, newly appointed head of National Security Council, worked with many Ofer-controlled companies; the Ofer brothers are uspected of illegal trade with Iran through subsidiaries registered abroad.
Iran Nuclear Scare Timeline Update XXXVII:Meir Javedanfar’s Continued Fear-Mongering and Shoddy Journalism
Writing this past weekend in The Guardian, perennial Iran alarmist and Israel defender Meir Javedanfar addresses the latest IAEA Safeguards Report on the Iranian nuclear program. He leads off with this hysterical attention-grabber…
The Young Conservative’s Hip Hop Guide to Muslims (Satire)
The Young Conservative’s Hip Hop Guide to Muslims is social commentary through satire on the gross, yet common misconceptions perpetuated about Muslim people. Cutaways to competing facts are provided to help fight ignorance and intolerance.

We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it

Jun 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Wow, this isn’t cool. This afternoon, an email informs me, “the NYC LGBT Center summarily cancelled all future meetings of NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid — and all queer groups organizing around the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

The Center claimed in a press release that it has been diverted from its “primary purpose of providing programming and services” by the protest and rhetoric around the question of meeting space. Here’s the announcement, passed along by Queers for an Open LGBT Center:

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center today announced a moratorium, effective immediately, on renting space to groups that organize around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The decision comes after months of divisiveness, protest, and heated rhetoric regarding whether the Center should rent space to two groups organizing around these issues. The Center has been forced to divert significant resources from its primary purpose of providing programming and services to instead navigating between opposing positions involving the Middle East conflict.

Knuckleheads. I remember the great slogan that’s in my headline, a slogan that I had to take to heart. Don’t these folks understand: navigating these positions takes time because people need to talk about them.

The night refuge

Jun 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Gideon Levy reports that 100,000 Israelis have German passports. More and more are applying for foreign passports. Hesays:

“If the Palestinian people already had one real passport, maybe the Israelis wouldn’t need two…. In an irony of history, Europe is in fact becoming a haven for Israelis.”

My headline refers to Herzl’s words favoring Uganda as a temporary home for the Jews, an escape from Europe. Though he dropped that idea under pressure. Thanks to Matthew Taylor for this item.

State Department blames flotilla participants for ‘risks’ they incur from Israel

Jun 02, 2011


This statement at yesterday’s State Department briefing is appalling.  Note how spokesman Mark Toner passively refrains from attributing agency.  They don’t want to see people harmed, but Toner says nothing about insisting that Israel not harm passengers.  It’s practically an acknowledgment that Israel will harm people and that those people have been warned by the US, so Israel can now have a free hand.

QUESTION: Israeli – Israel television’s Channel 10 is reporting that the Secretary refused to meet with Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman when they were both in Paris last week for the OECD events. Is there any truth to that?

MR. TONER: I don’t know, frankly.

QUESTION: Mark, sorry, about Israeli and Gaza aid ships. The Israeli military said it will stop new Gaza flotilla. Do you —

MR. TONER: Flotilla, yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah, do you know, flotilla. They said – and one of the reasons from last year’s raid was, they said, especially Turkey is waiting for apology and compensation. Are you talking to Israeli government? Are they going to intervene in international waters or in Israeli waters?

MR. TONER: I’m sorry, so what’s just – the question is?

QUESTION: Yeah. Israeli military says they will stop new Gaza —

MR. TONER: Who says?

QUESTION: Israeli military.

MR. TONER: Okay.

QUESTION: They said they will stop new ships, new aid ships, international —

MR. TONER: Right, right. Okay.

QUESTION: — flotilla. Yeah. Are you talking to the Israeli government? Are they planning to intervene these ships in international waters? Is it okay with U.S. Government? Or in Israeli waters?

MR. TONER: We have made clear through the past year that groups and individuals who seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that entail a risk to their safety. I think I’ve talked about this specifically. We’ve raised our concerns with the Turkish Government as well, and we’ve also met and said publicly as well as privately, meeting with some of these NGOs, that – about our concerns, about the risk for attempting to break this blockade. We want to just reiterate that there are established and efficient mechanisms for getting humanitarian assistance through to Gaza, and that’s been our message consistently. You’re asking me if we’ve raised it with the Israelis?

QUESTION: The Israelis, and if they’re going to intervene these ships in international waters (inaudible).

MR. TONER: You have to – I mean, I’d have to refer you to the Israeli Government as to what their actions may be if people attempt to break the blockade. Our message has been consistent, that there established mechanisms for getting humanitarian assistance into Gaza and that flotilla actions are indeed provocative, and we don’t want to see anybody harmed.

QUESTION: And you contacted NGOs, right, the special NGOs?

MR. TONER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you, Mark.

He wrote me back

Jun 02, 2011


After reading one beautiful hopeful sentence on a blog by a Gazan friend I wrote him and told him it made me cry.

You should not cry. The other day when my Dad returned back from Egypt carrying my 26-year old sister’s dead body along with him, and crossing from an Israeli checkpoint, an Israeli soldier asked him” Why do you cry?? All of us will die”! my Dad didn’t reply. This very soldier spared no effort to prevent her from getting medical attention outside Gaza so that she passed away. We should not cry, right?

Slaughter and Rubin say Syrians are brave. What about this boy raising a flag in Gaza?

Jun 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Annie sent along this video from Nakba Day protests at the Erez Crossing in Gaza on May 15, it’s pretty horrifying. Israeli snipers start shooting into the defenseless crowd of protesters at 7:00 or so (with Ken O’Keefe’s vigorous interpolations) and you see wounded young men being carried away. An American flag is shredded. But I would direct you to the flagcarriers at 11:50 or so– Two young men climb a pylon to stick up Palestinian flags. One of them appears to be shot as he climbs and falls inside the pylon. The second youth continues to climb the pylon to stick his flag up high. Could you do that? I sure couldn’t!

Last night on Eliot Spitzer’s CNN show Jamie Rubin formerly of the State Department and now of Bloomberg News and Anne-Marie Slaughter formerly of the State Department and now Princeton both praised the bravery of the Syrian demonstrators. “We’re seeing people with incredible bravery” –Slaughter. Rubin– “These are very very brave people.”

And Spitzer chimed in that Bashar Assad is as bad as Qaddafi. A comparison that surely reflects Spitzer’s unreconstructed viewof Israel as a beacon.

Have these folks even considered the bravery of the Palestinian protesters? Have they noticed how uncannily similar are the optics of this people rebelling against occupation and the optics of the Syrian demos? Really what is the difference? The Israeli regime has no legitimacy for the youth of Gaza, even less so that Israel’s snipers pick off defenseless boys, and the Syrian regime no legitimacy for the Syrian people…. Something’s got to give.

Pitying ‘Coldplay”s angry commenters

Jun 02, 2011

Eleanor K

It is easy to gloat at this smallest of victories – UK rock band Coldplay posts on their Facebook fan page a one-lineendorsement of the extraordinary single released by their friends, ‘Freedom for Palestine – OneWorld’. Within a few hours the post has attracted close to 2,000 comments, many congratulatory, others furious; in the Israel apologists’ threats and tantrums there is nothing new, but for the first time I found them pitiful, and I recalled the words of a Palestinian friend who insisted that he felt sorry for his Israeli oppressors, and how incredulous I was at the time.

Their desperation is almost painful to watch: ‘you just prove how COLD you can be!! shame on you and the whole anti jewish people!! freedon for palesitne equals freedom for rape, murder, terror and disturbed people. i hope all the israelis we join together and ban you as well as roger waters. AM ISRAEL HAI!!! LONG LIVE ISRAEL!!! THE ONLY VOICE OF PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!!’ and ‘this is a very very bad decision you maid to support teror groups in gaza and thinking that in throwing jews to the sea youll achive peace to the palestinians that are bombing busses killing babys’ (sic) – typical examples of the histrionic talkback, alternated with the odd pathetic attempt to patch it all up with a piece of frayed Israeli propaganda: ‘Israel is the only country in the middle east where arabs live with democratic rights.’

‎Our humanity rests on our ability to feel empathy for every victim of injustice, or fate – be they family or strangers; those who feel no pity in the presence of grotesque suffering are deserving of pity themselves. Here is a young generation of Coldplay fans whose confused and angry responses reveal them to be psychologically damaged by an aggressive ideology. Their wretched ignorance of the historical facts and present realities of Israel – of the dispossession, violence and apartheid that are the origins and consequences of decades of brutal military occupation and settlement of an indigenous people’s land – exposes them to ridicule and leaves many clinging to a flimsy, fictional narrative of ongoing Jewish victimization in ‘Eretz Yisrael’.

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