Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


From London to Jenin: Paying for the sins of their sons

Aug 16, 2011

Paul Mutter

If your children take part in civil unrest, you will lose your home. And if you can’t find a new home, well, then you “should have thought about that before.”

The Occupied Territories?

Actually, London. It’s the latest response from the Conservative government to the2011 UK riots that have shook the nation. Councils that oversee public housing (called “council estates”) in the UK will be able to evict proven rioters. Parents of minors who took part in the riots will be held responsible for their children’s actions. Just today, South London’s conservative Wandsworth council launched eviction proceedings against a mother whose son was charged in connection with the riots — and bully for them, according to the British PM, who recently stated that the riots were ultimately caused by “a lack of proper parenting,” a “moral collapse” of a “sick society.” (Not unlike how the “why are there teenage suicide bombers?” debate goes).

Reading The Guardian, we can see that it’s being done for similar reasons as it has been done is the Occupied Territories. The real purpose is not really to discourage future violence (suicide bombing in Israel versus looting in the UK) but to deny the reality that ignited that violence, and to deny that an “undesirable” population has a right to occupy what space it has managed to obtain and to make room for more a more “desirable” population:

Like the similar proposals for taking away housing benefit from miscreants, it is based on an inability to imagine what poverty is like, to think for a second what might happen to a family when it loses its income or its home. Given that the riots were largely concentrated in areas where extreme wealth and poverty rub up against each other . . . it shows the total mutual incomprehension that we have for our literal neighbours. On another level it is of dubious legality – for a council tenancy to be rescinded, the tenant has to have been convicted of an offence on or near the premises, not always the case in these highly mobile riots; and given that so many of the rioters were minors, their parents will be those being evicted. There’s a term for this – collective punishment. It is illegal under international law.

It fits very neatly, however, into a wider agenda on public housing, which is already an emergency remnant of a once-proud institution. The coalition sets time limits on council tenancies and freezes the already meagre levels of social housebuilding; Labour councils embark on massive demolition programmes of large estates and their replacement with developer-led mixed private and supposedly affordable estates.Both have much the same effect – removing the “undeserving” poor from highly profitable inner-city sites.

This is an intensification of that already existing agenda . . . . It will make our cities even more Balkanised and unequal, and it will make the young even more dispossessed and angry. Brutal as these proposals may be, they are hardly inconsistent. Like the long-predicted riots themselves, they have not come out of the blue.

Gross inequality just a few blocks apart. A government expanding housing options for a more select group of people. Collective punishment. Indeed, none of this is inconsistent. Or out of the blue. Just ask a Palestinian.

Insider (Jewish) baseball

Aug 16, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Not too often we get to write about baseball around these parts, but it’s the dog days and the recent revelation that the famous (or infamous, see above) Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca is actually Jewish has sent reverberations through the Jewish and baseball blogsphere. Although the lifelong Roman Catholic has just found out at 85 that his mother was Jewish, some Jewish writers are chomping at the bit to stake a Jewish claim on baseball history. Writing in Tablet, Marc Tracy takes the predictable tribalist route claiming the news further confirms “Jews’ sneaky centrality to American mass culture and the all-powerful branch of it called sports,” while Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin writes “Jewish or Not, the Pitcher Was a Mensch.” Roberto Baly (at the Dodger blog Vin Scully is My Homeboy) has a more interesting take:

From a family historical perspective, it’s great to know your roots. I get it. I understand. What I dislike is when religious groups claim one of their own. Jewish leaders get all happy when Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a dinger and he’s not even Jewish. Or like his mom says, “where were they before?”. The “Hebrew Hammer” is not that Hebrew.

My dad is Jewish. His parents are from Turkey. From Turkey they went to Cuba. From Cuba, they came to the U.S.A. My mom is from Mexico and is Catholic. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings and should love each other.

Baly points to a 2007 Nate Bloom article in the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix that looks at the phenomenon of Jews celebrating Jewish athletes, even when they’re only vaguely Jewish. This certainly resonates with me. I was raised on stories of Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax (probably the closest thing to a Jewish saint in my house for refusing to play on Yom Kippur), and there were often debates overwhether certain athletes were Jewish. As a kid, Jewish athletes were presented to me as a great oddity and perhaps our greatest accomplishment. While in retrospect the astonishment over Jewish athleticism seems to reflect an internalized anti-Semitic assumption of Jewish wimpyness, the stories I was raised with always mixed a certain ‘David & Goliath’ spirit of beating “them” at their own game with a dose of Jewish moral exceptionalism (“If Sandy Koufax could miss the World Series to go to synagogue what excuse do you have?”). Bloom says it well:

The existence of top-flight Jewish athletes is a counterpoint to the stereotype that Diaspora Jews have concentrated on the life of the mind to the exclusion of physical excellence. An athlete is a far cry from the stereotypical bookworm “ghetto Jew” getting by on his wits rather than taking on the world of anti-Semites with his fists.

But none of this excuses the lengths to which many Jewish sports fans and Jewish media will go to prop up the religious and ethnic bona fides of an athlete with a trace of Jewish ancestry.

Well Baly and Bloom might not have to worry, not all Jews seem excited about welcoming Branca into the community. Maybe it’s because he was on the losing end of the most famous play in baseball history, but according to an article in today’sNew York Times the Dersh doesn’t want anything to do with him:

“Ralph Branca is not a Jew,” said Alan Dershowitz, a Brooklyn-born Dodgers fan, lawyer and Harvard professor. “Whatever the definition, it doesn’t include someone who willingly accepted a different religion. He didn’t stay home on Yom Kippur like Koufax.” (Koufax, of course, knew he was a Jew.)

Dershowitz, in fact, theorized that Branca, to his eyes as a boy, did not pitch “Jewishly.”


“Koufax altered strength and guile and knew that you pitch for six days and you rest on the seventh,” he said. “Branca was straight-on; you could see there was nothing Jewish about Ralph Branca.”

Looks like the exceptionalism lives on.

Israel adds 227 homes to Ariel settlement and the US is ‘deeply troubled’ (which translates as ‘go right ahead’)

Aug 16, 2011


Israel approves 227 new homes in West Bank settlement of Ariel
[Google Earth map] AP/Haaretz 15 Aug — Defense Minister Ehud Barak okays largest housing project in single settlement since establishment of the Netanyahu government … Barak authorized the construction in Ariel, the core of the settlement bloc deepest inside the West Bank. One hundred of the apartments will house Israelis evacuated in 2005 from a Gaza Strip settlement. The new housing units are set to be built in Ariel’s Noyman neighborhood. 100 homes are intended for evacuees of the Gaza settlement of Netzarim, while the rest of the housing units are set to be sold freely. The building permits for the homes were handed out a while ago, but marketing the lands to contractors was delayed due to diplomatic considerations until now.

US: Israeli construction in Ariel ‘deeply troubling’
Reuters 15 Aug — White House joins Palestinian criticism of Israel’s plan to construct 277 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The United States said on Monday it found reports of fresh Israeli settlement building plans deeply troubling and counterproductive to the U.S. effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Earlier on Monday, the Palestinian leadership sharply criticized Israel. Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Abbas, told Reuters: “This act is condemned and is an Israeli attempt to obstruct and destroy what is left of any effort to revive the peace process. “Once again, these Israeli settlement measures represent a strong reason calling on us to go to the United Nations and the Security Council to request membership for the State of Palestine and to halt these Israeli measures,” he said.
And more news from Today in Palestine:

Video: Land reclamation project in Bil‘in after the resiting of the Apartheid Wall
10 Aug — Following the resiting of the Apartheid-Annexation Wall in Bil‘in and the consequent return of 800 dunums (some 200 acres) to the village last June, hydrologist and project manager with the Palestinian NGO Palestinian Hydrology Group Abdul Raouf Abu Raheh explains the current situation in his village and his plan to alleviate the poverty of 20 of Bil‘in’s poorest farmers by constructing water cisterns on the returned land and providing seed, fertiliser and seedlings to them.
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Increased Palestinian displacement as Israeli settler violence intensifies
AIC 15 Aug — As dozens of Israeli MKs petition Netanyahu to endorse increased settlement construction in the West Bank to address the Israeli housing crisis and the surrounding tent protests, Israeli settlement policy continues to perpetuate a housing crisis of a very different sort in the Palestinian territory.Over the past seven months, nearly 900 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, as opposed to 606 during the whole of 2010. 755 of those were displaced due to home demolitions, while the remaining 127 were forced from their homes due to settler violence … While settlers are burning Palestinian crops, damaging property, and throwing rocks at shepherds and children, the Israeli government is using a system of permitting processes, military zones, and fines to prevent Palestinians from establishing any structural claim to their own land.
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Israeli settler violence report, May-June 2011
AIC 15 Aug — By Ahmad Jaradat & Nikki Hodgson — During the months of May and June, settler attacks against Palestinian civilians continued, with most of the attacks targeting agriculture land in the northern West Bank. The attacks, including damage to agriculture property, burning of olive trees and destruction of wheat crops, appear to be systematically targeting land near settlements, and many Palestinian farmers fear that the settlers are organizing attacks in order to confiscate land for the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.  Numerous attacks also occurred in Hebron, resulting in at least three Palestinians needing medical attention, including a six-year-old boy. Details:
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Israeli forces
Israeli soldiers prevent Palestinians from accessing drinking water near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 15 Aug — Israeli soldiers Monday prevented Palestinians living in al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, from accessing and obtaining drinking water from the nearby water spring, said security sources.  Three Israeli military vehicles set up a checkpoint at the camp entrance and prevented the Palestinian residents from reaching the spring.
In a related matter, Israeli soldiers raided several neighborhoods in Hebron and towns near the city, set up several checkpoints for “security reasons” and stopped Palestinian vehicles, which obstructed movements.
Israeli soldiers also fired gunshots and flares at dawn in al-Layyeh area in Edna, a town west of Hebron, under the pretext of military training.
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Kfir Brigade commander who condoned violence promoted
Ynet 15 Aug — Former Kfir Brigade Commander Itai Virob, who condoned violenceagainst Palestinians during operational activities in his testimony in military court, will be promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, and will serve as chief officer of the infantry and paratroopers.
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4 indicted in PA smuggling, bribery case
Ynet 15 Aug — Police Investigations Unit files indictment against Border Guard officer, 3 others for taking bribes, endangering public by allowing PA trucks into Israel with unchecked cargo
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Living hell in Tel Rumeida / Alessandra Bajec
[photos] PNN 15 Aug — …Guiding me along the path, Hashem stopped before the access to his house noting that, between 2000 and 2007, that passage was totally blocked by military order forcing him to go via a steep climb in order to reach his home. While his wife was pregnant, Hashem had to carry her from up down that climb and put her in an ambulance to make it to the hospital. Four years ago, the main path was opened under some interesting circumstances. At that time, Hashem’s father had passed away, and holding a funeral there or inviting relatives and friends was sadly out of question, given the obstructed access to his home. Hashem then called on internationals and media to join his family and help, some of the activists were prevented to go but others managed. After carrying the father’s body down the steep path to the main street, Hashem and his supporters proceeded to a checkpoint where Israeli troops detained him for an hour and a half, and scanned the dead body. When Hashem was then let through the checkpoint, an electronic device rang and the soldiers ordered him to turn back, so he was held up for another half an hour and his father’s body was scanned again. One of the soldiers finally noticed the father had a watch around his wrist so, with the back of his gun, he destroyed the watch and also broke the bones of the dead body. Following that incident the Israeli army, to stop Hashem from filing a complaint against the soldier, ‘awarded’ him by opening the regular access to his home.
[long article, much of it nearly unbelievable – in any sane place, that is.]
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Center: Prisoner’s wife and child detained
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Israeli forces on Monday detained a prisoner’s wife and child in Ofer military prison near Ramallah, a detainees’ center reported. Suha Edeis was visiting her husband Tareq with their one-year-old child. Israeli forces suspected that was smuggling a cell phone into the prison for her husband, the center said in a statement. She was taken to Hasharon prison and will face court on Tuesday, the center said, adding that Israeli forces tried to take her child from her.
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Blind prisoner held in isolation at Ramle prison
RAMALLAH (PIC) 15 Aug — The Israeli prison authority has reached new lows in despicableness after isolating a prisoner who lost his sight after medical neglect by the prison administration. “Isolation amounts to a tomb for prisoners while they are alive. All necessities of life are missing, and we are being put slowly to death every moment,” the Palestinian Prisoner Society’s lawyer quoted Ahmed al-Maghrabi, another isolated prisoner at Ramle prison, as saying. The statement came after the prison extended the term of isolation of blind prisoner Obadeh Bilal until 8 October. Bilal, from Nablus, was first arrested in April 2002 and lost his sight as a result of a retina disease that went untreated in the prison. Before his arrest, his vision was intact.
Fasting prisoners not given food on time, says official
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 Aug — Israeli prisons administration in Etzion provides Palestinian prisoners with their only strictly ascetic meal at 10 p.m. during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims when they refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset, Monday said the Ministry of Prisoners. A ministry’s lawyer reported that the Israeli administration provides the prisoners with a loaf of bread, a tomato, a cucumber and a can of yogurt almost four hours after sunset, which sums up to nearly 19 hours of continuous fasting.
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Six taken, including 3 minors, in West Bank arrest sweep
WEST BANK (PIC) 15 Aug — On Monday morning, two men claimed to be wanted by the Israeli security were nabbed in random various military road blocks that were set up in Al-Khalil governorate. Several patrols were deployed in Al-Zahiriyya, south of Al-Khalil, and canisters were hurled by Israeli soldiers during the sweep.
A Jewish settler’s car was reported to have received damages after being stoned when passing by the main street near Al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Mount Hebron. Locals said Israeli forces went on a state of alert in pursuit of stone-throwers after several cars were reported to have been hit in the area.
On Sunday, IOF troops raided and carried out a widespread search operation in Al-Baqi’a village in the Jordan Valley. Locals said the measures targeted local farmers as the Israeli army uses the region to carry out drills.
In Jerusalem, undercover police officers arrested three minors in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan. Another 18-year-old was also reported to have been arrested while on the way to his home in Silwan’s Ain al-Lawza neighborhood.
PFLP leader: Prisoners should be on UN agenda
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — The imprisoned leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Monday urged Palestinian leaders to put prisoners on the agenda at the United Nations in September.  Ahmad Saadat, Secretary-General of the leftist faction, said the UN should recognize Palestinians detained in Israel as prisoners of war and protect them under the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions.
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Hamas ministry condemns Israel’s treatment of sick detainees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — The Hamas Ministry of Detainee Affairs on Monday condemned Israeli authorities for their treatment of sick prisoners. Detainee Zakariyah Issa, from Al-Khader village near Bethlehem, has cancer which has spread throughout his body. He is in a coma but Israeli authorities refuse to release him, ministry spokesman Riyad Al-Ashkar said. Al-Ashkar said medics at Soroka prison hospital had described Issa’s condition as “critical” and said his health was deteriorating. The ministry official said Israel’s treatment of detainees was becoming “more brutal” and that detainees must be treated as human beings.
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Palestinians: Fisherman injured by Navy fire off Gaza coast
Ynet 15 Aug — Palestinian sources reported that the Navy opened fire on a fishing boat off the Gaza Strip coast. According to the sources, a Palestinian fisherman was moderately injured in the incident, and was transferred to a local hospital. The IDF stated in response that the Navy fired a warning shot in the air, in order to ward off the boat.
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School building materials for Gaza don’t mean all children ‘educated for life’
Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza (World Vision) 15 Aug — As building supplies for schools and houses trickle into the still blockaded Gaza Strip, three months after Israel agreed to allow the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to bring in 100 million worth of building materials, the outlook for children here is still bleak and far from World Vision’s goal of ensuring all children are ‘educated for life’. The materials could mean 18 new schools and 1,200 houses for children and families in Gaza, yet an estimated 260 new schools are needed over the next three years to accommodate new students and to reduce or eliminate the need for the double or triple ‘classroom shifts’ that are commonplace in Gaza’s schools.
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Why Gaza doesn’t need Monsanto’s Wonder Seeds
Mother Jones 15 Aug — …So what are Palestinian farmers doing? According to The Guardian, they’re turning to a technology that has been proven to conserve water, recycle crop nutrients, and generate robust yields: diversified organic agriculture …Already, concrete steps are being made. According to The Guardian, Palestinian farmers are barred by the blockade from buying synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, which could be used to make explosives. All they have access from the import market is “fertilisers made from Israeli waste water run-off,” which is expensive—$200 per metric ton—and of “uncertain safety.” But a local initiative called Palestinian Environmental Friends (PEF) is generating a homegrown fertilizer from manure and crop waste collected from local farms. It costs just $100 per metric ton to make, and profits from it stay within Gaza. Farms are also solving the fertilizer problem by setting up closed-loop aquaculture/crop systems that recycle nutrients and generate bounties of food
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Paltel supplies to enter Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Palestinian officials said limited goods, including construction materials and aid, would enter Gaza’s sole crossing with Israel on Monday. Crossings liaison official Raed Fattouh said the southernmost Kerem Shalom crossing would open for 290 trucks, including four trucks of equipment for the Palestinian telecommunications company. Paltel faced an unprecedented 12-hour outage on Wednesday, which managers blamed on Israeli bulldozers striking several of the company’s cables underground.
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Gaza youth movement fears for missing activist
GAZA CITY (AFP) 15 Aug — Members of a Gaza youth movement said on Monday that they feared Hamas forces had arrested one of their leaders who went missing two days ago in the Palestinian territory. The Gaza Youth Breaks Out group said the man, identified only as Abu Yazan, had gone missing shortly after being called in for two separate interrogations by Hamas forces after his return from a speaking tour in France. They declined to give his name, citing the security of his friends and family. The 25-year-old was a founding member of Gaza Youth Breaks Out, which grabbed attention with its December 2010 manifesto condemning Hamas, Fateh and Israel, and calling for freedom, “a normal life”, and peace.
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Rocket explodes near Beersheba; no injuries
Ynet 15 Aug —  Video – A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area outside Beersheba on Monday. No injuries or damage were reported. Many residents rushed to shelters as a siren sounded throughout the city.
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Over 5,000 Palestinians flee Syria refugee camp in Latakia
AP 15 Aug — More than 5,000 Palestinian refugees have fled a camp in the besieged Syrian city of Latakia after President Bashar Assad’s forces shelled the city during a broad military assault to root out dissent, the UN said Monday.  UNRWA, the U.N. agency that aids Palestinian refugees, said the Palestinians fled after Latakia came under fire from gunboats cruising off the coast and ground troops attacking the city over the weekend. It was not immediately clear where the refugees were seeking shelter.
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Activism / Solidarity
Video: Iyad Burnat on Bil‘in’s resistance to the Occupation and Apartheid Wall
Retracing the route of the Friday protest marches and on the land regained by Bil‘in by the resiting of the Apartheid-Annexation Wall closer to the Haredi Israeli colony of Modi’in Illit, head of Bil‘in’s Popular Committee Iyad Burnat discusses the changing situation in his village, Israeli blood diamonds, CRH, Veolia and the terrible damage in murders, maimings and serious injuries done to his people in nonviolently resisting the Wall and occupation.
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VIDEO: Al-Walaja villagers rally to save oldest living olive tree from destruction by Israeli forces
IMEMC 15 Aug — On Saturday August 13, 2011, a show of nonviolent popular resistance occurred in Al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem. The Israeli army had mobilized in large numbers, anticipating the villagers’ weekly protest. They watched, but did not intervene as Al-Walaja landowners and supporters cleaned and pruned the olive grove that is slated for partial demolition and full annexation by the Israeli military … In addition to imprisoning 2,500 people inside a ghetto and separating them from their land, which is their only source of livelihood, the Israeli construction of the Wall in Al-Walaja is also slated to destroy the oldest living olive tree in the Bethlehem area, dated at between 3,600 and 4,000 years old … Abu Wajih’s sad face and story is told in this short clip [second video]. All but two of his olive trees will be behind the wall as will the old house where his wife was born and that belongs to his family.
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Flotilla captain wants to visit Israel
Ynet 15 Aug — The captain of the Gaza flotilla’s Irish vessel, who was expelled from Israel for 10 years, is asking to visit the country for the sake of “promoting peace.”  Shane Dillon was captain of the Irish ship in both flotillas … Sources in the Foreign Ministry, however, said that the chances that his request would be granted were slim. “The promises to promote cooperation between the peoples are insane, naïve, stupid and impertinent,” one source said.
Meanwhile, weekly protests against Israel in front of the embassy in Dublin have been escalating in recent weeks. Dozens of activists wave signs saying “Honk for Gaza” and make noise that disrupts the embassy’s work.
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VIDEOs: Israeli ministers promote racist vision for Israel – and Judaism / Gangreentv
Mondoweiss 15 Aug – -In June of this year, Israeli President Shimon Peres convened a conference in Jerusalem called “Tomorrow 2011“, which was attended by intellectuals
and industry leaders from all over the world. At one of the conference’s most well-attended panel discussions, two of the highest-ranking government ministers presided: Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman. The two Israeli ministers who spoke on the panel, Yishai and Ne’eman, made scandalously racist remarks. Yishai touted non-existent scientific studies that purport to prove there is a ‘Jewish gene’, echoing eugenics theories first proposed by the Nazis. Ne’eman then warned that Africans must not be allowed to convert to Judaism, and repeated the disgusting refrain that Jews who assimilate are perpetuating a second Nazi Holocaust.
VIDEO — Nurit Peled-Elhanan on Israeli textbooks: ‘I didn’t know I would fall on so much racism’ / Annie
Mondoweiss 15 Aug — Kelly James Clark interviews Nurit Peled-Elhanan on her new book Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education, to be released 22 Nov.

Prisoner swap
Shalit activists harass relatives of prisoners
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Dozens of Israeli protesters harassed a bus on Monday carrying relatives of Palestinian detainees to visit Ramon prison in Israel, witnesses told Ma‘an. The bus was halted by a roadblock and then boarded by protesters who berated the families for what they deemed an illegal visit, detainee’s mother Um Muhannad told Ma‘an.
The Israeli protesters reportedly said that they consider all visits to Palestinian detainees illegal as long as captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is not allowed visitors. None of the Palestinian families were hurt and Israeli police arrived to prevent clashes, Um Muhannad added … Since 2007, Israeli authorities have suspended family visits for Palestinians from Gaza who were being held in Israel. According to the ICRC, in the past four years, over 700 families from Gaza have been prevented from seeing their detained relatives.
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Report: Shalit talks renewed in Cairo
Ynet 15 Aug — Al-Hayat reports Hamas military wing chief, Israeli envoy in Egypt for second round of indirect talks —  A second round of indirect talks between Israeli and Hamas teams negotiating the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit has been scheduled to begin Monday in Cairo, the London-based al-Hayat has reported. According to the report, the first round of talks, mediated by Egyptian officials, took place last week, effectively ending a lengthy stalemate.
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Political / Diplomatic / International news
National figures urge alternatives to UN bid
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — A group of well-known Palestinian figures released a statement on Sunday calling for Palestinian leaders to continue considering other options besides the bid for UN recognition in September. Writers, intellectuals, journalists, parliamentarians and civil society leaders signed the declaration which states that the approach to the UN “should not be an alternative, but a natural and continued effort besides all other possible options.” The statement continues: “We the signatories entirely see that going to UN Security Council is risky, and that there are huge obstacles facing the request for membership” of a Palestinian state at the UN
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Abbas makes Arab aid appeal, sees risk to UN bid
RAMALLAH (Reuters) 15 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday appealed for Arab financial support to help the Palestinians deal with “pressures and threats” from Israel and its allies which he said were a risk to his plan to seek U.N. approval for statehood in September. The Palestinian Authority faces a financial crisis which forced it to cut wages by half in July. Policymakers have identified a shortfall in Arab aid as the main cause.
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Abbas expects Bosnian support for Palestinian UN bid
SARAJEVO (AFP) 15 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas was “very satisfied” Monday with meetings in Bosnia, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to seek support for the Palestinian bid for UN membership. “I was very satisfied with two meetings… We expect all the support from them [the Bosnian authorities] as they told us and we believe [them],” Abbas told journalists after his meeting with Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj.
He would not say if he was specifically promised Bosnian support for their UN membership bid.
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Palestinian Christian leaders call upon Honduras to recognise Palestinian state
Bethlehem (PNN) 15 Aug — …The message was delivered in a letter to the Honduran Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati, signed by the mayors of Bethlehem (Dr. Victor Batarseh), Beit Jala (Raji Zeidan),  and Beit Sahour (Hani Hayek) as well as members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Fayez Saqqa and Fouad Kokali and the head of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Samir Hazboun … The letter included background information on Bethlehem district saying “We have control over less than 14% of our district. The rest has been occupied for the expansion of illegal settlements and Israeli military bases…” The letter concluded by inviting the Honduran Foreign Minister to spend the first Christmas in the independent state of Palestine this year.
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Gaza wounded issue demands to Palestinian Authority
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — A group of Gaza residents wounded during the second Intifada demanded Monday that their status and rights be recognized by the Palestinian Authority. In a press conference held in Gaza, the group demanded that the Ramallah government recognized them as the “Second Intifada wounded,” a status applied to those injured in the West Bank. They also demanded that their physical and social needs be met as stipulated in the Palestinian constitution.
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Palestinians gather to call for Assad departure
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — Hundreds of Palestinians streamed into the streets of Ramallah on Sunday evening to demand Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad stand down. The mass demonstration in support of the Syrian people came hours after news broke of Syrian military shelling the port city of Latakia, killing 26. Human rights groups said Palestinians living in a refugee camp in the district of Ramel were among the dead.
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Egyptian army detains 6 in Sinai
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — The Egyptian army carried out a series of security raids in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish early Monday, detaining six men suspected of affiliation to an extremist group. Egyptian security sources told Ma‘an that the military has a list of 15 men wanted for membership of Al-Qaeda style-organization “Army of Islam” in El-Arish. The six apprehended overnight are suspected of trying to establish an Islamic emirate in the Sinai peninsula, and were taken to the Security Directorate in northern Sinai for questioning. The sources said the army also has a list of 17 people wanted in the border town of Rafah, abutting the border with the Gaza Strip. That list includes seven Palestinians affiliated with the “Army of Islam” through a Gaza group Jaljalat (Thunder).
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Other news
Palestinian teen killed on Israeli construction site
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 15 Aug — A 15-year old Palestinian construction worker was killed after falling from scaffolding on a building in Israeli village Tzur Hadasa, Israeli news site Ynet reported Monday. A survey by the Palestinian statistics agency in early 2011 said 11 percent of Palestinian workers are employed inside Israel or Israeli settlements.
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MP Abu Juhaisha: 800 orphans threatened with loss of shelter
AL-KHALIL/HEBRON (PIC) 15 Aug — MP Mohammed Abu Juhaisha has warned that 800 orphans in Doura orphanage were threatened with losing their shelter due to lack of funds. The lawmaker appealed in a statement on Monday to benevolent people and concerned parties to rescue the shelter from collapse. He said that 300 poor families were depending on financial assistance paid by this society in addition to 47 employees, who have no other salary. The MP expressed surprise at the fact that allocations for the society were not paid since 30/11/2010, which threatened an acute financial crisis threatening the livelihood of hundreds of orphans and needy families.
Appeals court lets contractor’s family sue Palestinian Authority over his death
FoxNews 15 Aug — An appeals court ruling allows a case to proceed against the Palestinian Authority by the family of a contractor killed by a roadside bomb while providing security to State Department employees during an October 2003 trip to the Gaza Strip … The decision overturns part of a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of the PA. “Although we agree with the district court that the family’s conspiracy claim theories are too speculative to survive summary judgment, we believe a reasonable juror could conclude that Palestinian Authority employees provided material support to the bomber,” reads the ruling.
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Analysis / Opinion
Israel will use Palestinian UN bid to restore status quo / Akiva Eldar
Haaretz 15 Aug — Even MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union ), the professor of the extreme right, is not particularly upset by the fact that the United Nations General Assembly may recognize a Palestinian state. He sees no legal difference between the decision that is expected next month and the decision that was made there – with a huge majority of 104 to 2 – following the Palestinian declaration of independence in Tunis 22 years ago. And to be honest, what is the difference? This time, too, Israel will accuse the Arabs of unilateral steps, ignore the United Nations, expand settlements in the West Bank, and build more neighborhoods for Jews in East Jerusalem.

The freedom-seekers America ignores / Rashid Khalidi
Salon 14 Aug — With Washington’s bipartisan blessing, Israel is sabotaging a Palestinian plea for U.N. recognition … Today, the PLO proposes that the United Nations recognize a state within the 1967 borders whose creation has already been preempted by systematic Israeli actions that were intended to prevent just such an outcome. President Obama, Congress and other unwavering supporters of Israel insist that the Palestinians refrain from seeking a U.N. resolution recognizing such a state and that they can only accede to statehood through negotiations with their occupier and tormentor. In this regard, it is worth recalling further the events of 1947-48. Then no one demanded that the Jews in Palestine refrain from going to the U.N., that they negotiate with the Palestinians or jump through any other hoops in order to obtain statehood: indeed, their state obtained its legitimacy through a General Assembly resolution (the 1947 partition decision), and in 1949 was accepted as a member state by the General Assembly, just as the PLO currently proposes to do.
‘Israelis must join Palestinian cause’ 
PressTV 14 Aug — “The struggle in Israel that is emerging amongst Jewish masses will not move forward beyond this unless it finds its way to link up with the Palestinian struggle and with the Arab masses,” said Ralph Schoenman, political analyst and author of the Hidden History of Zionism, in an interview with Press TV on Sunday. Shoenman said the uprisings in the region are “against country-selling regimes that oppress and exploit on behalf of imperialism and are linked to Israel itself.” “There is a tiny little oligarchy that is in control of the wealth; something like ten families in reality in the Zionist settler state,” Shoenman added.
link to (listserv) (archive)

Glenn Beck: Russo-Cuban AFL-CIO Islamist Israelis occupying Tel Aviv?

Aug 16, 2011

Paul Mutter

Glenn Beck, the great priapic hope of Christian Zionist fundamentalism, has barely been in Israel for 48 hours — and he’s already solved the problem of Israel’s creeping Islamosocialism.


You know, the tent protests.

Beck arrived in Israel on Sunday morning to begin preparing for his big Pillar of Firepep-rally on August 24th. A lesser pundit would no doubt use this time to take in some sites or idly eat hummus while drifting on the Dead Sea and waiting to be bungeed up to heaven on the wings of the Messiah. But Beck’s a man of action, atruth-teller, and by Monday, he and his lackey sidekicks, Steve Burguiere (aka Stu) and Pat Gray, had successfully sniffed out and exposed their first conspiracy, the dark, twisted, hard-left-socialist-radical motives of Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard protesters.

How did they know?

The Google, of course.

Burguiere (reading from his laptop): They’re obviously from the hard left, and they have a list of demands.

Beck: What makes you say that?

Burguiere: Because I’ve read their list of demands.

Beck: What are their list of demands?

Burguiere: Number one, increase personal tax brackets for top earners.

Beck: Oh, so hate the rich.

Burguiere: Enshrine the right to housing in the law!

Beck: There you go, that’s a good idea. That worked out well for the Soviets.


Beck: It’s all grassroots . . . It’s got to be . . . Why even look to see if left-wing global financing is involved there?

The Rothschild Conspiracy doesn’t end there either. Reading carefully from their dog-eared copies of The Protocols of the Elders of the Soros Foundation, Beck and co. manage to not only compare the Israeli protesters in Tel Aviv to the Soviets, (presumably the “progressive puppet master” George Soros is behind it all), the Cubans and the AFL-CIO, but also “the Islamists”:

Beck: Do not look to see if there’s any kind of Islamist movement that is joining them.

Burgiere: That’s not possible. The Left and Islamic extremists hate each other. They hate each other!

Beck: They hate each other! Socialists and Islamicists never get together!

Except for when they did during the Cold War, remarks Beck (he was beingsarcastic, in case you couldn’t tell)! Yes, apparently, Nasser, Ghaddafi and Arafat, among other Cold War Arab leaders he does not allude to, are all Islamicists (he also throws in the infamous “Nazi Mufti” Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Nazis being National Socialist after all). At least he didn’t play the Utoya card again . . .

Thankfully, Beck & Friends have just the antidote to all this radical Islamo-leftist co-conspiring: more settlements!

Glenn Beck: You know what thing about Israel is? There’s no land! There’s no undeveloped land there. At all!

Burguiere: That would be a way to lower rents, wouldn’t it if you increased development . . . ?

Beck: Just develop! But wouldn’t that be weird, especially in Judea[pronounced “JEW-dea,” according to Beck] and Samaria?

Jew-dea, Islamists, AFL, rent control, the “Nazi Mufti” — who else besides Glenn Beck could knit them all together? And yet, Beck may wish to take a break from his devil’s game of blaming everything on “the international Islamocommunistconspiracy” to actually read the instructions for a real devil’s game he so conveniently ignores.

Shorter JINSA: if you vote for a Palestinian state, you’ll lose yours

Aug 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

Honduras and others countries leaning toward support of the UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Statehood] should bear in mind that their vote may pave the way for a redrawing of the Latin American map.

from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

Headline from Annie! P.S. I believe that the Israel lobby would sacrifice anything to preserve Israel as it is. For instance, Egyptian freedom; the U.S. should support a dictator for 30 years+ in the name of stability for Israel. Or Palestinian freedom in Gaza and the West Bank– again, steadfast American support for Jim Crow is preferable to endangering the Jewish majority in Israel. And remember that JINSA is the thinktank that Colin Powell said bore responsibility for helping to hatch the Iraq war; again, a disaster that some Israel lobbyists supported because they thought it would be good for Israel.

AJ spells it out: Israel’s housing shortage leads to internal tensions

Aug 16, 2011


Two important videos from Al Jazeerah explain the J14 quandary over settlements. “Cementing control of the West Bank…… is increasingly seen as a burden ordinary Israelis are no longer willing to take”

(Hat tip Friendlystranger)

Israel scores yet another own-goal in the destruction of its int’l image

Aug 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

From YNet— and picked up later by the New York Times:

Israel has arrested a Palestinian journalist who works for the Arabic language Al-Jazeera satellite network, and a journalists’ advocacy group says he is being held without charges.

Al-Jazeera said in a release issued Monday that 47-year-old Samer Allawi, its bureau chief in Afghanistan, was taken into custody on Aug. 10 as he tried to leave the West Bank to return to the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Allawi’s brother, Masab, told Al Jazeera that his brother carried a Jordanian passport, and that this was his first visit back to the West Bank since he left, in 20 years ago.

The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York said in a statement that Allawi has been detained without charges and called on Israel to clarify the legal basis for holding him.


Another crack in the wall: Senator Leahy wants to defund Israeli military units b/c of human rights violations in Gaza and W.B.!

Aug 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

Over the weekend, I linked the hugely important piece in the Nation by an investment banker and longtime ardent supporter of Israel and the lobby, who now describes the occupation as “apartheid on steroids” and I said, This is it. And this is it. The U.S. establishment is at last beginning to echo the criticisms of the disgraceful regime in that land that appear on this website all the time. TodayHaaretz has this hugely important report (hat tip Rick Congress) about what it says is a long-simmering initiative by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. When will it be on the front page of the Times? Will it make any difference? Let’s be positive. (Though notice the brilliant self-immolating Orwellian lobby passage from deep in the article, below). Barak Ravid:

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is promoting a bill to suspend U.S. assistance to three elite Israel Defense Forces units, alleging they are involved in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Leahy, a Democrat and senior member of the U.S. Senate, wants assistance withheld from the Israel Navy’s Shayetet 13 unit, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the Israel Air Force’s Shaldag unit.

Leahy says these units are responsible for harming innocent Palestinian civilians and that no system of investigation is in place to ensure that their members are not committing human rights violations. According to Leahy’s proposal, U.S. military assistance to Israel would be subject to the same restrictions that apply to countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan.

Here’s the irony:

The senior Israeli official said that the Israeli Embassy in Washington had been trying unsuccessfully now for some months to persuade Leahy to back down from the initiative…

If necessary, Barak and Leahy would hold another talk, the official added.


Chomsky: Many Americans rationalize ethnic cleansing in Palestine because we did it first

Aug 16, 2011


(Hat tip Antony Loewenstein)

Jon Stewart on the media blackout of Ron Paul

Aug 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

Pretty good. Notice Ron Paul’s antiwar message re Iran at 2:30 or so. Yeah, what about that? (h/t Mark Wauck)

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