Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


U.S. teargas in Tahrir– headline. U.S. teargas in Palestine–circular file

Nov 20, 2011

 Philip Weiss


U.S.-made teargas canisters, Tahrir Square, Nov. 20, by Maggie Osama


Tahrir, Nov. 20, KuwaitNews

Egyptian forces have used U.S.-made teargas against peaceful protesters–CSI gas, made by Combined Systems Inc., in the U.S. These photos show as much, and Salon reports: “Egypt uses U.S. teargas on pro-democracy crowds…By Avi Asher-Schapiro”:

This is not the first time CSI ‘s products have been used against Egyptian citizens.  During Egypt’s January revolution,  CSI tear gas was employed by the Mubarak regime against demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

Once again, a mainstream reporter fails to connect repression in one part of the Middle Eastw/repression of Palestinians.

Adalah-NY documented Israel’s use of CSI gas in Palestine against peaceful protesters,specifically in Bil’in, with lethal consequences. And it showed that CSI’s HQ in Jamestown, PAflies an Israeli flag. Adalah also connected its use in Palestine to Egypt and Tunisia, in this op-ed piece and in this press release.

Activists and lawyers: House bill to investigate ‘terrorist’ ties of flotilla is ‘tool of intimidation’

Nov 20, 2011

Alex Kane

us boat gaza

(Photo: US Boat to Gaza)

Palestine solidarity activists and human rights lawyers are decrying a Congressional bill that would investigate whether organizations involved in last summer’s thwarted flotilla to Gaza should be designated as “terrorist” groups. Critics of the House of Representatives bill see it as the latest in a decades-long effort to intimidate Palestine solidarity activists in the United States.

Introduced to the House on October 6, the bill seeks to:

direct the Secretary of State to submit a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization

The legislation also demands that the State Department, in the same document, report on

Any actions taken by the Department of State to express support and gratitude for the principled stance taken by the Government of Greece to prevent the recent Gaza flotilla attempt to violate Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza.

“It’s a tool of intimidation,” said Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who is involved with efforts to hold Israel accountable for flotilla-related human rights abuses. “It’s just one of the many ways in which there is an effort to suppress advocacy and dissent by international solidarity activists trying to advocate for Palestinian human rights.”

The bill is the first piece of legislation to target activists involved in the flotillas to Gaza aiming to break the blockade.  But it is hardly the first time the U.S. government at large has threatened to bring legal action against activists involved with sending boats to Gaza. As the second Freedom Flotilla tried (and failed) to depart from Greece and head to Gaza by sea, theObama administration repeatedly threatened to prosecute American activists involved by using the prohibition on “material support” to terrorists law. This was despite the fact that the cargo on the U.S. boat going to Gaza–3,000 letters addressed to the people of Gaza–was carefully chosen to avoid running afoul of the material support law.

Leading the charge to target groups like the US Boat to Gaza, which organized the American flagged Audacity of Hope, is Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In a statement posted to his website, Bilirakis explained:

Israel has been the victim of over 10,000 rockets launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. The United Nations agrees that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza is legal and in accordance with international law. Any illegal attempts to provide aid and comfort to these bad actors must be investigated.

Bilirakis was one of 81 elected officials to visit Israel on an ethically-questionable trip paid for by an AIPAC-connected group last summer. In total, there are 15 co-sponsors to the bill, which is currently in the House committees on foreign affairs and the judiciary. At least 3 of the 15–Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Michael Grimm and Peter Roskam–also went on the AIPAC-connected trip. Phone calls to and messages left at the Bilirakis office, as well as calls made to co-sponsor Rep. Eliot Engel’s office, were not returned.

The Congressional members certainly didn’t learn facts on the trip to Israel. Their bill is laden with errors, as the Electronic Intifada‘s Ali Abunimah, who first reported on the bill, points out. The bill claims, among other falsehoods, that the Turkish organization IHH and the international Free Gaza Movement have been designated “terrorist” organizations by the CIA and the Department of Treasury. Abunimah writes:

The bill provides no evidence to back up these sensational and propagandistic claims. IHH is in fact not designated as a “terrorist” organization by any US government agencies. The claims in the bill are not based on US government or intelligence reports, but appear to come directly from unsubstantiated claims published by an Israeli propaganda and advocacy outfit calling itself the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. This group is closely connected with Israel’s military and intelligence establishments, the main sources for sometimes laughable anti-flotilla incitement and propaganda.

MJ Rosenberg, a blogger and former AIPAC staff member who is now highly critical of the group, explained in an e-mail to Mondoweiss that this bill was most likely written by the powerful Israel lobby group.  Rosenberg said:

I worked on Capitol Hill from 1975 through 1982 and again from 1986-1995. Plus, I worked at AIPAC from 1982-1986. In my experience every piece of legislation originating from Members of Congress that relate to Israel and/or Palestine are drafted by AIPAC and then handed out to favored members to call their own…In particular, any bill originating from a member of the House Foreign Affars Committee (which is packed with AIPAC cutouts) originates with and is drafted by AIPAC.

CCR lawyer LaHood said that Congress was hypocritical to introduce this bill when they have ignored Israel’s killing of U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, who was shot at point-blank range on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship during the 2010 Israeli Navy raid on the flotilla.

“Their focus is on whether human rights defenders should be labeled terrorists, rather than trying to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations,” said LaHood.

In an phone interview, Felice Gelman, an organizer with the US Boat to Gaza, also denounced the bill.

“This is just an effort to silence people who are trying to act in good conscience for justice,” said Gelman. “It’s all part and parcel of the willingness of people in Congress to support attacks on civilians.”

Bachmann comes to Manhattan for Zionist org’s Brandeis dinner

Nov 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

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Michele Bachmann

Zionist politics makes for such strange bedfellows. Michele Bachmann, the rightwing Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate, will be addressing the Zionist Organization of America in New York tonight, alongside Glenn Beck and Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s that all-important NY primary… And the new rightwing coalition across religious lines– Ileana Ros-Lehtinen too. Louis Brandeis after whom the dinner is named is rolling in his grave. Press release:

Urbandale, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann will address the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) at the 114th Anniversary Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner on Sunday, Nov. 20. During her speech, Bachmann will stress the significance of the U.S.-Israel relationship while advocating for stronger measures to prevent a nuclear Iran.

The ZOA is the United States’ oldest pro-Israel organization, and has worked to educate Americans about the importance of strong U.S.-Israel ties. Keynote speakers include Glenn Beck and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the dinner by video.

The following event, which occurs in Eastern Time, is open to credentialed media: Sunday, November 20, 2011

ZOA 114th Anniversary Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner 6:00 pm

Grand Hyatt New York 109 East 42nd Street at Grand Central Terminal New York, NY

‘In Hebron I felt that God had abandoned earth’

Nov 20, 2011


Some religious zealots, including the rightwing member of the Knesset, Danny Danon who addressed the crowd in Hebron yesterday, believe passages from Hayei Sarah establish Israel’s historical title to Hebron. At a time when radical religious extremism seems to threaten all hope of finding peace and resolution in Palestine and Israel, I find it difficult to express how moved I am to hear deeply religious voices who work tirelessly for peace. It is probably because I am a secular person that it took me a long time to really listen to religious voices in the activist community. That changed when I attended a Sabeel conference last year. Yesterday I visited +972 and clicked on a link that made me weep. Called WATCH: Alternative Jewish interpretations seek to counter settler takeover of Hebron, this is about Project Hayei Sarah.

Ben Murane:

“It’s supposed to be a holy city… a city given as a reward for truthfulness. And it’s because Hebron is supposed to be such a holy place that I am so disappointed… How does one behave in a holy place? In holy places we speak quietly, respectfully…

“[But] today there are few pilgrims in Hebron… Some 20 percent of it is under full curfew and military patrol… It’s a ghost town. The only layers of history there seem dry and ugly, just dust swirling in empty marketplaces.”

In a truly holy place, “witnesses are inspired to holiness themselves…. In Hebron I felt that God had abandoned earth.”

All people of faith who work tirelessly to heal the Holy Land have my thanks today. And thank you Mairav Zonszein for bringing these videos to my attention, and Breaking the Silence for offering tours of Hebron that open people’s hearts and minds.

Also, here is Rabbi Jill Jacobs’  impassioned plea for justice:

A group of Jews stands in a small park. Across from us two Palestinian children are playing soccer in the street. The ball rolls into the park. A member of our group kicks it back. ‘That’s lucky fur the children, the park is off limit to Palestinians…’ A row of closed storefronts stands where the lively Palestinian market used to be. The graffiti on the metal doors proclaims ‘death to Arabs’, and warns Palestinians that ‘the death chamber awaits’. Bizarrely, one mural shows a smiling Haredi man saying ‘keep smiling’…what a contrast to the Hebron of the torah. There, the city is  a place of compassion, a place where people of different families, tribes and backgrounds come together…it is a place where Abraham introduces himself as a  stranger, a resident alien, and who is welcomed by the residents of the city…a place where Abraham’s estranged sons, Isaac and Ishmael, come together to bury and to mourn for their father….Today, Hebron is just one extreme symptom of the broad systemic violations of human rights that are required to maintain Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is also a city that to both Jewish and Muslim traditions was once a shining example of human coexistence.  This week, as we read Parsha Havei Sarah, the story of Sarah’s burial in the city of Hebron, I hope and pray that we can all do our part to make Hebron once again a city of compassion, friendship, and coexistence.

Today, the sons of Isaac and the sons of Ishmael, recognized by all monotheisms as the Jews and the Muslims, respectively, still come together to mourn their father in Hebron. Housed within a half-mosque, half-synagogue compound, Abraham’s Tomb sits in a circular vault, surrounded by a synagogue window on one side and a mosque window on the other. Gazing through each of their windows at the tomb of their father, the two faiths awkwardly look at each other out of the corner of their eye, through a narrow, slanted, indirect, sidelong, askew line of sight. “How sweet and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Even Goldberg acknowledges that a Jew can vote for the government while his Palestinian neighbor cannot

Nov 20, 2011

Philip Weiss


Have you noticed that all criticism of Israel on the part of our political leaders is now boiled down to the phrase, “The status quo is unsustainable.” Obama used to talk about the occupation. Now this vague “unsustainable” phrase overcomes Jim Crow, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, evictions, nonviolent resistance, the entire scene of Palestinian dispossession.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s review in the New York Times Book Review of Gershom Gorenberg’s new book, The Unmaking of Israel struggles through the talking points and ends with a similar openended vagueness.

On a recent visit to the West Bank city of Hebron, I met with a Palestinian resident who recently passed through Israel’s military justice system. His rights in this system were limited. This particular Palestinian lives on a street that he shares with Jewish settlers. The settlers, unlike the Palestinians, are full citizens of Israel; they can vote for their leaders, and have open access to the Israeli civilian judicial system. The Palestinians who live side by side with them are not allowed a say in choosing the government that rules over them. Gorenberg’s book makes clear that this is a situation that cannot go on forever.

I applaud Goldberg’s incisiveness about an unjust situation. But wait, hasn’t this been clear for a long time? Not just for “this particular Palestinian.” But for millions living alongside 500,000 Jewish settlers. And how long is forever? And how are Palestinians supposed to respond to this “forever,” which so far has lasted, with western aegis, since 1920 or so, even as the west upholds the right of self-determination?

I like this too:

“Most of Ofra [settlement] was built ‘with no legal basis’ on land privately owned by Palestinians.” Gorenberg notes that the settlers would not have succeeded had they not had the support of politicians like Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

How did it happen that a country of laws — Israel’s Supreme Court justices are renowned around the globe — came to be so lawless in one corner of the territory it ruled?

Settlers and supporters descend on Hebron to assert Jewish sovereignty

Nov 20, 2011

Ben Lorber and Alistair George


Settlers and supporters celebrate in front of shuttered Palestinian stores in Hebron’s Old City (with protection from the Israeli military). (Photo: Alistair George)

“So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites.” –Genesis 23:17-20

Over 1,000 American and international Zionists joined 700 extremist settlers in Hebron this weekend to celebrate the reading of this Torah portion detailing Abraham’s biblical purchase of Hebron land, as a means to assert sovereignty over the Palestinian residents of Hebron.


Settlers march in Hebron’s Old City (Photo: Alistair George)

On Friday, many Zionist visitors camped in tents on Israeli-controlled Shuhada Street. Inebriated from the Shabbat festivities, the visitors harassed local Palestinians throughout the night. On Saturday, soldiers stationed themselves through the streets of Hebron’s Old City, forcing the shutdown of Palestinian shops, while swarms of visitors were treated to an extensive settler-guided tour championing the Jewish roots of Old Hebron. In what was advertised by the Hebron Committee as “the most unforgettable Jewish experience of a lifetime”,  throngs of young, mostly American males clapped and chanted ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ (‘life to the people of Israel’) and other nationalistic chants, while  Palestinian residents were forced to the sidelines of their own streets and kept there by soldiers. Throughout the day, 7 international activists and 2 Palestinians were arrested.


Damage in a Palestinian store (Photo: Alistair George)

While a few visitors were respectful to Palestinian shop owners and residents, many were outright hostile. Mohammed Awawdeah owns a small shop in the old city, selling glass bottles filled with intricate colored sand patterns. Some of his bottles were smashed by a passing settler. “He came and broke my stuff,” Awawdeah says. “I told the police but they are not here for us, they are here for the settlers…I am not even angry for my stuff, I’m angry at the soldiers who let them do this”. The Israeli police have taken the details of the incident and said that they intend to carry out an investigation.

Hamday Dwaik decided to close his bakery in the old city, since his shop was targeted by settlers during the event last year. “The settlers don’t want me to open. If I open they will throw my products on the ground, no one will buy it”.


The Israeli military provided an escort for the settler march
(Photo: Alistair George)

Laila Slemiah, who works in Women In Hebron, a woman’s collective in the old city selling kiffiyehs and embroidery, was determined not to close her shop. “I know I won’t have any business today,” she said, “but I have to stay open. I’m not scared of them.”

Clashes were also reported between visiting Americans and international activists. One activist relates that “as we were walking, a group of young American Jewish boys got into an argument with us. They became threatening towards us, and one of them had an M16 around his waist. They told us they would break our camera, they told the nearby Palestinian shop owner they would burn down his shop, they told me I would be dead on the floor…”

As this event is touted by the Zionist community as a Biblically-ordained ‘return to the homeland’, an organization called Project Hayei Sarah has been founded in the U.S. and Israel, offering alternative interpretations of Abraham’s Biblical relationship to Hebron that challenge the attempted Zionist appropriation of this legend to legitimize territorial conquest. [It iscovered by Annie, in this accompanying post.]

Unprecedented Minneapolis forum of 4 Jews arguing about Israel is on-line now

Nov 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

A few weeks ago Sylvia Schwarz of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network did a post on a landmark event, a discussion about Israel/Palestine in Minneapolis among four Jews, including two from Establishment organizations. Well here’s the video, online at last, and in front of stained-glass windows, no less. Schwarz: “Can I thank the co-producers of the show for their hard work and mentoring?  Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell.” Part I is below. Can’t wait to hear it.

Activists disrupt Donald Rumsfeld speaking event in Plano, Texas

Nov 20, 2011


Disrupting Donald Rumsfeld

On the evening of November 18th I was slated to take part in a protest; the event was organized in response to Donald Rumsfeld’s book-talk in Plano, Texas at a local college campus and was established in a matter of days on short notice. Hours before the talk was set to begin I was emailed by local activists who were interested in coordinating a mic-check disruption during Donald Rumsfeld’s talk; the idea being that we would echo a series of facts describing Rumsfeld’s role in the non-existent weapons of mass destruction propaganda, the push for the occupation of Iraq which therein resulted in over 1M Iraqi deaths. Our aim was to call for a citizen’s arrest and for Mr.Rumsfeld to be held accountable for his role in a laundry-list of war-crimes against the people of Iraq (eg. On September 15, 2001, in a meeting at Camp David, Rumsfeld suggested an attack on Iraq because he was deeply worried about the availability of “good targets in Afghanistan.”) Rumsfeld not only supported the occupation of Iraq, he also sanctioned the use of torture and cruel, inhuman treatment, all of which breach the Geneva Conventions, and thus constitute war crimes. Bear in mind also that this is Fallujah Week.  Read more here.

And now more news from Today in Palestine…

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Imneizil demolitions: “Hanging between the ground and the sky”

The solar panels in the village  of Imneizil, near Hebron, became effective almost two years ago,  improved the living conditions for about four hundred inhabitants in the village, but recently  residents learned that the Israeli army issued a demolition order for the solar power installations. “When the electricity came, we could have light at night. So right now, we could sit with our friends in the night, and we can see each other,” said  25-year-old Nihad who has seen her life change since electricity become available in Imneizil. She talks about how the school now has access to computers and printers, and how radio and TV have connected the village to the rest of the world. Now they have washing machines, and refrigerators that make it possible to store food.

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — UNESCO could help restore the Palestinian Authority’s cultural presence in Jerusalem, the president of the Palestinian Committee for Education Culture and Science, Yahya Yakhlaf, said last week in Ramallah. But Yakhlaf, who used to be Minister of Culture and is a well known Palestinian novelist, stressed that Palestinian ambitions within UNESCO would remain merely cultural. “But we can achieve political goals through cultural means,” he added.

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Report: “Palestinian Village Condemned To Live In Darkness”

After the “Seeba” Spanish organization managed to install Solar Panels at a Palestinian village in the West Bank, known as Amenzil, and for the first time its residents managed to have electricity, Israel issued a military injunction ordering the residents to remove the Panels.

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Study: “Palestinian Businessmen Invested $2.5 B. In Settlements, Israel, In 2010”

An academic study conducted by a Palestinian researcher from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, revealed that the amount of investments by Palestinian businessmen men, in Israeli settlements, and in Israel itself, in 2010, mounts to $2.5 Billion.

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In addition to simply expanding illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, the Israeli government is ousting peaceful civil society institutions, apparently as part of a “Judiazation project in occupied Jerusalem,” as Rashad Shtayyeh, the activities coordinator at the Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem told Electronic Intifada.

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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem – Life on the Checkpoints

A few days ago, I posted a description of my recent visit to Jerusalem, and I was accused of anti-semitism by one irate reader. I guess that’s an occupational hazard whenever you write about Israel in anything other than glowing terms, although I did take the trouble to mention the things I admire about the country as well as some downsides.  My sister – who recently visited Palestine and wrote to UK Prime Minister David Cameron protesting about the treatment of villagers in the occupied territories by the settlers – sent me an interesting link to an Israeli site the other is run by a group of female Israeli activists who send daily reports from the numerous checkpoints between Israel and Palestine.

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The definition of chutzpah: Jerusalem mosque expanding illegally

Municipality fails to stop construction at Mount of Olives mosque despite evidence it has expanded to State-owned land. ‘PM’s Office much stricter when it comes to Jewish construction,’ Public Complaints Bureau chief says.

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Israeli Violence / Aggression / Provocations 

More than fifty settlers at midnight Thursday stormed the villages of Aqraba and Awdla, to the south east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and wreaked havoc in both villages.

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In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, seven activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were arrested documenting a citywide march by hundreds of Israeli settlers who inhabit the small, illegal settlement inside the old city.
Suspect in Peace Now Price Tag Attacks Arrested, Confesses; Court Grants Family Gag on Reporting His Identity, Richard Silverstein

Israeli media are reporting (Hebrew) that the police have arrested a suspect in the Peace Now price tag attacks and death threats against Hagit Ofran.  The suspect has confessed to his role in phoning bomb threats to the Peace Now office and vandalizing Ofran’s apartment building with graffiti wishing her dead.  But the family has secured a gag preventing identification of the suspect.  When he appeared in court, the father, who is a “senior civil servant” according to Haaretz, threatened the reporters and photographers there with jail if they published anything.  He then secured a gag from the court likely with the help of the suspect’s mother, who is a senior police official.

Political Detainees / Other Prisoner News
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces have closed down a workshop used to forge documents in a village near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, officials said Thursday. Authorities believe the lab was being used to forge documents in Aqraba village, said Luba Sumari, an Israeli police spokeswoman. Israel’s Shin Bet general security service assisted police in the investigation.

Relatives of a captive from Gaza told that he is suffering cancer
Israeli occupation authorities informed the family of Palestinian captive Hazem Miqdad from the Gaza Strip that their son suffers from cancer of the liver.

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Prisoner given wrong injection moved to hospital
Palestinian prisoner Riyadh Al-Amor, 42, was given wrong injection at the Ramle prison hospital that worsened his health condition, human rights sources said on Saturday.

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Nael al-Barghouthi, the veteran Palestinian prisoner freed in the recent prisoner exchange deal, has married fellow ex-detainee Iman Nafi’ in a ceremony held on Tuesday evening. At the head of a large procession, Mr al-Barghouthi made his way to the bride’s family home in the village of Na’lin where the marriage ceremony took place. The joyous occasion was attended by both families and friends of the bride and groom, including a number of other freed prisoners. The formal proposal was made by ex-prisoner Walid Hudli on behalf of al-Barghouthi; the bride’s family proudly announced their acceptance.

“Most students are from very poor families. We have a lot of children like this; it comes from living in poverty, under bombardment, with a lack of medicine. Children lose their hearing as a result of untreated illnesses. These children, especially the girls, find themselves written off. There’s no education or jobs for them. But our school provides training, and an opportunity for social contacts and life prospects. Just look at their faces!”

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Israel-Gaza tensions: Pilot program to expand Gaza exports falters

Israel promised earlier this year to allow Gaza to export garments and furniture after a five-year blockade. But delays are damaging sales – and hope.

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MADRID, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) –Real Madrid football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, donated the proceedings from the sale of his sport shoes to the Real Madrid Charity Foundation to support Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, the Arabic site of the Real ‘Classico’ network said Saturday. It said that Ronaldo has given away his sport shoes to the foundation, which will sell it in a public auction and will contribute the money to support Palestinian children schools in Gaza. The network said that the auction started at 700 euros before Ronaldo’s shoes were finally sold for 2400 euros.

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Solidarity / Activism / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Op-Ed in The Tennessean Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian Activists
The story of Palestinian nonviolent resistance is one that is rarely told in mainstream US media. On Tuesday, Nashville’s largest daily newspaper, The Tennessean, published an op-ed, “Two roads to justice meet in Palestine,” by Nour Joudah. Joudah’s op-ed brings attention to the Palestinian Freedom Riders and gives voice to the struggle of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. She highlights the similarities of Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli apartheid with the stories she heard growing up in Tennessee about African-Americans’ nonviolent protests throughout the Jim Crow South. For Joudah, the common theme tying these struggles together is the brave men and women who stand in defiance of gross discrimination and injustice. She ends her piece with a call to action, “To those who stood against injustice in the 1960s and who are proud of that moment in history, the time has come to raise your voices again, to demand justice for Palestinians. The ride to freedom is long and ever-evolving. But it is a ride that knows no geographical boundaries — whether in the Jim Crow South or Occupied Palestine.”

Al-Azhar to announce “al-Quds Document” sunday

A statement by Al-Azhar said that Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyeb will announce on Sunday “The Quds Document” which has been coordinated with the popular campaign against Judaization of Jerusalem.

Lebanese concert promoter Jihad el-Murr has filed a lawsuit against four groups over a boycott campaign they organized against the band Placebo in June 2010.
Restriction of Media
PARIS, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) – The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders Saturday expressed concern over what it described as a new round of Israeli arrests of Palestinian journalists in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the past few days. It said in a press release that the arrests suggest that “a tougher line is being taken towards the Palestinian media.”

National Press Club suspends journalist for asking Saudi prince a tough question, Ali Abunimah
Journalist Sam Husseini asks a Saudi prince a tough question and gets booted out of the National Press Club, showing the limits of what the “free” media are allowed to do in Washington.

While there are myriad stories recounting the assault against democracy in Israel, none is more important evident than the emasculation of the Israeli press.  While it has always been subject to censorship on matters related to national security, the pressure against honest, courageous reporting has mounted to alarming proportions.  In this light, one of Israel’s best known reporters with a decidedly right-wing (but anti-Bibi) slant, Ben Caspit, wrote this in today’s column:
Political Developments / Diplomacy
Hamas PM adviser states that Hamas will support Palestinian efforts to receive UN recognition; says goal of all Palestinian factions is a state on 1967 borders with capital in Jerusalem.

PA must end security coordination with Israel now
The PA should immediately revoke the scandalous Economic Protocol of Paris which made the very lifeline of the Palestinian economy subject to Israel’s whims and haphazard, sadistic fantasies.

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US threatens to cut off aid to PA if national reconciliation materialises
Zionist news sources said that the US administration sent a secret message to Ramallah which says that any plans to achieve unity with Hamas in the Gaza Strip means the immediate freezing of US funds.
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CAIRO, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) – On the eve of a meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal in Cairo, France expressed support for Palestinian reconciliation, the Egyptian Middle East News Agency reported late Friday. It quoted French foreign ministry spokesman, Bernard Valero, as saying that his country always encourages unity between the Palestinians and cooperation among them. He said France constantly encourages Palestinians to be united, stressing that reconciliation in the interest of the Palestinian people.

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ROCKLAND, Maine (Ma’an) — The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah showed inflexibility over Israel’s settlement program and will have to make compromises for the sake of peace, the Obama administration’s former Mideast envoy has said. George Mitchell, who resigned in May as US President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, said Tuesday at the University of Maine that the Palestinian side placed too much emphasis on settlements.
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Other Palestine News
BETHLEHEM, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) – Yhe United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) awarded Palestine the Vettor Giusti best tourism posters award, the Ministry of Tourism said Saturday. UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai announced during the organization’s general assembly meeting that the winning poster went to the Palestinian tourism ministry’s poster on Jericho, which said “Jericho: City of the Moon – 10.000 years of Civilization.”
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Other Mideast News

11 Iraqis Killed On Prayer Day
At least 11 Iraqis were killed in the latest violence. Another 23 were wounded as well. Demonstrations for and against granting region status to more areas in Iraq took place in Samarra and Baghdad. Also, the fate of Camp Ashraf residents could soon be decided.

US Military Denies Shooting Iraqi Civilians; 12 Dead Across Iraq
Overall, at least 12 Iraqis were killed and 24 more were wounded in the latest reports of violence. However, U.S. military officials are denying one incident in which witnesses claim that U.S. soldiers fired on civilians in Yusufiya. In political news, one lawmaker came out in support of semi-autonomy for Basra, while the vice president denounced plans to expand Iraq’s prison system.

Bahrain: Teen killed when police car hit oil slick (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities said Saturday a police vehicle skidded on an oil slick poured by anti-government protesters, killing a teenage demonstrator.

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Thousands rally in Bahrain against island’s rulers (AP)

AP – Thousands of Shiite-led protesters calling for greater rights have streamed into an area outside the capital Manama.

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Cairo protests spread to cities of Alexandria, Aswan and Suez, leaving at least two demonstrators dead.

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Saif al-Islam captured in Libya’s south 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, captured after three months on the run, he was disguised as a Tuareq hiding within the Tuareg near Ubari. He was reportedly scared and down to his last few thousand dollars in cash when he was detained in Libya’s southern desert. It has emerged that revolutionary forces from the town of Zintan had been pursuing his trail for some days, and finally caught up with his convoy at around 4am local time, Saturday. Gaddafi was then taken by air back to Zintan, pending transfer to Tripoli. Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught reports.

U.S. Group Offered to Aid Qaddafi, Documents Show

Confidential documents show how a colorful partnership of Americans saw lucrative possibilities in the power struggle that would end Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s erratic reign.

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Palestinian rights group ‘fact-finding’ in Libya

A Palestinian human rights group opened a fact-finding mission in Libya on Thursday, tasked with investigating abuses by the country’s late leader Moammar Gadhafi, the new Libyan government and NATO forces operating in the country.

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Kuwait’s ruler orders ‘stricter’ security

Sheikh Sabah denounces protests as a threat to “security and stability” after brief storming of parliament chamber.

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UAE: Activists Planning Hunger Strike

Five activists jailed seven months ago for “publicly insulting” United Arab Emirates officials plan to begin a hunger strike on November 13, 2011. The activists said the hunger strike will continue until authorities release them unconditionally and end all judicial proceedings against them. (Abu Dhabi) – Five activists jailed seven months ago for “publicly insulting” United Arab Emirates officials plan to begin a hunger strike on November 13, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The activists said the hunger strike will continue until authorities release them unconditionally and end all judicial proceedings against them.

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