Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Streisand to sing at Israeli soldier benefit in LA

Nov 27, 2011

Philip Weiss


Rare performance: Barbra Streisand will play a Dec. 8 LA gala for the Israel Defense Forces. Hosted by Jason Alexander, who is going to forge the two-state solution. Sponsored by Haim Saban. (Hebrew link) She’s a big Democrat, right? So’s Saban, more or less. No Christian Zionists in sight. Here’s Barbra talking about Bill Clinton’s dedicationto human rights. And kids in Africa, and global climate change. Progressive except Palestine. This is what J Street is up against, inside the Jewish community. And what America is up against.

Is U.S. Egyptian policy just an Israel policy in a galabiya?

Nov 27, 2011

Philip Weiss

Martin Indyk

The lead story in yesterday’s Times was titled “U.S. Urges Egypt to let Civilians Govern Quickly” and was about a new stance by the Obama administration pressuring Tantawi and the SCAF to get out of the way of the Egyptian people.

Well nine times in that piece, reporter Helene Cooper states what the American government cares about most, the treaty with Israel. In fact, the last word in the article is Israel.

 Here are the nine references, starting with the second paragraph:

the Egyptian military which, perhaps more than any other entity in the region, has for 30 years served as the bulwark protecting a critical American concern in the Middle East: the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel….

the beginning of a shift in how the United States deals with a fast-changing Arab region and tries to preserve the Egypt-Israel peace accord.

…— the Islamists — who might not be as wedded to the peace treaty as the military,” Mr. Indyk said. [Martin Indyk, Israel supporter, former ambassador]

The Obama administration appears now to be openly hedging its bets, trying to position the United States in such a way that regardless of who comes out on top — the army or the protesters — it will still maintain some credibility, and ability, to influence the government and ensure a level of stability in Egypt, and to continue to uphold the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal, which the United States views as central to stability in the region as a whole….

For more than 30 years, the United States has viewed the Egyptian military as the safeguard of the Camp David peace accord that was signed by Menachim Begin and Anwar Sadat in 1979. When President Obama broke with Mr. Mubarak this year, administration officials at the same time sought assurances that the Egyptian military would guide the transition to democracy and continue to uphold the treaty.

Since then, Egyptian democracy advocates and the country’s opposing political parties, including the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, have mostly indicated that they, too, would continue to uphold the treaty, albeit with some possible modifications, like the number of troops in the Sinai.

But there remains uncertainty over whether a new civilian Egyptian government will be as wedded to the treaty as the Egyptian military has been, which is why the administration has trod so carefully in Egypt. ..

Of all of the countries undergoing tumult in the Middle East this year, there is none more central to American interests than Egypt. …

Egypt is different. “In terms of the weight of any single country, Egypt outweighs them all,” said Rob Malley, program director for the Middle East and North Africa with the International Crisis Group. “The reason why is because of its size, its population, the historical role its played in influencing Arab public opinion, and, of course, from the U.S. point of view, because of its peace agreement with Israel.”

It makes me wonder, is the self-determination of the 85 million Egyptian people less important than the maintenance of a Jewish-majority state and Jewish government in Israel. Yes. Were decades of Egyptian dictatorship worth it to preserve Israel? I guess so. Is this really the relationship we want with the Arab world?

And no I don’t like instability. I want peaceful transition. But what if the Egyptian people hate the Gaza siege and hate the occupation? What if they want to isolate Israel further? These could be good things. They could hasten freedom in Palestine, whose oppression afflicts the world.

This is how Palestinians spent their Thanksgiving…

Nov 27, 2011


Video: Israeli forces violently ethnically cleanse Bedouin homes in Beit Hanina, Ali Abunimah
A video taken today by Palestinian photojournalist Fadi Arouri shows Israeli occupation forces demolishing the homes of Palestinians in the village of Beit Hanina north of occupied Jerusalem, in the West Bank.
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Demolitions and destruction in the South Hebron hills on November 24th

… And more from Today in Palestine

Land theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of Movement / Palestinian culture & history

OCHA: Israel persists in expelling Palestinians from their homes in O. J’lem
For the second time in two weeks, an Israeli court has ordered the eviction of another Palestinian family by the end of the month from their home in the Silwan area in occupied Jerusalem.

Right-wing NGO exposes extent of Israel’s support of West Bank settlements
In bi-annual survey, Mattot Arim ranks Knesset members, ministers, according to number of bills, lobbying they advanced to better lives of West Bank residents.
Following the Rabbis for Human Rights’ action alert, calling the JNF not to evict the Sumarin Palestinian family in  Silwan, JNF published a response basically claiming: “It’s Not Us! It’s the Settlers!” Meanwhile, the Jewish group Yachad in the UK published a similar call.

Report: Authorizing Settlers to Use ‘Absentee’ Land in Jerusalem Increases
NABLUS, November 26, 2011 (WAFA) – The National Bureau for the Defense of Land and Resisting Settlement said in its weekly report published on Saturday that there was a rise in Israeli government authorizing settlers to use Palestinian land in East Jerusalem alleged to be absentee property. The Israeli government authorized and funded settlers groups to use alleged absentee property that included houses and land in the Old City, Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, said the report. It added that Israel also planned to build a Talmudic garden on the east side of Mount Scopus and al-Issawiya in Jerusalem, thus changing the land status from public construction areas to national gardens, where construction is restricted for Palestinians yet expedited for settlement purposes to geographically link settlements around Jerusalem.

The Israeli settlement groups of East Jerusalem are hard at work to establish their “Jewish ring” around Silwan and the Old City
The Israeli settlement groups of East Jerusalem are hard at work to establish their “Jewish ring” around Silwan and the Old City of Jerusalem in a bid to establish the “biblical basin” of the region. The plan involves the Judaization of the Old City, making its Palestinian residents a minority.   The Israeli police serve as the “muscle” in implenting these plans: the unwarranted arrest of countless Palestinian children; physical assault of residents and close collusion with settlers’ personal guard squads. Guards commonly file false complaints and testimonials against local Palestinian residents, providing police with a pretext to carry out further arrests and intimidation. The most recent such attack took place on November 22, with 15-year old Muhammad Raid Siyam was taken by Israeli forces after settler guards accused him of tampering with one of the vast number of settler surveillance cameras that form a network throughout Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan. On the same day, two 11-year old children were taken by Israeli police on their way home from school.
TUBAS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces closed al-Hamra military checkpoint in the northern West Bank on Thursday afternoon, Palestinian and Israeli security officials said.  Spokesman of the Palestinian national forces Bassam Maslamani said in a statement that Israeli troops shut the checkpoint in the Tubas governorate and prevented cars from passing. An Israeli army spokeswoman said forces found an object they suspected to be an explosive device at the site and after a temporary closure it “returned to regular operations.”
Israeli Terrorism Against Palestinians (also see below Gaza)
Israeli soldiers attack Friday’s peaceful rallies against wall and settlement
Dozens of Palestinians and foreign peace activists were wounded on Friday when they were attacked by Israeli soldiers during weekly anti-wall marches in several West Bank villages and towns.

HEBRON, November 26, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers Saturday attacked the weekly non-violent protest against settlements and the Apartheid Wall in Beit Ummar, a town north of Hebron, according to a local activist. Yousef Abu Maria, an activist in the local Popular Committee against the Wall, said Palestinian and international activists held the weekly protest against Israeli seizure of Beit Ummar land near Karmi Tzur settlement. Israeli soldiers declared the area a closed military zone, prevented the protesters from reaching the land and when they approached it, the soldiers attacked them, added Abu Maria.

Hebron: Family members share their stories of settler abuse

As thousands of Israeli settlers and Zionists crowded into Hebron on Friday night, November 19th, and Saturday for Shabbat Chaye Sarah – celebrating Abraham’s biblical purchase of land on the site of the Ibrahimi Mosque, some Palestinian neighbourhoods experienced a surge in settler attacks. Wadi Al-Hussain, a valley situated on the edge of Hebron’s old city was the focus of attacks.  The Jaber family lives far down the hill, near to the road reserved for settler traffic leading from Kiryat Arba, an illegal Israeli settlement home to around 7,000 people, to the Ibrahimi mosque in the old city.  Their house faces the settlement a few hundred metres away on the opposite side of the valley.  They have experienced many settler attacks but Saturday was a particularly harrowing day for the 17 Palestinians of several generations which live in the same large house.
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Israeli Air Force Bombards Gaza
Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported, that Israeli fighter jets fired, on Sunday at dawn, one missile into an area in central Gaza, and two missiles into an area in the southern part of the coastal region. No injuries were reported.
JERUSALEM: Israel warned on Saturday that it would cut the supply of water and electricity to the Gaza Strip if rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas form a unity government.  “The foreign ministry is examining the possibility of Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip in terms of infrastructure,” Deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon told the daily Yediot Aharonot website.  A unity government deal “would transform the Palestinian Authority into a terrorist authority and would put an end to any hope for a peace agreement” with Israel, said Ayalon, who is also a Knesset deputy from the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.
Israel may well decide to strike Gaza – but that decision will be determined not in Jerusalem, but by events in Cairo.

Turkey: Relations Not To Be Normalized until Israel Lifts Gaza Blockade
Turkish Minister of Foreign Affair, Ahmed Dawud Aghlo, reconfirmed that relations between Turkey and Israel won’t be normalized till the latter issues an official statement, apologizing for Israeli attacks on the Turkish “Freedom Flotilla” in bound to Gaza and lifting Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, the Maan News Agency reported Friday afternoon.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli military vehicles crossed into the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, a Ma’an reporter said.  Sporadic fire was heard, but no injuries were reported, after a number of vehicles entered the Abu Samra area near northern Gaza town Beit Lahiya, he said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said she had no record of the incident.

Israeli navy hunts Gaza fishermen
Video of our international human rights observation boat outrunning the Israeli navy as it attempts to fire a watercannon on Palestinian fishing boats under 3 miles out to sea. Publicly, Israel ‘allows’ fishermen in Gaza 3 miles in which to make a living. Today, as happens on most days they attacked 5 fishing boats at around 2.5 miles out, pursuing them until we were well under 2 miles away from the Gaza shore. For once, this regular occurrence was caught on camera.

We gathered in the road in front of the Agricultural College of Beit Hanoun, the same place that we gather every week.  There were about forty people, members of the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative, the International Solidarity Movement and citizens of Beit Hanoun.  Like every week, we planned to march into the no go zone.  The chanting started immediately, with more energy than usual.  Soon music began to pour from the loudspeakers.  The march was to begin. We walked down the road, into the no go zone.  We walked past the flag that we had painted on piece of rubble, past the olive grove that we planted last month, we marched all the way to the flag which we have left to fly over the no go zone.  We only enter the no go zone once per week, but we the signs of our presence are always here, the olives the flag.  If Israel destroys them, we return them again.  The no go zone seems to encapsulate Israel’s attitude toward Palestine, erasure, nothing is left living there, even memory is erased, it becomes truly a land without people.  The people who have been left without land are not the Zionists, but the refugees that are confined to the prison that is Gaza.
Even though Hassan Lutfi Albishawi says there were dozens of witnesses to the shooting and its aftermath, neither he nor his witnesses are being allowed out of Gaza to testify in court.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian rights groups spoke out Thursday on the role of women in conflict and peace-building. Gaza-headquartered Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Israeli forces killed three women and injured 35 in 2011 in the West Bank and Gaza, in a statement to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday.  Israel’s closure also impacts the human rights, welfare and social life of women “due to which the local community’s violence against them has increased,” the statement said.
The Gaza Strip is known to indulge in political murals but water murals are definitely a new thing. Over the summer months, US activists along with local artists, teachers and school children got together to paint 8 murals exploring the water struggles of the Gaza Strip. Murals were painted on the walls of elementary schools and near water desalination units in areas such as Beit Hanoun, Rafah and Bureij Camp.
Child & Other Political Detainees / Other Prisoner News
 Fiften-year old Muhammad Siyam was abducted by Israeli forces  under suspicion of tampering with a settler surveillance camera. A witness stated that Siyam’s home was surrounded by a squad of Israeli settler guards, and the arrest then carried out by Israeli armed forces.   This arrest is not the first to have occured with close coordination between settler guards and Israeli armed forces, with guards seemingly wielding the same authority as police.   The settlers’ network of surveillance cameras throughout Wadi Hilweh have all but removed what is left of Palestinian residents’ privacy.

IOF troops arrest 60 Palestinians in one week including minors, young women
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 60 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem over the past week including ten minors and two young women, a report by Hamas said on Saturday.

IOA extends administrative detention of Palestinian MP
The Israeli occupation authority extended the administrative detention, without trial or charge, of Palestinian MP Mohammed Bader for four months for the third consecutive time.

GAZA, November 26, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities had postponed release of three Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip who completed their sentence in order to include them in the second group of prisoners to be released in prisoners swap agreement, a rights group said Saturday. Association of Detainees and Ex-Detainees (HOSSAM) said Abdullah al-Kurd, from Central Gaza, who completed a nine-year sentence one month ago, and Wael Shirehi, from Deir al-Balah, who completed a seven-year sentence a month ago, have not been released in order to include them in the 550 prisoners Israel is supposed to release in the second part of the swap deal. It said Wade’ Tamman, 30, from the city of Khan Younis and who suffers from epilepsy, has also completed his 10-year sentence, was transferred from Nafha prison to Naqab prison, before he was eventually transferred to Eichel prison after he was diagnosed with epilepsy. He also is held to include in the second part of the swap agreement.
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
PSP accompanied with international activists and residents of Beit Ommar arranged a peaceful demonstration against the illegal settlement of Karmei Tsur. As the demonstrators walk towards the settlement with their slogans against the occupation, they discovered that garbage from the settlement had been thrown on their land. Many soldiers stopped the demonstrators before they even could walk up to the settlement fence. “This is a closed military zone, you are not aloud to walk here,” said the soldiers and showed a paper confirming their message.

The Islamic Jihad Movement said it intends to organize a massive rally next Friday in Gaza city in conjunction with other marches to be held in some Arab countries on that day in support of Jerusalem.

Arab League warns against holding a European conference in occupied Jerusalem

The Arab League warned during a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the consequences of holding the WHO, the European Region its first conference in occupied Jerusalem on 28 November 2011.

Officials suspect French megabank BNP Parisbas pulled out of Israel due to boycott pressure, Ali Abunimah
Israeli officials suspect that France-based megabank BNP Parisbas has pulled out of Israel due to pressure from Palestine solidarity groups, even though the bank itself has denied this.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank’s board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.
LONDON, November 26, 2011 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in London and other European cities Saturday started its campaign ‘Take Apartheid off the Menu: A European Day of Action against Israeli Agricultural Exporters,’ according to campaign activists. The activities in the UK included spreading brochures, raising banners in front of major shopping centers in more than 20 locations, such as London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Oxford. BNC called European shoppers not to purchase Israeli agricultural products, especially those made in settlements in the Palestinian Territory, particularly after the organization succeeded in forcing importing enterprises in UK to specify the source companies, whether from Israel or Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

Rep. John Lewis, join the freedom ride to end discrimination in Israel/Palestine, Josh Ruebner
Fifty years ago, Freedom Riders braved beatings and arson by supremacists intent on maintaining apartheid in the Jim Crow South.  By challenging segregated transportation through nonviolent action, these African American and white activists set in motion a process that ultimately dismantled segregation. While the struggle for racial justice continues, at least this shameful chapter of formal racial discrimination is history.

Palestinian students use their bodies to spell out message of peace
In an action inspired by a British artist and a United Nations Agency, a thousand Palestinian refugee youth gathered beneath the Mount of Temptation near Jericho to create an image with their bodies of Pablo Picasso’s ‘Peace Dove’ and spell out the words ‘Love All’.

Political Developments / Diplomacy
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday blasted anyone who supports the Arab Spring and said the Arab world was “moving not forward, but backward,” media reports said.  Benjamin Netanyahu said history would prove him right about the “Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave”, as he termed it, sweeping the region.

Why the Palestinians might reject U.S. aid, Daoud Kuttab
Few in Washington may realize that the issue of U.S. funding for Palestine is the talk of the town in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities. And the talk is not pleasant. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been telling aides that he plans to reject some $150 million in federal money earmarked for Palestinian security. Abbas’s opposition is principled. The funds are part of an $800 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development that Congress appropriated in June 2009. Shortly before the funds were disbursed this summer, however, the larger grant was held up by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. A Republican from Florida, Ros-Lehtinen, now chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, placed an informational hold on this budgetary line item in August. It is her prerogative to do so as a member of Congress. But rather than delay the funds to investigate a concern, the hold was meant as punishment — a warning to the Palestinian Authority not to seek recognition as an independent state at the United Nations General Assembly meeting the following month.
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RAMALLAH, November 26, 2011 (WAFA) – Foreign Minister Riyad Malki Saturday urged to Cyprus as a member of the European Union to intervene and pressure Israel to release Palestinian tax revenue it is withholding to punish the Palestinian Authority, said a foreign ministry press release. Malki, said after meeting Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, that the Israeli decision to withhold the tax revenues for the second month in a row is a violation of international law and Palestinian-Israeli agreements.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel’s peace with Egypt is a regional bulwark that both countries are working to protect, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday as protesters in Cairo kept up demands for a swift transfer from military to civilian rule. The remarks underscored concern in an increasingly isolated Israel that Egypt’s interim military rulers could be succeeded by a popular, Islamist-dominated opposition that resents Cairo’s three-decade-old relations with Israel.

Egypt Protests: Security Forces Clash With Protesters, Killing One
CAIRO — Egyptian security forces clashed with protesters camped outside the Cabinet building Saturday, leaving one man dead, as tensions rose two days ahead of parliamentary elections being held despite mass demonstrations against military rule. The violence occurred as a wave of protests against military rule was given extra impetus by the Egyptian military’s decision on Friday to appoint a Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri who served under deposed President Hosni Mubarak.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is now the target of the country’s revolution movement.

Renewed Calls for Mass Protests Sunday
Egyptian Youth Coalitions are calling for another “ Million Man March” Sunday prior to Monday’s first round of parliamentary elections. Protesters continued to amass Saturday in Tahrir for another night after the crackdown by Egyptian security forces against protesters left one dead outside the government’s headquarters in Cairo. In hopes of preventing newly appointed PM Kamal Ganzouri from entering government offices protesters remained camped in front of the building chanting “Tantawi and Ganzouri are choking me.” until the early morning when security forces moved in killing a protester, later identified as Ahmed Serour. Protests in Tahrir and across Egypt had voiced immediate opposition to Ganzouri, who served as PM under Mubarak, upon SCAF’s choice for an interim PM. At least 41 people have been killed so far between protesters and police, and over 2,000 injured since clashes erupted last Saturday, according to official health ministry sources. Medical sources in Cairo’s hospitals say the number of dead exceeds 90.

Amazing video at the Guardian site, of an Egyptian army major who left the army to join the popular uprising. Here you can glimpse the great political intelligence and depth of the Egyptian revolution, the ways that a people throwing off tyranny have had to originate creative ways to assert their will. Inspiring.

Cairo calm after mass rally as elections loom
Military council says elections to go ahead from Monday as protesters in Tahrir Square reject army’s newly appointed PM.

EGYPT: Citizens take up arms amid insecurity
CAIRO 25 November 2011 (IRIN) – It took Ahmed Fawzi, a College of Islamic Studies graduate, only a few hours after seeing a man robbed and killed by a group of criminals to buy a gun.

Street Voices | Mixed reactions to Egypt’s new PM 
Former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri accepts a request from Egypt’s ruling generals to form a new government as protesters have mixed reactions to the appointment. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros has been among the crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to get reactions to the appointment of Ganzouri.

Mena celebrated Mubarak’s resignation alongside other Egyptians. She was the last to leave the square. In the meantime, some called for a continuation of the sit-in in Tahrir until the demands of the revolution were realized.

Assassinating Egyptian Dreams, Ahmed Amr – Cairo
Nostalgia for more innocent times is a comforting refuge when hope is scarce. This week, as we inhaled a toxic dose of tear gas in Tahrir Square, we were all gasping for a resurrection of the spirit of the January uprising that led to the spectacular fall of the House of Mubarak. Many Egyptians would give their right arm to relive the spirit of the 18 glorious days that dazzled our collective imagination and filled our hearts with hopes and dreams of a new dawn for young and old.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood continues to alienate itself from the people, Amira Nowaira
As Egyptians lie dying, the Brotherhood’s blatant self-interest and arrogance is exposing them to public scrutiny and scorn. As the brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters in Cairo and several other Egyptian cities continued unabated for six days running, the Muslim Brotherhood stayed out of the fray, declaring clearly that it would not join the protests.
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As long as Tahrir Square is in action, Tahrir is democracy, Omar Robert Hamilton
Egypt’s desperate military and Muslim Brotherhood are trying everything to strangle our revolutionary vigour. They will fail. For five days a battle has raged across downtown Cairo between the central security forces (CSF) and unarmed protesters. At least 40 people are dead. Thousands are injured. There are seven field hospitals and hundreds of doctors at work in Tahrir Square.

Bahrain / Saudi Arabia

Bahrain: Report Confirms Punitive Campaign Against Protesters
The report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry released on November 23, 2011, confirms the systematic and egregious rights violations by the Bahraini government in suppressing pro-democracy protests earlier this year. The report concluded that a lack of accountability by Bahraini authorities led to a “culture of impunity” and systematic violations of international human rights law as well as Bahraini law. (Manama) – The report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry released on November 23, 2011, confirms the systematic and egregious rights violations by the Bahraini government in suppressing pro-democracy protests earlier this year, Human Rights Watch said today.

Reuters – Bahrainis, emboldened by a rights enquiry that found evidence of systematic abuse during the crushing of pro-democracy protests this year, clashed with police on Thursday after the funeral of a Shi’ite man who died a day earlier.

Bahrain creates panel to study unrest report
King Hamad announces national commission to “follow up and implement” policy after BICI report on crackdown on protests.

Bahrain’s Shia reject crackdown report 
Thousands in Bahrain’s Shia village of Muqasha have marched in protest following the release of a report slamming the government for its use of torture to crush protests. The protesters are saying the report fell short of the mark. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Vall reports from the capital Manama.
I met Omar at Oxford University a few years ago and he left an excellent impression on me.  I read this piece by him in the Guardian and was more than disappointed.  First, Omar should have mentioned a conflict of interest: my sources tell me that he in fact was hired to do research for the Dependent Bahrain Royal Commission.  In fact, I am told that he worked on the historical section, for which he offers praise here.  This should have been pointed out to the readers up front, although I am told that he added a comment in the comments section under the article to indicate his involvement.  If I am not mistaken, Omar also attended the royal party that accompanied the release of the report.  So all that should have been pointed out to the readers.  I fault Omar for this and fault the Guardian for failing its readership.  Secondly, I did not like the article one bit.  It makes the conflict in Bahrain one pitting one (sectarian) side against another (sectarian) side, when the conflict is really between the ruling dynasty and the population, although the ruler resorts to sectarian agitation and mobilization to bolster his rule and to justify the Saudi/UAE military intervention.  Omar made the conflict in Bahrain–not different from the conflict in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan–into a dispute for which people need to hug and kiss and let bygone be bygone.  I don’t relish writing this comment here at all.  It pains me due to the very high regard in which I have held Omar.

More analysis on the Bahrain royal dependent commission report

The question is why the United States was even thinking of selling arms to Bahrain.  The answer can be found in the fact that the United States is the number one arms supplier in the world and to maintain its status it cannot be judgmental about the conduct of its customers.  If standards of conduct were the operable criteria, the United States’ customer base would be reduced if not eliminated.  As it is, sales of arms simply jeopardize the lives of some who live in the customers’ countries as well as those with which they may come into armed conflict, conflicts that might not take place were the adversaries not armed by the United States and other weapons supplying countries.

A tank tries to run over protesters in Saudi Arabia
“Amateur footage shows a tank deliberately trying to hit protesters in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Qatif on Wednesday. Our Observer told us that this kind of violence is unprecedented in Saudi Arabia. Similar incidents have, however, recently taken place in Bahrain and Egypt.  The demonstrators had gathered in the city centre for the funerals of two people killed during rallies last week. Security forces cracked down on protesters once again; two people were killed and nine injured. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said “these losses took place during an exchange of gunfire with unidentified criminals who infiltrated the population and opened fire from residential areas.” According to the Interior Ministry, two of the injured were policemen.”

Deadly clash hits Saudi province 
Two people have been killed and six others wounded in an exchange of gunfire between security forces and what the Saudi interior ministry called criminals serving a foreign power in the country’s oil-producing Eastern Province. Wednesday’s deaths brought the toll to four people dead, with nine others wounded, since unrest erupted in in the region last week. Al Jazeera’s Khadija Magardie reports.

Other Mideast & U.S.
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A Beirut military court sentenced a Lebanese man accused of spying for Israel to seven years in prison on Friday.  Lebanese officials said Sami Khouri was convicted of espionage, but can appeal the sentence before the court of cessation, United Press International agency reported in Arabic. A day earlier, the military court sentenced 11 people, including nine Palestinians, of planning to blow up a bus carrying Lebanese soldiers, the report added.
The apparent shutting down of CIA operations in Lebanon took place well before two of its moles were exposed by Hezbollah and was the result of the agency’s miscalculation of its foes’ intelligence capabilities.

5 Protesters Die In New Violence in Yemen
The violence indicated that President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who handed power to his deputy the day before, intended to keep his hand in the affairs of state.

Yemen: Spate of Killings Defy UN Order
Yemeni troops appear to have unlawfully killed as many as 35 civilians in the city of Taizz since a United Nations Security Council resolution demanded on October 21, 2011 that Yemen stop attacks on civilians. (New York) – Yemeni troops appear to have unlawfully killed as many as 35 civilians in the city of Taizz since a United Nations Security Council resolution demanded on October 21, 2011 that Yemen stop attacks on civilians, Human Rights Watch said today.

At least 15 killed and 20 others wounded in explosions in Baghdad and near Abu Ghraib, according to Iraqi officials.

Mahdi Army’s Secret Deal Filling Iraq’s Security Forces With Ex-militiamen; 30 Killed in Attacks
A secret deal may be filling Iraq’s security forces with former Mahdi Army militiamen. Meanwhile, the uptick in violence continues. At least 30 Iraqis were killed and 54 more were wounded in attacks that focused on central Iraq.

Baghdad Journal: Iraqi Widows’ Numbers Have Grown, but Aid Lags
Iraq faces a gender imbalance, with decades of conflict leaving an estimated one million widows. Many hope, against the odds, to marry again.

UAE: Investigate Threats against ‘UAE 5’
Authorities have failed to investigate a campaign of death threats, slander and intimidation against five jailed Emirati activists, says an independent report released today. The report, written on behalf of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) with research assistance from Human Rights Watch, documents the threats, including death threats, by government sympathizers and the atmosphere of impunity in which they have been made.

Morocco: Stop Harassing Election Boycott Advocates
Moroccan authorities should stop harassing people campaigning to boycott the November 25, 2011 parliamentary elections. Since October 20, police around the country have brought in more than 100 Moroccans to police stations to question them about the distribution of pro-boycott leaflets or other efforts to urge voters not to cast a ballot. (Rabat) – Moroccan authorities should stop harassing people campaigning to boycott the November 25, 2011 parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch said today. Since October 20, police around the country have brought in more than 100 Moroccans to police stations to question them about the distribution of pro-boycott leaflets or other efforts to urge voters not to cast a ballot.

Moroccans see limits of reform in rapper’s case
Moroccan protesters rally round arrested musician.

Iran lawmaker says 12 CIA agents arrested
An influential Iranian lawmaker claimed 12 CIA agents were arrested in the country, according to the country’s official IRNA news agency. Parviz Sorouri, who sits on the powerful committee of foreign policy and national security, alleged that the agents were operating in coordination with the Israeli Mossad, targeting Iran’s military and nuclear facilities. “The US and Zionist regime’s espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services,” Sorouri was quoted as having said on Wednesday.

Prime minister says tougher sanctions against Iranian central bank necessary.

France to put unilateral ban on Iranian oil imports
Unclear whether France will act immediately or wait for common position with its European partners.

Six Afghan Children Are Killed in NATO Airstrike
Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, Afghan officials said.

Pakistan: US must vacate base following deadly air raid
The Pakistani government has told the US it must leave the Shamsi airbase, in Balochistan province, within 15 days following a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and injured 13 others, according to Pakistan’s military. Protests erupted across Pakistan after the cross-border strike prompted the government to close a vital supply route to US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan and summon the US ambassador in Islamabad. “ Cross-border raids have happened before and everything returns to normal, what the military should do is listen to the people and stop all involvement with the Americans. No one in Pakistan supports this military cooperation,” said novelist and political analyst of central asia Tariq Mehmood Ali.

Pakistan blocks NATO supply route 
There has been a furious response from Pakistan after an air attack by fighter jets and helicopters killed at least 24 of its soldiers. After NATO admitted that it was probably responsible, Pakistan shut NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, and ordered the US to leave an airbase in the southwest of the country. Pakistan also says it is reviewing its relations with NATO and the US. Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab reports from Islamabad.

Analysis / Op-ed

On Shabbos the rabbi stood outside neighbor’s house shouting F-you at his ‘Free Palestine’ bumper sticker, Philip Weiss

Rich Siegel, the musician who lives in a NJ suburb that is heavily-populated by orthodox Jews, says he is being harassed again for his anti-Zionist views. The Teaneck Suburbanite’s Howard Prosnitz reports
The Hypocrisy of Arab League and the West, Kourosh Ziabari
After the Arab League hypocritically suspended the membership of Syria amid the mounting pressures of NATO and the United States, the resurgence of violence in Egypt and the increasing use of excessive force in Bahrain and Yemen, and the unrelenting massacre of innocent civilians by the barbaric regime of Al Khalifa and Ali Abdullah Saleh once again attracted the attention of conscientious observers in the international community.

Is Britain Plotting with Israel to Attack Iran?, Jonathan Cook
Last February Britain’s then defense minister Liam Fox attended a dinner in Tel Aviv with a group described as senior Israelis. Alongside him sat Adam Werritty, a lobbyist whose “improper relations” with the minister would lead eight months later to Fox’s hurried resignation. According to several reports in the British media the Israelis in attendance at the dinner were representatives of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, while Fox and Werritty were accompanied by Matthew Gould, Britain’s ambassador to Israel. A former British diplomat has now claimed that the topic of discussion that evening was a secret plot to attack Iran.


Israel is top destination for Congress, including 12 Texans, 26 times

Nov 27, 2011

Philip Weiss

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