Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


VIDEO: Activists protest massive new Shu’fat checkpoint

Jan 03, 2012

Allison Deger


On Sunday, December 18, refugees from Shu’fat refugee camp and Israeli activists protested the opening of a new Jerusalem five-lane checkpoint.  The Alternative Information Center (AIC) notes that the checkpoint will block the 50,000 residents of Shu’fat refugee camp, from the remainder of the city. This checkpoint is part of a broader plan I posted on earlier that will all but cut the West Bank in half, and complete the physical annexation of East Jerusalem.

Many Shu’fat refugees hold Jerusalem IDs, and the checkpoint compromises their ability to prove that Jerusalem is their “center of life.”  Under Israeli Ministry of Interior policy, Palestinians that live in Jerusalem hold residency permits, not citizenship, which can be revoked.  AIC reports:

Many of the residents hold Jerusalem residency. But to keep this status, they must prove that Jerusalem remains the ‘center’ of their life. According to activists, the checkpoint–which separates one area of Jerusalem from another, impeding freedom of movement–makes this already difficult task more difficult. Scores of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem lose their residency rights every year; 2008 marked an all-time high, with the Israeli government stripping over 4000 Palestinians of their status.

shufat idf
IDF in Shu’fat refugee camp after checkpoing protest.
(Photo: Mya Guarnieri)

The protest ended with Israeli Defense Forces entering the refugee camp “with their weapons drawn,” after firing rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinian youth who threw stones at the checkpoint.

Parsi: Israeli pressure helped scuttle Obama overtures to Iran

Jan 03, 2012

Alex Kane

Barack Obama signed the Iran sanctions bill into law on Saturday, significantly intensifying economic pressure on the country. The latest news from the Financial Times is worrisome:

Iran made a fresh move to ratchet up tensions with the west on Tuesday, sending oil prices higher when it implied that it would take military action if the US Navy moves an aircraft carrier back into the Gulf.

In the latest sign of tension between Iran and the west over the future of the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit point for oil, Iran stated that it did not want to see Washington redeploying an aircraft carrier in the Gulf region.

It’s enough to make you forget that there were hopes of a rapprochement with Iran when Obama came into office. How did we get from there to here?

Trita Parsi, an expert on Iran, has an important new book out (Google Books has excerpts here) that helps answer that question. Barbara Slavin reports on the book for the Inter Press Service:


Negotiations should have continued, Parsi argues, and perhaps would have continued, if not for other pressures on Obama.

Parsi, citing a leaked State Department cable, reveals that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took office shortly after Obama, told a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Sen. Jon Kyl in April 2009 that engagement with Iran should be tried for only four to 12 weeks “with the explicit objective of putting an end to the Iranian nuclear program – a near impossible task.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress – actively lobbied by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – began pushing for new sanctions before Obama had had a chance to make a serious overture to Tehran.

Netanyahu also sought to leverage Obama’s main priority in the Middle East – resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute – to cut short U.S. engagement with Iran. As Parsi writes, “the Netanyahu government declared that it would not move on peace talks with the Palestinians until it first saw progress in America’s efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program and limited Tehran’s rising influence in the region.”

As of this writing, there has been no progress on the Arab-Israeli front and Iran’s nuclear programme continues.

The current tensions in the Persian Gulf are a direct consequence of the war footing the Netanyahu government pressured the Obama administration to follow.

Bill Kristol’s group pictures Obama in front of Western Wall seemingly soaked in blood

Jan 03, 2012

Philip Weiss

Emergency Committee for Israel ad
Emergency Committee for Israel ad

This ad appeared with Josh Nathan-Kazis’s great reporting on the Emergency Committee for Israel’s Super PAC at The Forward.  (I cannot find the image at the ECI site.)

Incitement? This follows the last ad from the ECI, which said that Obama was treating Israel like a punching bag and Bill Kristol said we’re going to punch back.

Here are excerpts from the Forward. Note that Jeremy Ben-Ami says that ECI is getting its money from a disgruntled group of hedgefund billionaires. He would seem to mean Daniel Loeb, a former California surfer, and Jonathon Jacobson, in the list that comes up at the Federal Elections Commission. But note that a CBS lawyer, Howard Jaeckel, is also funding this outfit.

As of the latest available filings, there are only about 200 Super PACs, officially known as independent expenditure-only committees. Only one besides ECI’s appears to deal with Israel policy. That group, called US Israel Friendship PAC, was created to run advertisements in support of California Democrat Barbara Boxer in her 2010 senatorial race. Sam Lauter, a California political affairs professional whose name appears on the group’s filings with the Federal Elections Commission, said that it had no plans to be active in the 2012 cycle.

Between the formation of ECI PAC in October 2010 and the end of that year, the Super PAC raised $152,000. During the 2010 midterm elections, the group spent $40,000 on airtime for advertisements opposing Joe Sestak, the Democratic candidate for senator in Pennsylvania who eventually lost to Pat Toomey; $37,000 on airtime for advertisements opposing Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democratic congressman who won his re-election fight; and $37,000 on airtime for advertisements opposing John Tierney, a Massachusetts Democratic congressman who also won re-election….

Between May 2010 and April 2011, ECI’s separate but affiliated 501(c)(4) raised over $700,000, according to tax filings the group provided to the Forward. As a 501(c)(4), ECI is not required to report on its political expenditures to the same level of detail as ECI PAC, but the organization notes that it ran five advertisements in July and August 2010 “that called on members of the public to contact their elected representatives — who were standing for re-election in the November 2010 election — and tell them to support a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.”

ECI’s 501(c)(4) also ran an advertisement during the September 2011 special election in New York to replace Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner. The group spent $25,000 on the distribution of an advertisement in support of Bob Turner, whose eventual victory was cast by some Republicans as a referendum on Obama’s Israel record….

Instead, ECI appears to draw support from a small number of wealthy donors. Only five individuals have given to ECI PAC. And in its 2010 fiscal year, five individuals provided all but a few thousand dollars of ECI’s 501(c)(4) revenue. The 501(c)(4) is not required to name its donors, so it is unclear whether there is overlap between the two groups of supporters.

“They clearly have the ability to raise large sums of money from a very small number of disgruntled hedge fund billionaires,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president. “But they don’t have the ability to demonstrate a broad base of activist support of thousands and tens of thousands of people all across the country who want to signal their support on this issue for their views.”

The five individuals are not named. However, here are the five largest contributors to the ECI PAC, as reported to the Federal Elections Commission:






SILVER, ALLAN BOWIE MD 20715 10/22/2010 1000.00 NONE/RETIRED


383 Palestinian children arrested in 2011, 15 in the last week alone

Jan 03, 2012

Today in Palestine

child pic
(Photo: Activestills)

Occupation arrested 3200 Palestinians, including 383 children in 2011
A human rights organisation said that occupation authorities intensified arrest campaigns against Palestinian activists in 2011, especially after the release of prisoners in a prisoner exchange deal.

IOF soldiers arrested 73 Palestinians including 15 children over the past week
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 73 Palestinian citizens including two women and 15 children in various West Bank provinces over the past to
More news from Today in Palestine…

Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

Israel announces contentious Jerusalem construction ahead of peace talks meet
Housing Ministry publishes tender for 300 housing units beyond the Green Line hours before Jordan-mediated session between Netanyahu envoy, PA negotiator.
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IOA confiscates 13 dunums of Jerusalem land
The IOA has issued orders for the confiscation of 13 dunums of Palestinian land in Wadi Al-Jouz in occupied Jerusalem, the Quds center for social and economic rights said on Tuesday.
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Settlements in Palestine, a research and advocacy settlement watchdog, published a Report on Financial Support of the Israeli Settlement Enterprise By United States Non-Profit Foundations and Organizations During 2009, exposing tax fraud committed by U.S. foundations and U.S. tax-exempt charities, through grants made to settler organizations. The report reveals a total of $274 million was funneled from U.S. organizations to settlements from 2002-2009, compared to $600 million dollars the Israeli government spends each year in supporting the settlements…

Israeli authorities give ‘legal’ status to illegal settlement outpost
An illegal settlement outpost established on stolen Palestinian land in 2001 by individual Israelis with no government sanction has been given legal status by the Israeli government, after Israeli authorities agreed to give in to the settlers demand of recognition, and petitioned the Israeli High Court on behalf of the settlers.

OIC condemns Israeli measures to isolate Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has condemned the Israeli occupation authority’s approval of 130 new housing units in the settlement of Gilo in occupied East Jerusalem. In a press statement, Mr Ihsanoglu said that the continuation of Israel’s settlement policy, “which imposes facts on the ground in occupied Jerusalem” and “isolates it from its Palestinian hinterland”, is both “a crime and a blatant violation of international law and the United Nations resolutions.” The OIC Secretary-General called upon the UN Security Council and the Middle East Quartet “to take a decisive stand which obliges Israel to cease all its violations and crimes against the Palestinian people and their national rights.”

Violence and Aggression

29 Dec. ’11: Settler violence against Palestinians and Palestinian property, December 2011
In December, B’Tselem documented ten cases in which Israeli settlers harmed Palestinians or Palestinian property in the West Bank.

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IN PHOTOS: Israeli teenagers train with lethal weapons
Yesterday, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that several dozen teenage volunteers have been trained and armed with lethal weapons, including M-16s, and are aiding the Israeli Border Police (Magav). Known as Noar Magav (Border Police Youth), the children and young adults patrol checkpoints and detain Palestinian workers who are attempting to enter Israel without a permit. These photos offer a compelling look at the militarization of Israel’s youth

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Shin Bet Chief Calls Price Tag Attackers ‘Terrorists’, Richard Silverstein
The far-right Israeli government, including its leader Bibi Netanyahu, has pointedly refused to use the “T” word in describing the violent price tag attacks by extremist settlers against Palestinian sacred sites.  In a development that is sure to raise eyebrows in Israel and create a fracture between the political and intelligence echelons, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen has specifically labelled these as acts of “terror” and said that they and suspects arrested for them would be treated as such.  He did so in a meeting with Israeli ambassadors hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Which means that Cohen, at a meeting hosted by a ministry headed by a settler who supports (at least tacitly) price tag attacks, the Shin Bet director took a decisively contrarian position.  In fact, the Maariv story says the diplomats who heard him were shocked by his words since they were at such a remove from his boss, the PM.
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Occupation arrested 3200 Palestinians, including 383 children in 2011
A human rights organisation said that occupation authorities intensified arrest campaigns against Palestinian activists in 2011, especially after the release of prisoners in a prisoner exchange deal.

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IOF soldiers arrested 73 Palestinians including 15 children over the past week
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 73 Palestinian citizens including two women and 15 children in various West Bank provinces over the past week.

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Hamas: PA security detained 72 of our cadres last month
Hamas Movement said the mass detention of its cadres, supporters and citizens by the Palestinian security forces did not stop but increased despite the reconciliation agreement.

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PA preventive security re-arrests two citizens 24 hours after their release
PA preventive security forces rounded up two citizens in villages east of Nablus city on Friday night only 24 hours after their release, local sources said.

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Israeli forces detain 14 across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 14 Palestinians across the West Bank early Tuesday, officials said. Witnesses told Ma’an that soldiers seized two Palestinian students as they tried to cross a flying checkpoint near Osarin village, south of Nablus. The students were named as Aasim Snober and Abdul-Minim Snober from nearby village of Yatma.
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IOF soldiers round up six Palestinians
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained four West Bank Palestinians at dawn Tuesday and two Jerusalemites, including a young woman, on Monday night, local sources said.

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IOF raid homes, kidnap 13 Palestinians
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have kidnapped at dawn Monday 13 Palestinians from different West Bank areas, mostly in Al-Khalil city.
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West Bank theatre founder wanted by Israel after amnesty deal revoked
Former militant Zakaria Zubeidi co-founded Jenin’s Freedom theatre with Juliano Mer Khamis, who was murdered in April. A former Palestinian militant who renounced violence in favour of “cultural resistance” is in custody after Israel apparently revoked an amnesty deal, in a move seen by his associates as part of a campaign of harassment against a radical West Bank theatre.
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Hamas: Peaceful resistance not applicable to Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar has cast doubt his party will take up peaceful resistance against Israel as advocated by former rivals Fatah. Under a reconciliation deal between the factions signed in May, officials called for a unified “national strategy,” and Fatah officials say that Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal agreed to adopt non-violent popular action in favor of armed struggle.
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Many Palestinians have died while waiting for medical treatment, amongst them 17 children and 30 women.
link to presstv.comEkmeleddin appeals for urgent medical aid to Gaza
Secretary-general of the organization of Islamic cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has made an urgent appeal to humanitarian organizations to provide emergency medical assistance to the Gaza Strip.
link to medical delegation arrives in Gaza
A delegation of international medical specialists has arrived in the Gaza Strip after crossing via the Rafah border post, which links Gaza with Egypt. The delegation is associated with Partners for Peace and Development for Palestinians and is made up of thirteen medical specialists from several nationalities. The delegation is expected to stay in Gaza for several days. Sources at the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said that the medical team will carry out a number of surgical operations, visit a number of health facilities and conduct some professional development workshops for their Palestinian colleagues while they are in the beleaguered territory.

Gaza Lives: Reflecting on ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Mohammed AlNadi – Gaza
In Israel, nothing is more rewarding than committing systematic mass killings and war crimes against Palestinians. It seems, according to Israel’s moral system and code of conduct, nothing is more trivial than a Palestinian life. Inflicting death on Palestinians is not punishable in Israel but instead ornamented with decoration and job advancement. I reckon it’s the highest and most honorable accomplishment through which an Israeli soldier can achieve most prominent ranks in the military.

Israeli massacre of five Palestinian girls in Gaza remembered by family
The Israeli massacre of five Palestinian girls of the Balousha family in 2008 was remembered by their parents who said that they are still seeking justice to punish the killers of their daughters.

link to January 2009: Motee’ and Isma’il as-Selawy
“What affected us a lot psychologically is the fact that we were all praying in the mosque when we were attacked. The mosque is a place where we go when we need relief or when we are sad. We could never imagine them targeting us while we are praying in the mosque.”

Israeli Racism / Discrimination / Repression

While America shuts down fire houses, cuts infant nutrition, US subsidizes Israel army sushi courses, Ali Abunimah
The United States is subsidizing an all-expenses paid sushi-making courses for Israeli soldiers while Congress cuts a vital nutrition program for low-income infants at home.

Bill aims to deter migrant workers from crossing into Israel by making it possible to jail those caught staying here for long periods without being tried or expelled.

IDF: Religious troops may be excused from informal events
General Staff adopts committee’s recommendation to authorize commanders to excuse religious soldiers from cultural events that feature women’s singing.

Haredi who called soldier ‘slut’: She acted provocatively
Shlomo Fuchs, who is accused of sexually harassing female soldier on public bus, tells Ynet ‘it’s the most basic concept: A woman should not stand amidst men’.

‘Treatment of haredim – like Nuerenberg Laws’
Eda Haredit member who participated in ‘Holocaust display’ during Jerusalem rally claims ‘persecution of haredim resembles race laws passed in Germany against Jews’; slams secular Jews for ‘making Hitler proud by acting like goyim’.

Haredi Jews Dress Children as Holocaust Camp Inmates in Jerusalem Protest, Richard Silverstein
Now I know the Israel’s Haredi community has truly lost its mind.  In Beit Shemesh, they began by spitting on an Orthodox 8-year-old Israeli-American girl making her way to school, because she was dressed “immodestly.”  When the rest of Israel rose in arms at the outrage of this act, the Haredim responded by protesting, trashing parts of the town and lighting fires.  Their idea is that it’s no one else’s friggin’ business what they do in their communities, so butt out bud.

Not a single coalition member attended special symposium titled ‘The Media under Fire’ sponsored by Kadima MK Nachman Shai.
link to www.haaretz.comRabbi Rotter’s Persecution Complex and Pedophilia Obsession, Richard Silverstein
A few days ago, following on the heels of Moni Dvir’s blog post about “Rabbi” (more on the scare quotes later) Yeshayahu Rotter, I published further details about the personal and political history of the founder of the major radical-right Israeli internet portal,  Among other things, I found no evidence to bolster his claim to a PhD from Boston University, nor could I find any evidence of his being an IDF combat officer (he is a reserve officer–rank of captain, a rank earned at the late age of 33–but only by virtue of being a military chaplain) as a Maariv interview with him claimed.  I also noted several sources, including one formerly close to his family, alleging he had been charged by Israeli police with embezzling from a Jerusalem bank where he worked in the 1980s.
Activism  & Solidarity
Saudi hackers leak personal information of thousands of Israelis
Hackers break into ‘ONE’ website, post link to file containing personal addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers of thousands of Israelis. Most Israelis on list say personal information accurate, but credit card details false. One of them says ‘what if the banks’ websites are also broken into?’

Political Developments & Diplomacy
Nearly 10,000 of the 120,000 people with the right to vote in internal Likud elections come from the settlements.

Subaih: Arab League conference on Jerusalem postponed
The Arab League general secretariat decided to postpone the international conference on Jerusalem that was slated for mid January in Doha.

link to warn of ‘new measures’ if talks fail (AP)
AP – The Palestinian president on Tuesday threatened to take “new measures” against Israel if a much-anticipated meeting in Jordan fails to bring about a resumption of peace talks.
link to Slams Palestinian-Israeli Meeting In Amman
Several Palestinian factions slammed the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) in the West Bank for accepting to attend a meeting with Israeli representatives in Jordan’s capital, Amman, on Tuesday.
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Basil Zayed, a member of the band “Turab,” said that Palestinian security requested he stop playing a song that was “offensive” to Palestinian statehood at a New Year’s celebration in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Zayed was performing in Yasser Arafat Square when security requested that he stop performing the song “Tomorrow, Declaration of Statehood,” which satirizes the declaration of the Palestinian state.

Grapel ‘forgives’ his Egyptian jailers
Israeli-American who was jailed in Egypt, released five months later insists his trip was not reckless, calls for co-existence in Washington Post op-ed.

Other U.S. & Middle East / World News

NY Muslim leaders snub mayoral breakfast
Over a dozen community leaders boycott event in protest of reports the police infiltrated Muslim areas for surveillance.

Obama’s U-turn on Guantanamo seals fate of lone Briton

The family of the last Briton held in Guantanamo Bay, the extra-judicial US interrogation centre on Cuba, have spoken this weekend of their decade of torment as President Barack Obama appears set to perform “the biggest U-turn of his presidency” by keeping the prison open and signing indefinite detention without trial into law.

Bahrain teenager dies ‘as police crush protest’
DUBAI — Bahraini police fired tear gas grenades to disperse protesters, killing a Shiite protester in the Sunni-ruled country where tensions have been running high, the opposition said on Sunday. Meanwhile the newly-appointed police chief said 500 officers would be recruited across the country, including Shiites, to help bolster community relations as the country tries to “learn lessons” from past unrest. Sayyed Hashem Saeed, 15, “was hit in the head,” and a man who rushed to help him during Saturday’s clash was struck in the thigh, said the Al-Wefaq Shiite opposition movement in a statement received by AFP. The teenager was rushed to a clinic in Sitra south of Manama and then transferred to a hospital in the capital where he died despite efforts to keep him alive, it added.

Appalling Bahraini Prison Conditions and Treatment, Steve Lendman
Since early 2011, Washington, Western governments, and major media scoundrels largely ignored outrageous Al Khalifa monarchy abuses. They include crackdowns on nonviolent protesters, mass arrests, torture, intimidation, and cold-blooded murder.

link to sjlendman.blogspot.comArab League says ‘killings continue’ in Syria
The head of the Arab League has called on Syria to stop snipers loyal to the government from shooting at civilians. Nabil El-Araby said heavy artillery and tanks have been moved out of the cities. But activists say protesters are still being targeted. Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra has been monitoring events from neighbouring Turkey.
Iraqis recounts millions killed 
The US war in Iraq may be over with more than 4,000 US soldiers killed and tens of thousands more injured. But the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the nearly 9 years conflict is much higher. There are no official statistics — but according to the latest estimates, over a hundred thousand innocent Iraqis were killed during and after the US invasion of 2003 but some estimates even put that number at a million. Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh reports from Baghdad.

Iraq official warns of abuse of security forces (AP)
AP – Iraq’s parliament speaker warned Monday that human rights violations are putting the country’s fragile democracy at risk, the latest pronouncement in a rapidly developing sectarian spat that threatens to destabilize the country after U.S. troops pulled out.

Fearful, Iraq’s Sunnis leave mixed neighborhoods (AP)

AP – The question was disturbing: Why do you live here?
(Beirut) – Saudi reform advocates have staged several protests since mid-December, 2011, despite a categorical ban on protests issued last March, Human Rights Watch said today.
Saudi Arabia intends to arrest 23 Shia protesters it accuses of fermenting recent unrest that led to shootings and clashes with security forces, state television said on Monday. Protests recently flared in the oil-rich Eastern Province, home to the majority of Saudi’s Shia minority, in support of pro-democracy protests in neighboring Bahrain, a Shia majority state ruled by a Sunni royal family. Eastern Province Shia activists said aggressive policing at checkpoints and the arrest of some community members had provoked recent trouble.
You have to read the list of accusations by the Saudi Interior Ministry against protesters in Qatif.  Read theresponse of the activists.

Saudi Arabian State Terror – Stephen Lendman
Annually, the State Department publishes human rights reports for over 190 countries. Its latest April 8, 2011 Saudi Arabia assessment discusses “significant human rights abuses and the inability of citizens to change its absolute monarchal rule. Abuses include…

Saudi Arabia: Only Women Can Work In Lingerie Stores
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia says starting Thursday, only females can work in women’s lingerie stores. The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly due to hard-liners in the religious establishment who oppose the whole idea of women working where men and women congregate together, like malls.

US seals $3.48B missiles, technology sale to UAE
Deal includes 96 missiles, supporting technology and training intended to boost Mideast ally’s defense.

Families of Egypt bombing victims blame Mubarak 
The bombing of a Coptic Church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria last New Year’s Eve left 21 people dead and divided communities along sectarian lines. The government of former President Hosni Mubarak blamed Salafists, an ultra-conservative Islamic sect. But others believe the former interior minister was involved. So far no one has been prosecuted for the attack. Al Jazeera’s Jamal ElShayyal reports from Alexandria.

Iran ‘produces’ first nuclear fuel rod 
Iran says it has made breakthroughs in both its military and nuclear programmes. The navy says it has test-fired a new medium-range missile . And scientists are claiming to have produced the nation’s first nuclear fuel rod. Al Jazeera’s John Terrett reports from Washington DC.
link to ‘confirms’ deal to open Qatar office
Afghan peace negotiator calls Taliban decision to set up office in the Gulf state a “gesture of good faith”.

France’s Islamic Veil Ban: 6 Women Fined Since April
PARIS — France’s interior minister says that since a ban on face-covering Islamic veils took effect in April only six women have been convicted and fined. Claude Gueant said in an interview with the daily Le Monde published Monday that no woman has been sent to a citizenship class – another potential punishment.

Analysis / Op-ed 

Price Tag Comes to Queens, Richard Silverstein
There appears to be a xenophobe arsonist on the loose in Queens, who firebombed New York’s leading Shiite mosque, the home of a Hindu family, an African-American family and a bodega tonight.  The worst damage was sustained by the African-American family’s home and they are homeless.  This reminds me, unfortunately of the price tag attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian mosques, cemeteries, and other sacred sites. The only thing I’m thankful for is that the NYPD will be far more pro-active and aggressive than Israeli police in hunting down this lunatic before he actually burns down a mosque and ignites even worse Islamophobic hysteria against Muslims.  I note that no one in Israel has yet been prosecuted for a series of grave attacks over the past few months.
Pro-Israel ‘lawfare’ group seeks to censor Twitter account for Hezbollah’s TV station, Allison Deger 
The Israeli law center Shurat HaDin is on a mission to “fight against terrorism.” Their weapon of choice, “Pro-Israel Lawfare.” The Israeli law firm’s New York office sent a letter to Twitter on Thursday saying that it would take legal action if the social media site did not censor the accounts ofAl Manar TV, Hezbollah’s Lebanon-based media outlet, and Harakat Al Shabaab Al Mujahideen, or Al-Shabaab, an Ethiopian militant resistance group that opened a Twitter account on December 7. The letter was covered in the Washington Post,MSNBC and CNN and read…

During a New Year’s Day appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” former Pennsylvania Republican Senator and come-from-behind GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum threatened to attack Iran if he becomes President.  “I would be working openly with the state of Israel and I would be saying to the Iranians, you either open up those facilities, you begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors or we will degrade those facilities through air strikes – and make it very public that we are doing that,” Santorum told “Meet The Press” host David Gregory. The candidate went on to promise that under his administration, Iranian nuclear scientists “will be treated as an enemy combatant, like an Al Qaida member.”
Cairo | Interview – The pact concluded on Friday between Haytham al-Manna of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) and Burhan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) establishing a framework for unifying the Syrian opposition and its vision of a post-Assad Syria may have been stillborn.

Unsustainable Israeli Politics of Exclusion in Jerusalem, Nicola Nasser
While the history of the world is moving decisively toward a culture of inclusion, diversity and pluralism, Israeli politics seems to challenge history by moving in the opposite direction of exclusion and unilateral self – righteous monopoly of geography, demography, history, archeology and culture, especially in Jerusalem, where Israelis are desperately trying to establish a “Jewish” capital for Israel and “the Jewish people” worldwide, excluding centuries old presence of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Christian deep-rooted existence and heritage, thus sowing the seeds of imminent conflict and foreseeable war by strangling a city that has historically been of diversified and pluralistic character and a flashpoint for human misery whenever exclusion becomes the rule of the day.

Every time I happen to think of Palestine, pretty fast beats my heart. It takes me back in memory to my grandpa’s orange field, my grandma’s embroideries, and my pa’s textile doll. All I have – all new Palestinian generations have – is what our ancestors tell about Palestine. I behold every grain of sand Palestine has in their eyes; I smell the smell of the old land in their palms. I have my own Palestine; they have theirs!

Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – December 2011
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this December, 2011 is Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.  Qaradawi, the President of the International Union for Muslim Scholars is the most prominent Islamic theologian in the Arab world and within the Sunni branch of Islam.  He is best known for his weekly talk show program on Aljazeera, al-Sharia wal hayat (Sharia & life), in which he discusses a myriad of issues and their relationship to Islamic law as he sees it.  He is also the leading figure behind the popular website Islam online and is among the most influential clerics and unofficial leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ten people who changed the world: Mohammed Bouazizi, an ordinary man who became the Arab Spring’s figurehead
In truth, Mohammed Bouazizi only survived a few days into 2011. On 4 January, in a coma and swathed in bandages that covered his terrible burns, he died in a hospital near Tunis, aged just 26. He was an ordinary man, just a humble fruit vendor trying to make an honest living and support his family.


Israeli Supreme Court: Israeli companies are entitled to West Bank natural resources; international law must adapt to long-term occupation

Jan 03, 2012

Adam Horowitz

An Israeli-owned rock quarry near the West Bank settlement Anatot.
(Photo: AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

The Israeli Supreme Court has decided that Israeli companies are entitled to exploit the natural resources in the occupied territories saying international law must adapt to the ‘reality on the ground’ of long-term occupation. From the Guardian:

Israeli companies are entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain, according to a supreme court ruling that says international law must be adapted to the “reality on the ground” of long-term occupation.The supreme court rejected a petition brought by an Israeli human rights organisation against the quarrying of stone by Israeli companies in the West Bank. Yesh Din claimed that the quarrying was illegal under international law because it exploited the natural resources of the occupied territory for the benefit of the occupying power.But the court ruled last week that in a prolonged occupation the economic development of the occupied territory could not be frozen indefinitely. It added that the quarrying firms were not destroying the “capital” of the West Bank’s natural resources, and were providing employment to Palestinians.Existing Israeli-owned quarries should be allowed to continue operating, but no new ones should open, the court ruled, reflecting the Israeli government’s position.Yesh Din said the ruling could be applied to other economic aspects of the occupation, such as water resources and the appropriation of archeological artefacts.Its petition against the state of Israel and 10 Israeli companies operating quarries in the West Bank demanded a halt to all Israeli quarrying and mining activity, and that no new licences be issued. It said Israeli quarrying in the West Bank was illegal and “executed through brutal economic exploitation of occupied territory for the needs of the state of Israel, the occupying power”.According to a Palestinian Authority report on the economic costs of the Israeli occupationpublished in September, the potential value of production from mining and quarrying in the West Bank under Israeli control is an estimated $90

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