My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: “Wars of Virtue: The Individual Between the Fist of the State and the Fist of Religion”.
“The latest news from Bil’in: Haitham Al Khatib was arrested while filming at today’s demonstration. Story below.”

I really heart Gaza tunnels

“The tunnels have evolved into a unique economic infrastructure through which everything from people and vehicles to refrigerators and lions for the zoo are dragged. Tunnels are expensive to build so venture capitalists look for investors — anyone with enough ready cash to sink into a business that can make massive returns but can also be wiped out overnight.
A cheap tunnel can cost $60,000 (£40,000), a deeper and more reliable one as much as five times that. Tunnellers also have to buy a permit from Hamas for $2,500. There is no shortage of would-be smugglers among Gaza’s 1.5 million people. The border area is as churned up as the battlefield of the Somme, piles of earth topped with endless white tents which act as cover for tunnel entrances and warehouses for arriving goods.”

Zionism is sexism, too

“According to Jewish law, a man has to agree to grant the divorce of his own free will before the legal separation can proceed. Rights groups say the system unfairly discriminates against women. “If he’s incapacitated, if he’s abusive, if he committed adultery, it really doesn’t matter,” says Susan Weiss, who runs the Center for Women’s Justice in Israel. “If he doesn’t say yes, you’re stuck.””

Arabic and culture

“In his inaugural address to parliament last December, the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri kept mispronouncing words and whole phrases in Arabic, smirking the entire time. Not only did the Georgetown-educated, English-speaking Mr Hariri laugh at his mistakes, but he also cackled when Nabih Berri, the speaker of parliament, asked him if he needed someone to help him out.
Being bad at Arabic is almost like being bad at an obscure sport, say croquet: no one particularly cares if you fail to grasp the quaint and overly complex techniques needed for mastery of the subject.” Let us make it clear. Mini-Hariri was admitted to Georgetown because his (now dead) daddy had made a big contribution to the university. Hell, if you donate billions to Harvard, a potato owned by the donor would be admitted to the college.

If this happened in a Muslim country…

“Magen David Adom paramedic Ruti Levy was rushed Friday along with two other unit members to a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood after a man fainted in the site. However, upon arrival she was prevented from entering the room and aiding the patient when ultra-Orthodox worshippers shoved her out claiming “a woman is prohibited from

Innocents at Guantanamo

“George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.”

Dumb Mossad stories

“Secondly, if the indictments filed against Israeli journalist Anat Kamm on Wednesday prove true, it would appear that about 2,000 classified Israeli military documents, including 700 marked “secret” and “top secret”, were copied and remained undetected in private possession for years.
These are all documents whose content could “gravely damage state security and endanger the lives of both soldiers and Israeli civilians”, in the words of counter-intelligence agency Shin Beth’s chief, Yuval Diskin. According to a report in leading Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth, this affair is likely the “most severe in Israeli history as far as the damage it could have caused to the country’s security”. Needless to say, it constitutes a blow to Israeli deterrence at a time when tensions in the region are high and rising.
“Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has finally admitted that Special Forces troops killed two pregnant Afghan women and a girl in a February, 2010, raid, in which two Afghan government officials were also killed. Brilliant reporting by Jerome Starkey of The Times of London has blown apart the U.S. military’s cover-up story that the women were killed by knife wounds administered several hours before the raid.
It now appears that the knife wounds may have been inflicted by the Special Forces troops retrieving their bullets from the dead or dying women’s bodies. Starkey’s story last Sunday in The Times reported that “Afghan investigators also determined that American forces not only killed the women but had also ‘dug bullets out of their victims’ bodies in the bloody aftermath” and then “washed the wounds with alcohol before lying to their superiors about what happened.”
The 17-minute video recording the US military’s massacre from the air in Baghdad, is utterly damning. The visual and audio record reveal the two Apache helicopter pilots and the US Army intelligence personnel monitoring the real-time footage falling over themselves to make the snap judgment that the civilians roughly a thousand feet below are armed insurgents and that one of them, peeking round a corner, was carrying an RPG, that is, a rocket-propelled antitank grenade launcher.”

subsidizing war crimes

“Israel will get $2.7 billion in military aid from the U.S. this year — or 18 percent of Israel’s military budget. By 2013, that will lock into an annual level of $3.15 billion for five years. It also has almost $4 billion outstanding in available U.S. loan guarantees, left over from $9 billion extended at former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s request in 2003.
That makes Israel the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world, if you don’t count Iraq and Afghanistan. It also benefits from some of the easiest terms: Unlike other recipients, which must buy 100 percent American, Israel can spend about one quarter of its U.S. military aid at home, which amounts to a significant boost to its defense industry.”

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