Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Israel preparing to deport star of Oscar-winning documentary ‘Strangers No More’

Mondoweiss - It’s big news here in Israel that “Strangers No More”— a documentary film that focuses on a South Tel Aviv school attended by zarim, Hebrew for foreigners or strangers—has won an Oscar.

“Thank you most of all to the exceptional immigrant and refugee children from 48 countries at Tel Aviv’s remarkable Bialik Rogozin school,” Karen Goodman, co-producer and co-director said in her acceptance speech. “You’ve shown us that through education, understanding, and tolerance, peace really is possible.”

So what is the Israeli government showing us by planning a mass expulsion of such children? Understanding and tolerance won’t be found here. (And you’d better look somewhere else for peace, too).

After a five month delay, which followed a year-long battle over the matter, the deportation of 400 children and their parents is scheduled to begin on Sunday—just a week after “Strangers No More” won an Oscar. Just a week after a crowd in the US applauded the touching story of foreigners who find a home here in Israel. Just a week after the Israeli media runs its hip-hip-hooray! reports of the win, the Oz Unit will start rounding such kids up. And one of the children is the 10-year-old star of the film. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel...
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Israeli army abducts two Palestinians in West Bank

IMEMC - Israeli soldiers abducts, on Monday at dawn, two Palestinians from the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The two were taken from their homes after the army conducted an invasion into the city, broke into and searched several homes.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the arrests and claimed that the two are "wanted" and added that the two residents were moved to interrogation centers.

In related news, Israeli soldiers handed a number of residents military orders to demolish their homes in Beit Hanina, Wadi al-Dam, al-Marwaha, and Shufat in Jerusalem, and the al-Ramadeen area in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The Israeli Authorities claim that the homes were constructed without official construction permits.

The families said that they filed official documents to the Israeli Authorities, and that their applications were constantly delayed.

Soldiers also broke into sixteen homes, a mosque and a school, south of al-Thahiriyya in East Jerusalem, and handed orders for the demolishing of several homes.

The Jerusalem Municipality set strict conditions on the licensing of Palestinian constructions in occupied East Jerusalem while licensing cost mounts on average to nearly 100,000 Israeli Shekels (approximately US$ 28,000), an issue that forces the residents to build their homes without permits to order to accommodate their natural growth.

On Sunday, three Palestinian medics were wounded by army fire while trying to provide first aid to residents who were wounded during clashed with Israeli soldiers in Silwan, in East Jerusalem.
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Israeli police detain 4 teenagers in Jerusalem

Maan News Agency - Israeli police detained four Palestinian teenagers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud overnight, after what families described as invasive home searches that left apartments ransacked.

Those detained were identified by family members as 14-year-old Ahmad Abu Madhi, 16-year-old Yasin Abu Madhi, 16-year-old Ahmad Nabulsi, and 19-year-old Ibrahim Abu Madhi.
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Israeli tank fires on Palestinian in southern Gaza

Maan News Agency - Fire from an Israeli tank injured at least one man near the southern Gaza border Monday, witnesses told Ma'an.

An Israeli tank fired several shells near Gaza International Airport, reports said.

Gaza emergency services’ spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya confirmed that one man was moderately injured and evacuated to the Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said tanks operating as part of "routine activity along the security fence" in southern Gaza identified a "group of militants that had been involved in a number of terror attacks against IDF soldiers."

She said the tank fired a number of shells toward the group and "identified a hit."

In a statement released early afternoon Monday, the National Resistance Brigades said fighters operating east of Rafah fired rocket-propelled grenades toward Israeli tanks. The group is the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine....
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Medics report one dead in Israeli airstrike

Maan News Agency - One resistance fighter was killed and two others injured, medics said, in what local sources said was an Israeli air strike targeting a group of militants east of Gaza city shortly after nine o'clock Sunday evening.

Shells were said to have been fired by Israeli forces toward a second location near the border of the central Gaza Strip, officials said.

Medics said crews evacuated three fighters from the northern area, bringing them to the Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City...
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Video: Israeli forces seize 11-year-old boy

Maan News Agency - A resident of the West Bank village of Nabi Salih videoed Israeli forces chasing and detaining an 11-year-old child.

The footage, from late January, shows two Israeli border police officers chasing Karim Tamimi, who turns to a woman in the street for help.

The woman repeatedly pleads to the police in Hebrew, "he is a boy," but the forces drag him to a van.

Two minutes into the video, the child's mother rushes to the van and begs the police to give back her son, and a third officer pushes her away....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fresh airstrike targets Gaza home

Maan News Agency - Israeli F16 fighter jets launched the sixth air strike of the day on Gaza on Saturday afternoon, witnesses said.

The most recent strike hit Ahmad Abu Shareb's home, east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Abu Shareb told Ma'an the Israeli army told him to evacuate his home prior to the shelling. No injuries were reported.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, warplanes struck three targets in the southern Gaza Strip leaving at least two Palestinians injured.

The first hit an open space between Rafah and Khan Younis, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said two people were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Two more airstrikes came minutes after the first targeting two security sites belonging to the Hamas-run government in Rafah, which is near the Egyptian border.

A family of four, including an 18-month-old girl, were lightly wounded, after their vehicle was hit by shrapnel as they were driving by one of the targets, Abu Salmiya told AFP....
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Settlers attack Palestinian village in the West Bank, Torch vehicle

IMEMC - For the second day in a raw, a group of fundamentalist settlers of the Yitzhar illegal settlement, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, invaded on Saturday at dawn Burin Palestinian village, and torched a vehicle that belongs to a local resident.

Eyewitnesses reported that the settlers torched the vehicle of resident Bashir Al Zibin, and also torched his front yard.

On Friday at dawn, the settlers invaded the village and torched a bulldozer that belongs resident Ibrahim Eshtayya.

The two attacks are part of a series of attacks carried out by Jewish settlers against several villages in the Nablus district.

Yitzhar settlement was built on Palestinian lands in southern Nablus, and were illegally expropriated by the Israeli government in 1983.

The settlement of Bracha was also built on lands that belong to residents of Burin village, north of Nablus. Israel confiscated 300 Dunams owned by residents of the village in order to build the illegal settlement.

Iraq Burin is subject to frequent attacks carried out by the settlers who are frequently protected by the Israeli army. Most of The village’s lands are off-limits to the residents due to illegal settlements and settlement outposts.
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Israeli F16 fighter jets launch a series of airstrikes on targeting the Gaza Strip

Maan News Agency - Israeli F16 fighter jets launched two fresh airstrikes on targets in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon leaving at least two Palestinians injured.

The first hit an open space between Rafah and Khan Younis, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said two people were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.

Two more airstrikes came minutes after the first targeted two security sites belonging to the Hamas-run government in Rafah, which is near the Egyptian border....
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Israeli forces fire on Palestinians in Jerusalem

Maan News Agency - Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas at Palestinians in East Jerusalem on Friday.

The confrontations was mainly in Silwan, but clashes also erupted in the Bustan neighborhood, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Forces fired tear gas at demonstrators outside a protest tent after Friday prayers, the reporter said. No injuries were reported.
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Israel violently represses village protest

IMEMC - In the weekly non-violent anti-wall protest in al-Ma'sara village, protestors faced violence from Israeli soldiers, on Friday.
Participants attempted to reach the Annexaton wall where their land is located, but were prevented from doing so by the military. Soldiers used sound bombs as a means to disperse the crowd.

The participants in the march raised Palestinian flags and banners bearing slogans condemning attacks on Palestinians and the existance of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

Participants also chanting slogans in support of political unity.
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Israel strikes southern Gaza wounding four

IMEMC - Palestinian medical sources reported on Thursday evening after the Israeli Air Force fired missiles at a Palestinian vehicle driving in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The strike took place in Al Salaam neighborhood in Rafah; several missiles were fired at the vehicle wounding the four bystanders and causing damage to nearby homes and property.

The four residents were moderately wounded and were moved to Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah.

The persons who were in the targeted vehicles managed to escape the scene unharmed, local sources reported....
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Report: 1 fighter, 3 civilians killed; 17 wounded by Israeli forces this week

IMEMC - In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 17 – 23 February 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 3 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip this week. A Palestinian resistance activist was killed and 6 others and 3 civilian bystanders, including two children, were wounded by Israeli artillery shelling in Gaza City.

Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian workers were wounded. Israeli forces abducted 3 Palestinian fishermen in Khan Yunis.

Israeli forces continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 8 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded. Israeli forces abducted 15 Palestinian civilians, including 9 children, and two international human rights defenders....
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Israeli forces fire on hundreds of protesters in the West Bank

Maan News Agency - Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets at protesters in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday afternoon, where clashes left at least nine people injured, Palestinian medics and the Israeli army said.

Four international activists and two Palestinians were detained, organizers said. The military said that only one person was arrested.

The Palestinians injured by rubber-coated bullets were transferred to the Hebron and Al-Ahli hospitals, Red Crescent officials said. The Israeli army also said five border police officers were injured.

The demonstration, which called for the reopening of one of the city's main streets, came on the anniversary of the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinians in Hebron by a Jewish extremist.

Protesters, who waved Palestinian flags chanting "Down with the occupation!" and "Hebron is Palestinian," said they were trying to reopen central Shuhada (Martyrs) Street, once home to the city's main market...
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

US veto of UN resolution not in Israel's best interests

Information Clearing House - Last Friday the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council Resolution condemning Israel's continued expansion of settlements in the occupied territory of the West Bank. The resolution didn't question Israel's legitimacy, didn't declare that "Zionism is racism," and didn't call for a boycott or sanctions. It just said that the settlements were illegal and that Israel should stop building them, and called for a peaceful, two-state solution with "secure and recognized borders. The measure was backed by over 120 countries, and 14 members of the security council voted in favor. True to form, only the United States voted no.
There was no strategic justification for this foolish step, because the resolution was in fact consistent with the official policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson. All of those presidents has understood that the settlements were illegal and an obstacle to peace, and each has tried (albeit with widely varying degrees of enthusiasm) to get Israel to stop building them.

Yet even now, with the peace process and the two-state solution flat-lining, the Obama administration couldn't bring itself to vote for a U.N. resolution that reflected the U.S. government's own position on settlements. The transparently lame explanation given by U.S. officials was that the security council isn't the right forum to address this issue. Instead, they claimed that the settlements issue ought to be dealt with in direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and that the security council should have nothing to say on the issue.

This position is absurd on at least two grounds....
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Murder of Palestinian highlights Israeli judicial discrimination

According to the Israeli law system, if you’re an Arab and you beat a Jew to death, you’re a murderer. But if you’re Jewish and you stab an Arab, that’s manslaughter

Aletho News - Some 18 months ago, the country was outraged when Leonid Arik Carp, a resident of Ramat Aviv, was attacked by a gang of youth, while he was trying to protest his daughter from their molestation. Carp was savagely beaten, and later dies of his wounds. Three of his assailants were charged with murder; in a highly unusual move, four others were charged with failing to provide Carp with aid. The whole affair had a clear racist tinge, with the media – and the poisonous replies – focusing on the fact that the attackers were a group of Israeli Arabs, accompanied by two Jewish girls, one of whom was an IDF soldier; the story quickly became that of violation of Jewish blood. Many people claimed Carp’s murder was a nationalistic lynch. Carp, it should be remembered, was attacked by blows, slaps and kicks.

About two weeks ago, a gang of four Orthodox Jews, two of them settlers, attacked Hussam Rwidi, and one of them slashed him to death with a razor. That, at least, is what the police suspects them of; we should keep in mind that the Carp murder suspects have yet to be convicted, and should be suspicious when the police claims it has a confession, in a country where interrogators are prosecuted for torture and where cops caught lying on the witness stand routinely return to duty, unpunished. According to the police, the murder of Rwidi was, at least in part, nationalistically-motivated: Rwidi was chosen as victim since he spoke Arabic, hence identifying himself as a member of the lower race. Palestinians claim – those claims should also be viewed with caution – that the assault began with the cries of “death to Arabs”. Later, says the police, two of the attackers were arrested while trying to dispose of the murder weapon, at the request of the murderer...
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Israeli military abducts two children

IMEMC - On Thursday morning, the Israeli soldiers abducted two Palestinian children from the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, and searched several houses.

Mohammad Awad, Media spokesman for the Palestinian Solidarity Project, stated that the Israeli occupation abducted Omar ‘Alkam,15 years old, and Mohanad Sabarna,17, after invading their houses and ransacking their belongings.

Security Sources reported to Palestine News Agency ‘WAFA’, that the Israeli military invaded the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, and searched many houses. These houses belong to Ismael abu Sobha, Mohamad Moghnem, Ibrahim al-Hlais and ‘Adel Nassar.

Furthermore, the Israeli army invaded Hebron, town of Halhoul, Sa’er, al-Fawwar Refugee Camp; stopped Palestinian citizens’ vehicles and checked the identities of Passengers.
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Israel destroys agricultural lands in the West Bank

Maan News Agency - Israeli bulldozers tore up recently cultivated agricultural lands north of Salfit on Thursday morning, mayor of the nearby Deir Istiya village told Ma'an.

Starting a few hours after sunrise, Mayor Nathmi Suleiman said, the bulldozers entered the village, accompanied by Israeli forces, and began destroying a stone fence separating fields in the Qattan Al-Jame area west of the village.

During its work, the bulldozer ripped out several olive trees, and obliterated the half-meter high hand-crafted stone wall....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Update: Israeli strikes hit Gaza overnight

Maan News Agency - Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes on multiple locations in the Gaza Strip overnight, injuring two near Gaza City in the first round of bombings shortly after 11 p.m.

Injuries were reported in the first strike, which hit the Az-Zaytoun neighborhood east of Gaza city, while the Abu Jarad neighborhood to the south was pummeled with four strikes.

Local officials called the series of strikes an "escalation," saying that Israeli forces have operated with increased aggression since a Wednesday morning attack on a patrol which entered Gaza territory in the area where the second strike hit...
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Airstrikes reported across Gaza

Maan News Agency - Maan reports that Israel is bombing Gaza City

Settlement cages in Palestinian home

Mondoweiss - The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel's 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement.

The family's 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard (meter) passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill. The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high (8-meter) heavy-duty metal fence.

The same fence rings the simple one-story house, separating it from the surrounding settlement houses. Some of those dwellings are so close that the family can hear the insults shouted by a nearby Jewish neighbor.

While al-Ghirayibs' situation is unusual, Palestinians say it reflects the pressures put on their communities by Israel's more than 120 West Bank settlements....
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Settlers vandalize Palestinian property in the West Bank

IMEMC - The Ma’an News Network reports that Israeli settlers burnt two Palestinian cars, south of Nablus.

Israeli settlers from the settlement of Bracha allegedly set fire to the cars in the village of Burin and threw a Molotov cocktail into a home, apparently causing some damage but no injuries. The cars, which belonged to Abdul Salam Abdul Hameed and Khaled Walid Taher were damaged irreparably by the incident.
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Israel shells Gaza injuring 11, including 3 children

Maan News Agency - An Israeli shell hit east of Gaza City on Wednesday afternoon, with initial reports saying 11 were left injured, including three members of an armed group and three children, witnesses said.

The shelling came moments after four Israeli bulldozers and four tanks entered into the Gaza Strip, apparently preparing to tear up agricultural lands along the occupied border zone.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, issued a statement shortly after the incident saying two mortar shells were fired on the bulldozers and tanks as they entered the Gaza border.

Medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said ambulances were dispatched to the area to collect the wounded. He said 11 were taken to hospital, including three members of the Al-Quds Brigades, and three children.

According to Abu Salmiya, two sustained serious injuries, five sustained moderate injuries and four were lightly injured....
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Israel bars aid from reaching homeless Bedouin

Maan News Agency - Residents of the tiny Bedouin hamlet of Amniyr crowded into a small cave in the rocky hills south of Hebron to sleep on Wednesday night, after their tent homes were destroyed by Israeli demolition crews claiming the hamlet as state land.

Village elder Hajj Mahmoud said the three families that live in the area spent the day in the open air, trying to salvage items from the buried heaps left by Israeli demolition crews.

Hajj Mahmoud said the International Committee for the Red Cross had attempted to deliver aid and supplies, after calls from residents and observers from the Christian Peacemaker Teams to provide new shelters.

The elder said he was unsure what the ICRC had brought, however, because Israeli troops prevented ICRC crews from unloading the supplies.

An informed official in Hebron confirmed to Ma'an that the ICRC encountered difficulties delivering the supplies, which were sent back.

An attempt was made to deliver several housing kits, food and blankets to the families, the official said, adding that it was the first time such a delivery had been barred....
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Israeli forces shoot Gaza man in leg

Maan News Agency - A 22-year-old Palestinian man was injured by Israeli fire on Wednesday afternoon, telling medics he was shot while collecting construction aggregates east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Medical sources in Gaza identified the victim as Nidhal Halwa from the Wadi Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City. They said he was shot in the left leg and was being treated.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the shooting was a "usual incident," adding that forces stationed on the border zone acted according to military protocol.

Soldiers opened fire to "drive away suspects" in the area, and when the group continued operating soldiers fired at their lower bodies and identified a direct hit on one of the men, the spokeswoman said.
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Explosion kills young girl in southern Gaza

Maan News Agency - A young girl died and three others were injured Wednesday by an explosion in southern Gaza, medics said.

Rula Nashasi, 10, was taken along with the three others to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, medical officials said.

It was not clear what caused the blast.

Earlier, an Israeli shell hit east of Gaza City injuring 11 including three members of an armed group and three children, witnesses said. Israel's army said Palestinians fired a shell toward a force inside Gaza as well as five others into Israeli territory.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Israeli army bulldozes over 230 olive trees near Bethlehem

IMEMC - The Palestine News Network reports that the Israeli army bulldozed over 230 olive trees near Bethlehem.

The trees were uprooted and confiscated by the army, who used bulldozers amongst other equipment. The land was cleared in the village of Jub'a, which is located to the south of Bethlehem. The land apparently belonged to the Abu Latifeh family. According to the PNN, trucks took the trees to an unknown location. Some 40 trees have also been removed from the village of Mishmas, it is alleged. Olive trees are regularly damaged or uprooted across the West Bank. Often extremist settlers vandalize and destroy Palestinian farmland, although trees are also often uprooted by the Israeli army.
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Report: 118,000 unemployed in Gaza

Maan News Agency - Over the final quarter of last year, 13,000 jobs were created in Gaza, bringing down the unemployment rate in the coastal enclave to 37.4 percent from nearly 40 percent earlier in the year.

A survey released Monday from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics showed a grim but improving situation in both the West Bank and Gaza, with numbers up, but showing glaring poverty in some areas.

According to the report, the average daily wage for workers in the West Bank was 86.8 shekels ($23), and only 59.9 shekels in Gaza ($16)....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Israeli troops open fire on Palestinian worker in Gaza

Palestine News Network - A Palestinian worker was injured on Monday when Israeli troops stationed east of Gaza City opened fire on him.

Palestinian sources said that a group of workers were collecting construction materials near Gaza City's eastern border with Israel when troops stationed there opened fire at them, injuring one.
Since Israel enforced its siege on Gaza five years ago and stopped allowing construction materials, Palestinian workers have been forced to approach the borders to collect rubble from homes destroyed by the Israeli army.

Palestinian sources said that since last November Israeli troops have killed two workers and injured 129 others trying to gather construction materials.

In related news, a series of overnight raids by the Israeli ended on Monday morning with the arrests of at least five Palestinians and the erection of several checkpoints around the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

In the village of Yatta, south of Hebron, Israeli soldiers arrested Muhammad Ahmed Abu Sabheh and Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Ubeid and took them to an unknown location after raiding their homes and searching their belongings. Local sources said the army set up at least two checkpoints around Hebron and stopped passing cars to check identifications.

Three Palestinian workers from the village Battir, near Bethlehem, were arrested during clashes in Jerusalem with Israeli troops. Nidal Mustafa Adwan, 27, Raed Ibrahim al-Qaysi, 37, and Hassan Muhammad Adwan, 34, were arrested for not carrying the correct permits....
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Report: 132 Palestinians have spent over 20 years in Israeli jails

Maan News Agency - The Detainees’ Ministry in the Gaza Strip said Monday that more than 132 Palestinian prisoners have spent over 20 years in Israeli jails.

Detainees Abdullah Judeh and Jihad Abdul Hadi entered their 21st year in prison on Monday, the ministry said.

Judeh, 43, from Ramallah, was sentenced to life in prison accused of involvement in attacks against Israel.

Hadi, 43, from Aqraba village in Nablus, is serving a 25-year sentence accused of affiliation with Hamas and opposing the occupation, a ministry statement said.

The ministry added that Abir Issa Atef, 33, marked her 11th year in Israeli detention on Monday. She is from Dura near Hebron, and sentenced to 16 years detention.

She was severely beaten during investigations at Talmond prison and her sight was damaged, the ministry said, adding that she suffers chronic headaches and backache.
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The FBI targets Palestine solidarity activists in New England

Break the Chains - On the early morning of February 10, Richard Hugus, a member of the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, received a knock on the door by a member of the FBI accompanied by a police detective. Richard asserted his right not to speak to the agent, who left behind a card identifying himself as agent David George. When Richard's lawyer called to find out why the FBI was trying to interrogate him, the agent replied that they were interested in discussing an article Richard had written in 2005/2006 and a letter to political prisoner Aafia Sidiqqui.

In light of the recent grand juries that have been convened targeting Palestine solidarity and anti-war activists across the country, this FBI activity in Boston should come as no surprise. For the NECDP, FBI repression is also nothing new. We have experienced repression from the FBI and ICE since our inception in 2002, when Amer Jubran was arrested by FBI and INS agents who showed up at his door the day after our first demonstration and demanded that he cooperate with their investigation or face disappearance and indefinite detention. "Please the ears of this gentleman," said the INS agent gesturing to the FBI, "or we'll let you rot for 50 years."

But while the FBI harassment is nothing new, a few things are worth noting about this latest development....
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Settlers destroy olive trees

IMEMC - The Ma'an News Agency reported, on Monday, that a group of settlers uprooted olive trees and damaged Palestinian farmland near Nablus.

The settlers destroyed 270 olive trees using chainsaws and other equipment, according to a PA official. The Palestine Telegraph gives a figure of 220 trees and notes that the settlers came from the Yush Adam settlement. Palestinians living nearby claim that the intention is to expand nearby settlement outposts.

Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official, stated that 100 of the trees belonged to Abdul-Razzaq Dawabsha, 100 belonged to Muhammad and Shahada Dawabsha and 70 belonged to Sabir Dawabsha.
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Israel furthers plans to annex occupied East Jerusalem

IMEMC - The Wadi Hilweh Information Center, based in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, has published an article raising their concerns over an scheduled project to encircle East Jerusalem with parks to complete the annexation of the entire city and much of the surrounding area in the West Bank.

The Center states that the Israeli ran Jerusalem Municipality has approved the project that will install nine new parks around the East side of the city over the next eight years, with an annual budget of NIS 60 million (over US$ 16.5 million).

In the process, large amounts of Palestinian owned lands in Wadi Hilweh, Wadi Rababa, and al-Bustan neighborhoods of Silwan, Sawwanah, near the Mount of Olives and the Old City will have have to be razed, leading to mass displacement of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem are considered protected persons, due to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967 and, as such, the transfer of the population, in part or whole, is illegal under international law.
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Israel philharmonic orchestra to be met with protest in the U.S

IMEMC - According to Adalah-NY, performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) will be met with protests in six of the seven cities where it is scheduled to appear during its U.S tour, during February and March.

Performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) will be met with protests in six of the seven cities where it is scheduled to appear during its U.S tour, during February and March.

Human rights advocates plan to protest the IPO’s role in whitewashing Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. The protests will be held in West Palm Beach, New York City, Newark, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Those involved in organizing the events are heeding the call by Palestinian civil society to boycott institutions that work to normalize Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

The growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel has gained momentum in recent years with more supporters worldwide, and performers like Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies all refusing to play in Israel....
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Opinion: For the US, ‘freedom’ in the Middle East amounts to the ‘liberty’ to bow to its hegemony

Mondoweiss - Omar Barghouti wrote this response after the US refused to issue him a visa for his upcoming speaking tour. Barghouti is the author of the upcoming book Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:

Ms. Clinton can sing the tunes of freedom all she wants when watching the news of Arab popular revolts from Morocco to Bahrain, but she is not fooling any average-intelligence person in the Arab world. US policy, especially after the veto cast yesterday against the most benign UN Security Council resolution, simply reiterating universal, long-held facts that Israel's colonial settlements are illegal and thwart just peace, is being exposed to the new generation of restive, fearless, freedom-aspiring Arab youth as the main cause of their oppression, of buttressing and protecting the tyrants that have denied them all freedoms for decades. It has long been exposed, too, as the key partner of Israel in its occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Without US largess, Israel's multi-tiered system of racist and colonial oppression cannot possibly survive.

Freedom, from the US establishment's perspective, amounts to the "liberty" to bow to their hegemony and accepting their multinationals' pillage of the world as fate. We shall continue to speak truth to power no matter what the consequences. We shall continue to struggle for nothing less than full freedom, full justice, full self determination, and full emancipation from US imperial hegemony.
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The United States stands alone with Israel in the UN security council

Richard Falk - In what appears to be as close to a consensus as the world community can ever hope to achieve, the United States reluctantly stood its ground on behalf of Israel and on February 18, 2011 vetoed a resolution on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that was supported by all 14 of the other members of the UN Security Council. The resolution was also sponsored by 130 member countries before being presented to the Council. In the face of such near unanimity the United States might have been expected to some respect for the views of every leading government in the world, including all of its closest European allies, to have had the good grace to at least abstain from the vote. Indeed, such an obstructive use of the veto builds a case for its elimination, or at least the placement of restrictions on its use. Why should an overwhelming majority of member countries be held hostage to the geopolitical whims of Washington, or in some other situation, an outlier member trying to shield itself or its ally from a Security Council decision enjoying overwhelming support. Of course this American veto is not some idiosyncratic whim, but is an expression of the sorry pro-Israeli realities of domestic politics, suggesting that it is Israel that is the real holder of the veto in this situation, and the U.S. Congress and the Israeli Lobby are merely designated as the enforcers...
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Settlers attack Palestinian residents in the West Bank

IMEMC - On Saturday, Israeli settlers attacked several citizens in the city of Hebron and the nearby town of Yatta.

An eyewitness reported that Nassar Mohammad al- Rajabi was wounded and suffered bruising to various parts of his body after being pelted with stones in al-Sahla region, in the old city of Hebron.

He added that the Carmel settlers attacked the residents of Um al-Khair region, hurled stones at them and threatened to continue to carry out a number of attacks to force the residents out of the area.

The illegal settlement of Carmel is located to the east of Yatta village.

Mu’tasim al-Hathalin, from the village of Khirbet Um Al-Kheir which is adjacent to Carmel settlement, said that a number of residents were repeatedly attacked by the Israeli settlers.

He voiced an appeal to human rights organizations to intervene to stop the ongoing violations, and provide the local residents with protection, particularly in the areas adjacent to the settlement and the apartheid wall.
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Israeli army opens fire on protesters wounding mayor and child

IMEMC - Palestinian medical sources reported, Saturday, that a child and the mayor of Beit Ummar town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, were wounded after the Israeli army opened fire at the weekly nonviolent protests against the Wall and settlements.

Medical sources reported that the mayor was shot in his left leg, while the child was mildly injured after being hit by fragments of a concussion grenade fired by the army.

The army attacked the nonviolent protests and fired rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets and gas bombs at the protesters.

Several residents were treated for the effects of teargas inhalation but did not require hospitalization.
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Israeli soldiers attack protesters, Ten Palestinians wounded

IMEMC - Palestinian Medical sources reported, Saturday, that ten residents were treated for the effects of teargas inhalation after Israeli soldiers attacked a nonviolent protest in Dir al-Ghsoun village, north of Tulkarem in the northern part of the West Bank.

Eyewitnesses reported that clashes took place when the army attacked the nonviolent protest against the separation and annexation wall, and fired rubber-coated metal bullets and gas bombs.

The protesters chanted slogans against the ongoing occupation, the annexation wall and settlements.

They also chanted for Palestinian unity and expressed anger towards the American veto against an UN resolution calling for the condemnation of Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the West Bank.
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Israeli army arrests 12 Palestinians at anti-wall rally

Maan News Agency - Israeli forces on Saturday detained 12 Palestinians at an anti-settlement rally in Beit Ummar near the West Bank city of Hebron.

Local popular committee spokesman Mohammad Awad said six demonstrators were injured when Israeli soldiers ambushed the protest.

Mayor Nasir Sabarneh was hit in the foot with a sound grenade and 12-year-old Ahmad Abu Hashem was shot in the hand and back with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Meanwhile, Awad said soldiers beat Muna Abu Maria, 44, Mohammad I'mar, 65, Hesham Abu Hashem, 42, and popular committee secretary Ahmad Aby Hashem. All sustained bruises, the spokesman said.

International activists joined locals to march from the town toward the illegal Karmi Tzur settlement. Protesters carried the Palestinian flag and chanted slogans denouncing the US veto on a UN anti-settlement resolution...
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Major UK union writes to Israeli ambassador regarding Palestinian children

Defense for Children International - On 17 February 2011, the University and College Union in the UK, which represents 120,000 academics, wrote to the Israeli ambassador in London regarding the situation facing children in Silwan. In the letter, the Union expresses its "horror at the continued assaults by the Israeli security forces on Palestinian children" and says these actions "can only be seen as a deliberate campaign of intimidation in connection with the continued construction of illegal settlements in the Silwan neighbourhood."

This letter follows the release of an Urgent Appeal to end the violation of the rights of children in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, by the Israeli authorities.
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Palestinians organize protests in response to US veto of UN settlements resolution

Maan News Agency - A top Fatah leader and former Palestinian intelligence official called Saturday for a "day of rage" against America after the Obama administration blocked a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

Tawfik Tirawi said Palestinians would protest next Friday, a week after the US directed its UN ambassador to kill the draft Security Council resolution even though the 14 other members of the 15-nation council voted in favor.

Tirawi told Ma’an that the move amounted to "blackmail" and exposed the true face of America as well as the extent to which its role in the Middle East peace process harmed Palestinian interests.

America's refusal to take a real stand against settlements, despite total opposition in the Security Council and longstanding US policy, shows "they are liars who pretend to support democracy and peace. Far from it."

Tirawi also said the Palestinians would continue to push for statehood even if they suffer a financial crisis absent US funding: "This will not affect our steadfastness and insistence on our rights."

Asked about the peace process, he said "there will be no negotiations with settlements."

Israeli officials took an alternative position, praising the vote as beneficial to peace....
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Israeli soldiers shoot at demonstrations, 8 protesters injured

IMEMC - Anti-Wall protests were organized this Friday in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in, Nabi Saleh, and al-Ma’ssara, located in the central and southern parts of the West Bank. Today, the theme of the protests was national unity among Palestinians.

In Bil’in, protesters marked the sixth anniversary of the weekly anti wall protest. As has been the case every Friday for the past six years, international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers and marched up to the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands.

Soldiers sprayed the marchers with “Skunk” water, fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at them. Five were injured. Troops also tried to abduct people after spraying pepper-spray in their eyes, but protesters managed to prevent the abductions, witnesses told PNN.

Hamza Burant, 18, was critically injured with live rounds, Ahamd Abu Rahma, 16, hit with a tear gas in the hand, while Kifah Manousr, 30, Fadi Omar, 30, Abdullah Yassen, 19, sustained minor injuries. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In 2007 the Israeli high court of justice ruled that the Annexation wall in Bil’in was illegal and should be re-routed, giving the villagers back half of the lands that were taken to build the wall. The army still refuses to implement the court order.

In Nabi Saleh, three protesters were injured and seven were arrested during an anti-Wall protest on Friday. Five of those arrested were Israelis and two Palestinians. The three injured were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets by the army.

In the village of Nil’in. villagers joined by Israeli and international supporters marched after midday prayers to the wall. A number of protesters suffered the ill effects of tear gas inhalation.

Near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, Al Ma’ssara villagers marched after the midday prayers and tried to reach the area where Israel is building the wall on land owned and farmed by the villagers. Soldiers stopped the march at the entrance of the village and forced people back using tear gas. Many were treated for the ill effects of tear gas inhalation.
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US vetoes UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion

IMEMC - Despite claims by US President Barack Obama that his administration is opposed to Israel's further takeover of land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for colonial settlements, the US representative to the United Nations Security Council vetoed a resolution Friday that would have opposed Israeli settlement expansion.

The resolution had the support of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the 14 other member states of the UN Security Council, but the US, which holds a permanent seat and veto power in the Security Council, used its veto power to prevent the resolution from going into effect.

This resolution called Israeli settlements in the West Bank 'illegal', and condemned thse settlements as an 'obstacle to peace'. Despite the fact that US President Barack Obama has himself called the settlements 'an obstacle to peace', and called on Israel to stop the expansion of land takeovers, the US prevented the resolution from passing.

An advisor to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters that US officials were on the phone with the Palestinian President for nearly an hour on Thursday, trying to convince him to accept some concessions and aid packages in exchange for dropping the resolution at the UN. The Palestinian President refused to back down on the resolution, which was then sent forward for a vote on Friday.

Abbas' advisor Nabil Abu Rdainah told reporters, "The American veto does not serve the peace process and encourages Israel to continue settlements, and to escape the obligations of the peace process."

Since 1993, when Israeli officials agreed in the Oslo Accords to stop building settlements in the West Bank, more than 200 settlements have been created or expanded, and over 300,000 Israeli civilians have been transferred into colonial settlements constructed on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Currently, over 500,000 Israelis live in settlements constructed on Palestinian land occupied by Israel since 1967. The other 4.5 million Israelis live on land that was confiscated from Palestinians in 1948 for the creation of the state of Israel.
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Zionism opposed to democracy

The Passionate Attachment - Despite the usual mantra about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East, it is quite apparent that the Jewish exclusivist state has been, and in fact must be, opposed to democracy in the Middle East. The fact that it is a state based on Jewish exclusivity means that it must treat the Palestinians in an undemocratic manner in both the occupied territories and in Israel itself, because the Palestinians pose an existential threat to the Jewish state by virtue of their very existence.

Moreover, the negative reaction of Israel and its devotees to the revolution for democracy in Egypt illustrates that Israel’s detrimental effect on democracy goes far beyond the boundaries of historic Palestine. Israeli leaders are terrified that this democratic revolution might bring about a radical change in Egypt’s foreign policy, since Mubarak had acquiesced to and actually in some ways facilitated Israel’s regional hegemony, which the general public neither in Egypt nor anywhere else in the Middle East would voluntarily support.

The same would apply to many of the other autocratic friends of the U.S. in the region, who have paid lip service to Palestinian rights simply to placate their people, while taking only half-hearted actions to advance their cause. As has been widely discussed, the democratic revolutionary fervor in Egypt is showing the potential of spreading throughout the region, which would not leave the issue of democracy and human rights for the oppressed and subjugated Palestinians unaffected...
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Friday, February 18, 2011

US consulate effectively cancels Palestinian author's book tour

Omar Barghouti, Leading Spokesperson of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) Campaign Against Israel, Kept from Entering U.S. for Book Release Tour
Despite Obama Administration's Promise to Not Engage in "Ideological Exclusion" Prevalent in Bush Era
Common Dreams - Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has inexplicably delayed the granting of a visa for Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign, due to tour the United States this April for the release of his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.

Nobel Peace Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the book "lucid and morally compelling... perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.” Former President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann called it "timely and responsibly written by a man who understands that creative nonviolence is the only way out of the dire situation in Palestine."”

In recent years, numerous foreign scholars and experts have been subject to visa delays and denials that have prohibited them from speaking and teaching in the U.S.—a process the American Civil Liberties Union describes as “Ideological Exclusion,” which they say violates Americans’ First Amendment right to hear constitutionally protected speech by denying foreign scholars, artists, politicians and others entry to the United States. Foreign nationals who have recently been denied visas include Fulbright scholar Marixa Lasso; Iraqi doctor Riyadh Lafta, who disputed the official Iraqi civilian death numbers in the respected British medical journal The Lancet; respected South African scholar and vocal Iraq War critic Dr. Adam Habib, and Oxford’s Tariq Ramadan, who have both recently received visas to speak in the United States after many years of delays and denials....
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Israeli army demolishes mosque

IMEMC - Israeli soldiers demolished on Thursday a mosque located in Khirbit Yirza, near the West Bank city of Tubas, and also removed 10 tents used by farmers and shepherds in the area.

Local sources reported that several Israeli military jeeps invaded the village and demolished the mosque for the second time in six months.

After demolishing the mosque and the tents, soldiers also handed orders for the demolition of three homes and animal sheds.

Also, army bulldozers demolished ten tin-houses in Bardala area, near Tubas. This is the second attack of its nature against the village.

The ten tin-houses were initially demolished by the army several weeks ago, and the residents rebuilt them.

The area in question is in the Jordan valley, a main target to the construction of Jewish settlements due to the fertile nature of the lands and the sensitive geographical location.
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PCHR weekly report: right-wing Israelis kill Palestinian civilian, Israeli troops wound 6

IMEMC - In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 10 – 16 February 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that a Palestinian civilian was killed by a gang of Jewish Israeli youth in Jerusalem. 4 Palestinian workers, including a child, were wounded by Israeli forces targeting Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded by Israeli forces who used force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

On Friday morning, 11 December 2011, Hussam Hussein al-Rwaidhi, 24, from Jerusalem, was killed by a number of Jewish young men, when he was on his way home from work in West Jerusalem. While he was walking with his friend, Khader al-Joulani, on a street in West Jerusalem, a Jewish young man stabbed him in the face. Soon after, other Jewish young men gathered and violently beat him. He died of his injuries a few hours later.

In his testimony to PCHR, Khader al-Joulani stated: "When we left our work, we were surprised by two Jewish young men. They provoked and insulted us. One of them then took out a knife and hits Hussam on his face. More Jewish young men gathered and violently beat him and me. I was injured in the neck. When the attackers fled, I asked for help from a nearby restaurant, but the staff refused to help us. I called the police. An ambulance arrived then and evacuated Hussam to the hospital, but he died a few hours later."...
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Israeli bulldozers raze Palestinian land in Jerusalem

IMEMC - The Wadi Hilweh Information Center reports that Israeli bulldozers cleared a tract of Palestinian land in Sheikh Jarrah yesterday.

Landowner Khalil Abu Taa’ has been fighting a lengthy legal battle for the land since 1978 and has since been issued several orders by the Israeli Magistrates Court prohibiting him from using the one dunum of land in question, which is used for planting fruit trees.

Abu Taa possessed both Turkish and Jordanian deeds to the land, yet he has found it impossible to convince authorities of his case.

“We have received several orders from the Israeli courts prohibiting my family and I from working the land,” he says. “This culminated in the demolition of a room that had stood on the land since 1940 and 50 olive, cypress, almond and apricot trees. A 9 meter-high wire fence demarcating the land from the Government House was also removed.”

The removed fence was built in 1995 as part of a Magistrates Court decision to enable the family to use the land. Then in 2008 they were prevented from accessing the area when the land was fenced with a new barbed wire barrier...
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Israeli forces arrest Palestinian boy

Maan News Agency - Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian boy from a village near Hebron, a Ma'an correspondent said Friday.

Muhammad Oweiweih said Mahmoud Ahmad Mahmoud Al-Alami, 21, was seized from his home in the Beit Ummar village.

Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad said soldiers chased the boy to the house, which they raided. A loud dispute erupted between the homeowners and soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades, Awad said.

Soldiers took the boy to a military base in Gush Etzion, Awad said.
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Top genocide scholars debate how to characterize Israel's actions in 1948

The Jewish Daily Forward - Did Jews commit genocide in 1948?

The question is provocative, and the answer for most people is an unequivocal no. But a debate over this idea has formed the crux of a heated argument among the most eminent genocide scholars in the world, and led recently to the censure of an Israeli professor by the field’s leading academic association.

It’s also one more reminder of the growing divide between European scholars and their American and Israeli counterparts when it comes to how they view Israel, both historically and in the present moment.

The debate began in the pages of a scholarly publication, the Winter 2010 issue of the Journal of Genocide Research. Two specialists in genocide, Omer Bartov of Brown University and Martin Shaw of Roehampton University, in London, engaged in a back-and-forth exchange about whether the word “genocide” could be applied to the expulsion and killing of Arabs in Palestine during Israel’s War of Independence. During the course of the war, more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes and were later prevented from returning, creating what would become one of the world’s most enduring refugee crises.

Both Bartov and Shaw agreed that some form of what is now called “ethnic cleansing” did occur. But where Bartov was not willing to think of this as genocide, Shaw confidently argued that any policies meant to destroy a group, even if not outright murder, should be seen as genocide....
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The important consequences of Egypt's revolution

Counterpunch, Esam Al-Amin - Historians and political scientists study revolutions and analyze their impact, not only on their societies, where the political, economic, and social order is fundamentally transformed, but also on neighboring countries and beyond.

The Egyptian revolution, though still in its infancy, promises to be such a phenomenon. Admitting its historic nature was none other than the U.S. President, Barack Obama, who lauded the Egyptians as having “inspired us,” and praised their revolution, which he said represented a “moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice.”

He further added, “The word Tahrir means liberation. It’s a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom.” He went on to describe the momentous event and its impact on the world, saying, “And forever more it will remind us of the Egyptian people-of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world.”

Like similar great historical events, the triumph of the Egyptian revolution will have direct and significant consequences on the country, the region, and the world. Unsurprisingly some of the conditions that factored considerably in the success of the revolution have now become facts on the ground, such as the larger role of youth and women in politics and public life. Thus they are discussed here as well. Here are some of the most important consequences of Egypt’s revolution:

NYT Mistates U.S. Record on UN Vetoes

FAIR Blog - The New York Times has a curious reference today concerning the White House's strategy on a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israeli settlements:

The new White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said Thursday that he would not say whether the United States would invoke its rarely used veto power in the Council.

The United States vetoes Security Council resolutions more often than any other country. (The Soviet Union once racked up an impressive record in a short amount of time, but since 1970 or so the United States has led by a wide margin.)

Many of those vetoes concern resolutions critical of Israel--by now, this is fairly well-known, well-documented phenomenon.

Is it opposite day?
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New wikileak shows cease fire was working well prior to 2008 Israeli offensive

Political Correction - Back at the end of 2008 when the Israeli government launched its war against Hamas-controlled Gaza, it insisted that it had no choice: Hamas had not maintained the cease-fire with Israel and the IDF had no choice but to respond.

But a WikiLeak cable released yesterday indicates the cease-fire was working well, perhaps too well from the point of view of Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

A secret cable, sent by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department reports that Barak had told Egyptian officials that the cease-fire (it is referred to by the Arabic term, tahdiya) was working fine.

Quoting an Israeli official, David Hacham, the cable reports:

Regarding the Tahdiya, Hacham said [that] Barak stressed that while it was not permanent, for the time being it was holding. There have been a number of violations of the ceasefire on the Gaza side, but Palestinian factions other than Hamas were responsible. Hacham said the Israelis assess that Hamas is making a serious effort to convince the other factions not to launch rockets or mortars. Israel remains concerned by Hamas' ongoing efforts to use the Tahdiya to increase their strength, and at some point, military action will have to be put back on the table. The Israelis reluctantly admit that the Tahdiya has served to further consolidate Hamas' grip on Gaza, but it has brought a large measure of peace and quiet to Israeli communities near Gaza....
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Israeli forces detain 10 overnight

Maan News Agency - Israeli forces detained ten Palestinians from regions across the West Bank in the early hours of Thursday morning, taking the men for "security questioning," a military official told Ma'an.

In the Nablus area, local sources said Bashir Zamel was detained from his home in the eastern part of the city, while a raid on the village of Beit Wazan saw Ahmad Said Saleh, 36, and the An-Najah university student Sameh Hatem Abu Eisha, 22, detained.

Witnesses said soldiers conducting the raids caused severe damage to the property of the detainees, and threw sound grenades into homes...
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Video: Israeli Police Arrest 11-year-old boy

DCI – DCI-Palestine continues to receive reports of an increase in the number of children being arrested from the West Bank village of An Nabi Salih. The village is situated approximately 15 kilometres north of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, and is adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish.

In or about January 2010, the settlement expanded, and more land from Nabi Salih was confiscated, giving rise to Friday protests by the villagers. As is often the case, these protests start peacefully, and end up with an exchange of tear gas, rubber bullets, sometimes live ammunition [fired by Israeli forces] and stones [thrown by a small number of Palestinian children]. The above video clip and voices give a glimpse into life in occupied An Nabi Salih.

In a recent report issued by DCI-Palestine, there was a finding that Palestinian child detainees reported some form of abuse occurring inside a settlement in 47.5% of cases.

Related information:

Voices – Arrest of a 15-year-old boy from An Nabi Salih in January 2011
Detention Bulletin (January 2011)

Report: 32 Children Arrested by Israeli troops in February

Palestine News Network - The Palestinian Ministry of Information issued a report on Thursday stating that Israeli troops arrested 32 Palestinian children from the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the first two week of February.

The report noted that 320 children remain in Israeli military detention, facing torture and blackmail by Israeli interrogators.

The Ministry of Information added that Israeli military courts had extended that detainment of many of the children, and that 75 chgildren from East Jerusalem were put under home arrests.

Furthermore the report shows that 15 children were injured by settler attacks in the West Bank in the first two weeks of February.
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Israeli Bulldozers Destroy al-Araqib Village for Twentieth Time

Palestine News Network - One day after Israeli bulldozers destroyed the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev Desert of southern Israel for the nineteenth time, they returned to demolish it again, according to a report from the Palestine Information Center. Residents returned and pledged to rebuild.

After bulldozers showed up, accompanying Israeli soldiers shot rubber bullets at several Bedouin protesters, resulting in two injuries. The local Committee for Unrecognized Villages head said more protests would be organized in nearby Beersheba.

The village is neither recognized nor licensed by the Israeli state and has been demolished as a result twenty times in the last eight months. It was first demolished on July 27, 2010 and most recently on February 16. On January 16, Israeli troops confiscated building materials in an attempt to thwart al-Araqib’s residents from rebuilding the village, but they went ahead anyway.

About 155,000 Bedouins live in “unrecognized villages” throughout present-day Israel, many of which predate the state itself. The Jewish National Fund has planned to plant trees in place of the razed villages as part of the “Blueprint Negev” campaign.
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Israeli Missile Strike Kills Three in Gaza

Palestine News Network - Three men were slain on early Thursday morning when an Israeli missile struck the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Medical sources said the dead men were fishermen Ashraf Qatayfan, 29, Jihad Khalef, 21, and Talat al-Ruwagh, 25. The missile came from an Israeli warship in the early hours of the morning and killed all three immediately. The bodies were taken to Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya.

The bodies were “heavily deformed” from the strike, said medical sources. One eyewitness said an Israeli warplane had also taken part in the attack, while some sources told Reuters that Israeli gunfire caused the deaths.

According to Reuters, no Gaza militant group had yet claimed the slain men as members. Witnesses told Reuters that they had heard gunfire overnight.

The Israeli army released a statement saying that the strike was in response to five rockets that had been fired from Gaza toward towns in southern Israel...
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Meet the IDF Facebook-Twitter Commando

Arutz Sheva - It is well known nowadays that what happens on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has great influence on events as they occur on the ground. The Internet, too, is a battleground. It is thus comforting to learn that the IDF employs soldiers whose job is to Tweet, Share, Like and more.

Arutz Sheva met the soldiers of the IDF Spokesman's Unit New Media desk on another routine day in which they surf the Web's blogs and social networks. The desk was founded when two soldiers came up with the initiative to open a YouTube channel during Operation Cast Lead...
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Middle East Protests and Crackdowns and the (Varying) U.S. Responses to Each

ProPublica Blog - As protests—and crackdowns—have been rippling through the Middle East, the U.S. response has varied by country.

For instance, while the Obama administration has been vocal about events in Iran, it has been relatively quiet about violence by pro-government forces in Yemen. Here’s a brief look at what’s happening in some key countries—and the U.S.’s response in each...
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As Hillary Talks About Tolerating Free Expression, Police in Front of Her Brutalize Ray McGovern for Turning His Back

War is a Crime - As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday about the failures of foreign leaders to respect people's freedoms, a 71-year-old U.S. veteran Army officer, a man who spent 27 years in the CIA and delivered presidential daily briefs, a peace activist and proponent of nonviolence [and cancer survivor], the man who famously confronted Donald Rumsfeld for his war lies... our friend Ray McGovern turned his back in silence.

As Clinton continued to speak about respecting the rights of protesters, her guards -- including a uniformed policeman and an unidentified plain-clothed official -- grabbed Ray, dragged him off violently, brutalized him, double-cuffed him with metal handcuffs, and left him bleeding in jail. As he was hauled away (see video), Ray shouted "So this is America?" Clinton went right on mouthing her hypocrisies without a pause... More details, photos, video, and action alert

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Palestinian Detainees Report Grim Prison Conditions

Maan News Agency - The Detainees Center in Nablus celebrated Tuesday the release of four men from the northern West Bank, while centers in Ramallah continued to report mistreatment of some of the 7,000 Palestinians who remain incarcerated in Israel...

From the Ramallah Prisoners Center, officials said a document was received from the Ar-Ramla prison hospital, saying candies given to admitted patients from their peers in the prisons they were transferred from were being confiscated.

The letter said the confiscation was a shift in policy.

The center also reported the deteriorating health of long-term prisoner, Issam Jandal. The Jerusalem native was sentenced to a life term, and has since been diagnosed with cardiac difficulties and asthma.

Basic treatment, the letter said, had not improved Jandal's condition...
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At Clinton Speech: Veteran Bloodied, Bruised and Arrested for Standing Silently

Partnership for Civil Justice - As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her speech at George Washington University yesterday condemning governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was grabbed from the audience in plain view of her by police and an unidentified official in plain clothes, brutalized and left bleeding in jail. She never paused speaking. When Secretary Clinton began her speech, Mr. McGovern remained standing silently in the audience and turned his back. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army officer who also worked as a C.I.A. analyst for 27 years, was wearing a Veterans for Peace t-shirt.

Blind-sided by security officers who pounced upon him, Mr. McGovern remarked, as he was hauled out the door, "So this is America?" Mr. McGovern is covered with bruises, lacerations and contusions inflicted in the assault.

Mr. McGovern is being represented by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). "It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the U.S. government's supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech," stated attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the PCJF.

Mr. McGovern now works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
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Undercover Israeli Army breaks into home of Palestinian MP

IMEMC - Undercover forces of the Israeli army broke on Wednesday into the home of Jerusalem Legislator, Ahmad Attoun, and detained his brother, Jihad, and his cousin.

Attoun, as well other elected legislators and officials, is threatened with deportation from Jerusalem.

He said that the army stormed his home and his father’s home on Wednesday afternoon, destroyed the furniture and properties of the two buildings, and severed all communications.

The legislator described the attack as “a savage act that only reflects the criminal mentality of the Israeli army”.

Lawmakers affiliated with the Hamas movement in the occupied West Bank slammed the attack and stated that despite all attacks and violations, Israel is failing in achieving its goals of expelling elected officials and political leaders from the city.

Furthermore, the International Campaign for the Release of Kidnapped Legislators, issued a statement denouncing the attack and the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinians and their elected officials.

The Campaign called for coordinated international efforts to stop the Israeli illegal measures against the lawmakers and the legitimate elected leaders.
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Israel demolishes Bedouin village

Maan News Agency - Israel demolished a Bedouin village on Wednesday, as protesters defied orders declaring it a closed zone.

Demonstrators and residents refused to leave a cemetery even as Israeli forces moved in to enforce the closed-zone order.

The village of Al-Arakib, in Israel's Negev desert, has been declared unrecognized and demolished repeatedly since 2010. Wednesday's demolition was the eighteenth since Israel first moved to enforce the order.

Taleb As-Sana, an Israeli lawmaker and head of the Arab Democratic Party, condemned the latest demolition.

As-Sana told Ma'an that the village would remain "a thorn in the throat of the Israeli government."

"The entire Arab world stands in solidarity with the residents of Al-Arakib," he added.
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Defense for Children Reports Arrest of 31 Palestinian Children

Defense for Children International - Israel forces arrested 31 Palestinian Children recently, accusing them of stones. Among the arrested children were:

Odai G. – On 1 February 2011, a 10-year-old boy from Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, is arrested at 5:00 am by Israeli soldiers.

Hasan R. – On 25 January 2011, a 13-year-old boy from Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reports being beaten and interrogated in the absence of a parent.

Abed S. – On 24 January 2011, a 13-year-old boy from Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, is arrested from his bed at 4:30 am, and interrogated in the absence of a parent.

Mahmoud A. – On 21 January 2011, a 10-year-old boy from Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, reports being beaten and detained for questioning....
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Did Hillary investigate whistleblower’s charges against new AfPak Envoy Marc Grossman?

Council for the National Interest, Philip Giraldi - Hillary Clinton plans to name retired diplomat Marc Grossman as the new U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Some might well recall the Grossman saga as related by FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in 2009. According to Edmonds, a former FBI translator, Marc Grossman, who had been U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, was involved in suspected illegal activity connected to the Turkish and Israeli governments and was under investigation by the FBI.

Below is an excerpt from my 2009 interview with Edmonds:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Israel to build 120 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem

IMEMC - Plans to build 120 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem were approved on Monday.
Jerusalem's municipal council has approved plans to add two new tranches of homes to the Jewish settlement of Ramot in East Jerusalem. One permit authorizes the addition of 64 units and the other the remaining 56.

East Jerusalem is part of the occupied territory seized by Israel during the 1967 war. All settlements in this area, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, is due to visit shortly and has noted that further building of this sort harms the peace process. In a statement, made recently, she condemned settlements as "an obstacle to peace".

She further noted that, "[r]ecent settlement-related developments, including in east Jerusalem, contradict efforts by the international community for successful negotiations." The municipal authority's decision on the matter is final and building will commence.
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Israeli BDS Activists Call on Artists to Boycott Israeli Music Festival

IMEMC - Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists have urged international artists who are slated to perform in the International Red Sea Chamber Music Festival in Eilat, Israel next month to cancel their appearances.

The festival is to take place from March 17-26 and it is expected to attract prominent musicians from Europe.

In an email to the members of the international orchestra iPalpiti, the activists listed several well-known people who have boycotted Israel, such as South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, director Ken Loach and guitarist John Williams.

The 15 people who signed the letter argued that if the festival takes place as planned, it will help Israel present an image of normalcy. They also pointed out that the event is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bank Hapoalim.

Festival organizers responded by saying that iPalpiti has announced it has rejected the call to boycott.
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Israeli foreign ministry organizes propaganda campaign

The Guardian, Richard Silverstein - The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it's going on but usually the process happens through cyber insurgents like those involved with Giyus (and its media monitoring software, Megaphone). Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to flood news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A reader of my blog has received the following email which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a pro-Israel "media volunteer" also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like addressed by pro-Israel comments:

"Dear friends,

We hold the [sic] military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it's a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote – the more likely we gain positive sentiment.

I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you're up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets.

If you wish to participate, please respond to this email."....

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Overnight Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians

Maan News Agency -Israeli forces detained 18 Palestinians from across the West Bank overnight Monday, an army spokeswoman said.

Palestinian Authority police reported that soldiers raided Beituniya village near Ramallah and detained Akram Al-Hafi and Ramiz Dyab.

Police reported that Israeli troops raided Ya'bod village near Jenin and detained Jihad Amarneh, Bassam Amarneh and Aziz Amarneh.

In Azzun, a village in the Qalqiliya district, forces detained Ahmad Hussein, 18, and Ayman Hussein, 19, after breaking into their homes, police said....
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Settlers shoot and injure Palestinian teen near Nablus

Maan News Agency -Settlers on Tuesday shot and injured a Palestinian teenager near the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian Authority officials said.

Residents of the illegal Kida settlement shot Wa'el Mahmud Ayed, 17, in his abdomen as he plowed his land near Jalud village, said Ghassan Doughlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank.

Doughlas said Ayed was transferred to the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Read More

Monday, February 14, 2011

Analysis: Israel says Egypt Revolution Bad for Jews

Electronic Intifada -
The view from Israel is that if they indeed succeed, the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are bad, very bad. Educated Arabs -- not all of them dressed as "Islamists," quite a few of them speaking perfect English whose wish for democracy is articulated without resorting to "anti-Western" rhetoric -- are bad for Israel.

Arab armies that do not shoot at these demonstrators are as bad as are many other images that moved and enthused so many people around the world, even in the West. This world reaction is also bad, very bad. It makes the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and its apartheid policies inside the state look like the acts of a typical "Arab" regime.

For a while you could not tell what official Israel thought. In his first ever commonsensical message to his colleagues, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his ministers, generals and politicians not to comment in public on the events in Egypt. For a brief moment one thought that Israel turned from the neighborhood's thug to what it always was: a visitor or permanent resident... Read More

Protests in Gaza ask Egypt to open Rafah

Maan News Agency - Two days after Egypt's leader Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign, a youth movement in Gaza gathered in the capital city's Square of the Unknown Soldier calling for Egypt to open its border with the coastal enclave.

The General Union of Youth Organizations gathered more than 100 in the central square, saying that they stood in solidarity with the people of Egypt, and asked for the new leadership cancel its agreements with Israel and open the Rafah crossing.

"Israel is the enemy," protesters yelled, urging Egypt to break out of the agreements it has with the country as it goes forward with its process of renewal.

Protest organizer Hafeth Sharab said the initiative was one of the young people in Gaza, an outpouring of support for the success of the Egyptian revolution, and a call to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Young people in the Gaza square invited the protesters from Cairo's Tahrir Square to visit the coastal enclave, and to see for themselves what and end to the siege would mean.
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Israel's nuclear whistleblower discusses Egypt and the future

Salem News on Mordechai Vanunu- On the 13th day of February 2011, Mordechai Vanunu posted this message on my YouTube Channel:

The Martial Laws of Egypt from 1981 going to be removed very soon,Now is your time to demand from israel to end its martial laws from 1948 to be removed,and give us freedom of speech and freedom of movemewnt,they have no more any justifications,after Egypt Revolution of 2011.

In March 2006, just a few weeks after his FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial began, Vanunu responded to my questions regarding the fact that he is denied freedom under the British mandate martial laws vis-a-vis the fact that:
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US Duplicity in Egypt

Salem News - While extolling democracy the Obama administration tiptoed through the struggle for democracy in Egypt trying not to offend anyone, but creating the appearance of supporting dictatorship in Egypt. He justified his lack of action by saying we did not want to interfere in Egyptian affairs, a specious argument because the US has been interfering for the past thirty years by propping up Mubarak and his military. We supported a brutal and murderous dictator for the past 30 years who could not have survived one minute without US backing, and to now argue that we did not want to interfere is disingenuous.

While praising the virtues of democracy in Egypt, at no time did the administration support the protests of millions and join the chant: “He must go”. Instead Obama repeatedly called for a “gradual transition” and suggested that Egyptians were incapable of setting up a fair election in 60 days. At no time did Obama, or anyone in his administration, call for a cessation of US aid to Mubarak pending a fair election certified by Jimmy Carter’s international organization.

Indeed, some in the administration including Hillary Clinton called for US support of Mubarak even after the revolt had begun. Robert Fisk, journalist for The Independent, and generally recognized as one of the best journalists in the world, said "Obama Administration Has Been Gutless and Cowardly in Dealing with the Mubarak Regime".1 and he described Hillary Clinton’s language regarding the rebellion as “cowardly.

Two nations in the world who did not like the happenings in Egypt were Israel and the US, with Netanyahu urging support of the Mubarak “regime” in Egypt, and urging Obama not to be too critical of Mubarak in the first days of the rebellion, for fear of undermining him. While stalling for time, the US held a series of talks and negotiations behind closed doors.....
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Video: Mainstream media ignores terrorist who was about to bomb a crowd of 500 Americans before he was caught

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Iranian forces killed 10 protesters, Mubarak's forces killed over 300; yet McCain claims Iranian regime was more violent than Mubarak's

The Washington Stakeout Interview by Sam Husseini – Senator John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that Iranian government has a “more oppressive, repressive police state that knows no restrictions. We saw last time, they don’t hesitate to shoot and kill people in streets. Obviously, Egyptian military was not ready to do that.”

(In fact, in Iran, during the protests in 2009, Human Rights Watch documented about 10 people killed. In Egypt, there have been over 300.)

We also read Aida Seif El Dawla’s statement to McCain; noting that hundreds of protesters were in fact killed by Egyptian regime forces.

He called for a “transition government” inclusive of “pro-democratic” forces.

I asked: “Do we owe the Egyptian people an apology for having backed a tyrant for 30 years?”

McCain: “Hindsight is 20/20. … There’s many ways this government has been helpful to us,” specifically siting Israeli politics toward the Palestinians, like the siege of Gaza that the Mubarak regime coordinated with Israel.

McCain added: “I can’t apologize for what happened in Indonesia, for what happened in the Philippines, for what happened Romania.”

This was a rather remarkable comment. In part because it highlights that McCain recognizes that this backing dictators is a pattern in U.S. policy, that he refuses to apologize for, virtually guaranteeing its continuation.

It also mirrors recent comments by Noam Chomsky: “The United States, so far, is essentially following the usual playbook. I mean, there have been many times when some favored dictator has lost control or is in danger of losing control. There’s a kind of a standard routine—Marcos [Philippines], Duvalier [Haiti], Ceausescu [Romania], strongly supported by the United States and Britain, Suharto [Indonesia]: keep supporting them as long as possible; then, when it becomes unsustainable—typically, say, if the army shifts sides—switch 180 degrees, claim to have been on the side of the people all along, erase the past, and then make whatever moves are possible to restore the old system under new names. That succeeds or fails depending on the circumstances. …”

We challenged McCain’s endorcement of embracing dictators until they are no longer useful, after an exchange, he declined to meaningfully respond, simply saying he “understood your view on it.”

He also stated that for years he’s been aware of the abuses in Egypt, backing a process with Russ Feingold, somewhat contradicting an earlier claim that “hind sight is 20/20.” Read more

Palestinians report harrassment from settlers

Maan News Agency- A small group of armed settlers entered the town of Beit Ummar Sunday night, local sources said, describing a tense scene in the area and closed roads in and out.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was unaware of any activity in the area.

Town spokesman Mohammad Ayyad Awad said two armed settlers and a few others were walking around the residential area, causing residents to fear leaving their homes.

The settlers, he said, were seen walking toward the military outpost outside of the town, while a second group in a car made a turn around the area, then left.
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How putting Israel first led the U.S. into blindness about Egypt: Kathleen Christison reviews Wiki-cables exclusive to CounterPunch

"...There is a complacency in the [two-year-old] cables about Mubarak and his rule that U.S. officials undoubtedly rue today. The cables show clearly that U.S. officials and, following the U.S. lead, the Egyptian ones as well, have been far more concerned to advance Israel's interests by maintaining stability, keeping the Egyptian-Israeli and the Egyptian-Gaza borders quiet, and thwarting Hamas in Gaza than they have been to promote democracy in Egypt..."

CounterPunch, Kathleen Christison – Editors' note: This article is based on State Department cables 7192, 7201, 7304, 7360, 7395, 7415, 7423, all from late January & February 2009, and also #6253 on Omar Suleiman. Only #6253, which talks about Israel's high opinion of Omar Suleiman, has been released and written about elsewhere. All of the other cables, which make up the meat of this article, have been hitherto undiscussed. AC/JSC.

A clutch of Wikileaks-released cables acquired by CounterPunch dealing with Egypt, dating from the first weeks after Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009, shows Egypt to have an overweening ambition to be seen both in the West and in the Arab world as the leading Arab regional power and shows the U.S.A. to be encouraging these visions, primarily because Egypt supports and cooperates with Israel. Egypt satisfies the perceived U.S. need to maintain stability in the region for the benefit of Israel's security. It is evident from these cables that Egyptian ambition, driven as much by a desire to please the United States and, by extension, Israel as by self-interest, is so strong as to distort Egypt's view of its fellow Arab and Muslim states and their policies and actions.

The cables also presage a reality of U.S. relations with Egypt that is becoming increasingly clear as U.S. policymakers respond, or fail to respond, to events on Egypt's streets. The dilemma the U.S.A. has faced - whether to encourage the ouster of Hosni Mubarak and his oppressive rule and risk the imponderables of an uncertain succession, or to support the suppression of the pro-democracy protests and risk the spread of popular anti-American and anti-Israeli uprisings throughout the Arab world - is evident as well in these two-year-old cables. There is, nonetheless, a complacency in the cables about Mubarak and his rule that U.S. officials undoubtedly rue today. The cables show clearly that U.S. officials and, following the U.S. lead, the Egyptian ones as well, have been far more concerned to advance Israel's interests by maintaining stability, keeping the Egyptian-Israeli and the Egyptian-Gaza borders quiet, and thwarting Hamas in Gaza than they have been to promote democracy in Egypt.

The cables, which include accounts of meetings between U.S. and Egyptian officials in Cairo and in Washington, as well as what are termed "scenesetters" for impending visits between high-level U.S. and Egyptian officials, always mentioned Mubarak's undemocratic rule with some concern, but they indicated no urgency and no concern that his rule might unravel as it has today. In one cable, Ambassador Margaret Scobey observed that Mubarak barely any longer even made a pretense of advancing democratic change and seemed to be "trusting in God and the inertia of the military and civilian security services" to ensure an orderly transition. She noted that the ongoing challenge for the United States remained how to balance U.S. security interests [read, Israeli security interest in quiet borders and the suppression of Hamas] against U.S. efforts to promote democratic change. Read More: The Bitter Fruits of Taking Things for Granted: U.S. - Egyptian Relationship asShown in Wiki-Leaked Cables, CounterPunch, Vol. 18, No. 3.

CounterPunch email newsletter subscribers will find a link to full Wiki-Leak documents at the bottom of this document.