Archive | November 2nd, 2010



1. Gilad Atzmon: Julie Sabbath Goy Burchill

November 2, 2010

Gilad Atzmon

In her desperate attempt to smear Lauren Booth, Independent writer Julie Burchill, a devout Zionist, proves how deceiving British multiculturalism is. Indeed the Zionification of this Kingdom has left this country in a disastrous ethical limbo.

“Last year I took the first steps towards converting to Judaism; also last year, I abandoned my attempt”, says Burchill. But I guess that Burchill didn’t really have to convert — She is obviously far more Jewish than anyone I can think of. Burchill can teach Rabbi Ovadia Yosef what self-love is all about. She can teach Paul Wolfowitz, David Aaronovitch and David Miliband what moral-interventionism stands for. She can give  Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman a crash course in Hasbara.   Burchill can lecture Zionist slander operators on how to spread venom.

But most significantly, she displays an astonishing command of Jewish humour. Burchill is indeed very funny.

Click to read more …
2. Some Facts about Israel (video)




Dear friends,

Once again 6 items, and once again was difficult to select from among the many that should be read.   In any event, I doubt that you will find any of the below superfluous.

The initial item is a report on the way Israel welcomes some professors who are invited to participate in a conference.  While the report below is only about this professor, she is not the only one to have received such treatment. Hers is a typical case of how the establishment acts towards people it does not want.

Item 2 is a response by Kathleen Barry to the statistics of civilian deaths in Iraq furnished by Wikileaks.  I preface her letter with a few words, below.

In item 3 Gideon Levy justifiably censures Israel’s ‘victim’ fixation, and where it is leading us.

Item 4 is a PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights) report advising that Spain has refused to grant Avi Dichter immunity. Additionally, the PCHR asks Spain to rethink its recent alteration of the law and to revise it to once again enable Spain to legally charge and try those accused of war crimes.

Item 5 reveals how the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) under the direction of Mort Klein “is shamelessly trafficking in the language of bigotry and anti-discrimination in an effort to criminalize campus human rights activism in favor of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.”

The final item, by Sam Bahour, is about Palestinian survival in the economic and business world under Israeli occupation.  I was surprised to read that Sam includes interaction between Israelis and Palestinians, and asked Sam how this sat with the bds movement.  He has promised me to write an article touching especially on this issue.  I will of course forward when it comes.

All the best,



1. Haaretz Sunday, October 31, 2010

American professor invited to Israel ‘humiliated’ by El Al security personnel Heather Bradshaw, a neuroscience professor invited to a conference at Hebrew University, says she was asked to remove clothing, board the aircraft with no luggage.

By Zohar Blumenkrantz

Tags: Israel news El Al

 An American professor who was invited to a conference in Israel claims she was humiliated by Israeli security personnel at London’s Luton airport on Thursday.

Professor Heather Bradshaw, who researches neuroscience at Indiana University, was at Cambridge University when she was invited to Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a conference.

“Our guest arrived at Luton airport on Thursday in order to fly to Israel using [Israeli airline] El Al, and she was shocked to discover that straight away, the security personnel treated her as a terror suspect,” said Haifa University professor Arik Rimmerman who submitted a complaint to El Al in her name.

“She presented numerous documents indicating the purpose of her visit and her passport – which shows she has already been to Israel several times,” said Rimmerman. “The security personnel treated her and the documents she presented with utter disrespect.”

Bradshaw told Haaretz that no one told her what she was suspected of and she wasn’t explained anything. She said that security took her to a separate room and confiscated all of her belongings. She told Haaretz that she sat and waited as every few minutes a different security official came in to question her about the items in her suitcase – which were mostly books.

After the questioning, she underwent a physical examination in which she was asked to remove her bra. The exam lasted nearly an hour, and at the end of it, she was reprimanded for holding up the flight.

Bradshaw was not allowed to bring any carry-on luggage on to the flight and was only permitted her passport and three credit cards.

When she arrived in Israel, she expected someone from the airline to wait for her and update her regarding her luggage and belongings that were left behind, but no one knew anything, Bradshaw told Haaretz. She said she felt helpless and was holding back tears.

Moreover, Bradshaw’s Israeli colleagues said that the flight attendant that was tending to her reproached her for coming to Israel without anything and without the proper permit for her luggage.

Bradshaw said it was the fourth time she had traveled to Israel and that this was the first time she was treated this way by security personnel. She told Haaretz that she had no idea why they decided to treat her differently this time.

El Al airline responded to the case by saying that “the airline acts according to the instructions of the defense authorities.”


2.  Kathleen Barry, Author of books as Female Sexual Slavery, a Biography of Susan B. Anthony, and most recently Unmaking War, Remaking Men,  responds to Wikileaks stats on the numbers of Iraqi civilians killed. 

The numbers of Palestinian civilians killed are more available than were those of Iraqis thanks to Human Rights organizations and others as B’tselem, Palestinian Red Cressent Society, OCHA,   

The reasons that Israeli soldiers kill civilians are similar to those that Barry outlines below for American soldiers.  Here again, what Israeli soldiers do is available from testimonies from Courage to Refuse and Breaking the Silence, and more recently from items uploaded on facebook.  I don’t presume that Israeli and American soldiers are worse than others fighting civilians.  That is the problem.

The question is what do we do with the information and the statistics?  Statistics do not help reduce the numbers.  Gathering them and exposing them is an important step, but it unfortunately does not end them. 




Since the latest Wikileaks release, the revised death toll from the war against Iraq brings the total civilians deaths to 150,000 based on military field reports. 

But this is only the tip of the iceberg.  From the testimony and descriptions given by soldiers who have been in combat, I accumulated an even more grim picture of “preventive and random killing” of civilians during the war for my book, Unmaking War, Remaking Men. 

First, the use of white phosphorus and smart bombs often makes it impossible to identify incinerated victims.  Second, U.S. soldiers had difficulty distinguishing between civilians and combatants.  Third, as for the significant number of civilians killed by Iraqis, it was US military practice to blame the killings by US soldiers on Iraqis.  Many US soldiers carried drop weapons, which they had confiscated on a previous kill of an insurgent.  When they killed a civilian they dropped an insurgent’s weapon on the body to show the victim was killed by an Iraqi.  Fourth, falsification of field reports such as those just released by Wikileaks by soldiers to protect their buddies goes all the way up the chain of command. 

The incredible bravery of those who made this massive leak of documents possible is undermined if we believe that the military in the field was accurately reporting combat actions.  For example, the US Marines 2006 massacre in Haditha was left uninvestigated and reported 15 casualties killed by Iraqis until news reporters  followed up eyewitness accounts.  It was found that instead of Iraqis killing Iraqis, the US Marines, after an IED explosion had killed one of their own in a truck,  massacred 24 women, children and babies as well as several men they executed.

I found that U.S. soldiers engaged in what I call preventive killing, which is killing because “I’m not sure if this person is an insurgent or a civilian,” and random killing. 

Thought control is used by the military to train recruits to kill without getting hung up on feelings of remorse.  They were trained to not fire at persons but at locations, so they will cover wider areas. As a result, for many in combat, killing becomes a game.  For others who are worn down by dodging pot shots at them, or who have just seen their buddy killed, it is revenge.  Either way, added to the Iraqi loss of life is the soldiers trauma for doing what most would never have considered doing outside of the military.

These, along with the fact that the US never bothered to count Iraqi dead during most of the war, validates the death toll of 655,000 in 2006 reported from the John Hopkins study that involved interviewing Iraqi families to determine how many had lost relatives in the war.  As the war continued, that death toll was revised upward to 1.3 million Iraqis.                                                                                       

-30.Professor Emerita Kathleen Barry’s latest book, Unmaking War, Remaking Men: How Empathy Can Reshape Our Politics, Our Soldiers and Ourselves ( has just been released.  A sociologist and feminist activist, her first book, Female Sexual Slavery, launched an international movement against trafficking in human beings.


3.  Haaretz Sunday, October 30, 2010

Israel is proud to present: The aggressor-victim

Israelis have always loved victimization, not only when we were real victims, as often was the case in our history, but also when we were the aggressors, occupiers and abusers.

By Gideon Levy

Once upon a time the staple piece of clothing was the blue shirt of the Labor Movement, and songwriter Mordechai Zeira sang about it: “And it’s much better than all jewels.” A new generation has arrived, and its shirt is darker. Today it’s black and bears the legend: We are all the victims of Goldstone.

Dozens of friends of the two Givati Brigade soldiers arrived wearing these infuriating shirts at a military court a few days ago. Their friends had been convicted of overextending their authority while risking the life of an 11-year-old, and to be precise, of conduct unbecoming of soldiers. The soldiers received the scandalous support of senior officers, and the two convicted men have become heroes.

Israel is proud to present: The aggressor-vicitim. History has known crueler and even longer occupations than the Israeli one, and there have been much worse attacks on civilian populations than Operation Cast Lead. But there has never been an occupier who presented himself like that, as a victim.

From the days of Golda Meir, who said we will never forgive the Arabs for forcing us to hurt their children, to the combatants who shot and wept, we have set, courtesy of the Givati troops, a new record of Israeli chutzpah: We are all the victims of Goldstone.

The victimhood, it turns out, belongs not to an 11-year-old child whose life was put at risk and who has been suffering from insomnia ever since, but the soldiers who ordered him to check for explosives, in clear contradiction of a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Not the Samouni family, 21 of whose members were butchered when the same Givati Brigade, under the same commander, bombed the house into which the soldiers ordered the family, but the brigade commander, Ilan Malka, whose conduct is now being investigated, shamefully late. And certainly not the residents of Gaza, who experienced Cast Lead with its hardships, horrors, destruction and war crimes, but the soldiers, who share responsibility with the commanders and politicians.

We’ve always loved victimization, not only when we were real victims, as often was the case in our history, but also when we were the aggressors, occupiers and abusers. And we don’t only cast ourselves as victims, but as the only victims. But observe our perception of our wrongdoing. It started with denial, then changed to suppression, then to shamelessness, then to dehumanization and demonization, until we arrived at the current stage: A pride parade.

The soldiers taking pictures of themselves dancing with prisoners and posing with corpses are proud of what they do. They upload the footage onto the Web, for all to see, and friends of the two Givati troops are equally proud of what their mates have done. They’re proud of the conduct of people who broke the law. Their solidarity may be understandable, but it’s much more difficult to understand the support of their brigade commander, Col. Moni Katz, and Maj. Gen. (res. ) Uzi Dayan.

What are they saying – that the soldiers acted correctly? That they should not be punished? That they are victims? In that case, we have little to claim from the soldiers, who were only acting according to the spirit emanating from their superiors. But most difficult to understand is the widespread public support for the two. Just like the Nahariya policeman convicted of placing bombs to injure suspected mobsters, they are local heroes and national victims to many.

Do we really want to be proud of the soldiers ordering children to risk their lives, in violation of the law? Is this how we want the army to behave? Will Israeli public opinion never accept that war has rules and that if Israeli soldiers break them, they must be punished? True, they may have been carrying out orders, they may have been jaded and exhausted after three weeks of the assault on Gaza, as the court has heard. But casting them as victims testifies to the chaos overtaking Israel. 

So we should go back to basics. The victims of Cast Lead are the 1.5 million residents of Gaza. The “victims” of the Goldstone report are not the two convicts, but their own victims. The shirts worn by their friends in court are proof that these basic truths have been blurred and distorted beyond recognition.



Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release


Ref: 99/2010

Date: 31 October 2010

Spanish Authorities Refuse to Grant Avi Dichter Immunity

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) notes that the Spanish authorities refused to provide Avi Dichter, former Director of the Israeli General Security Services, with requested immunity prior to a planned visit to Spain. Mr. Dichter is currently the subject of a criminal lawsuit before the Spanish Courts in relation to his role in the Al Daraj assassination of July 22, 2002.

PCHR applaud this move, noting a welcome return to the rule of law. Spain, along with all other High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, is subject to a legal obligation to search for and prosecute all those suspected of committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Spain’s move comes as a reaffirmation of the desire to ensure that Spain does not become a ‘safe haven’ where suspected war criminals can travel with impunity. However, PCHR note that following intense political pressure from the Israeli government, Spain recently modified its existing universal jurisdiction laws. Such political pressure has no place in the international legal order. All those suspected of committing international crimes must be investigated, and if appropriate prosecuted; victims’ rights must be upheld. PCHR urge Spain to repeal recent amendments to the universal jurisdiction law, noting that these amendments way violate Spain’s international obligations.

The Al Daraj case, brought by PCHR, Hickman & Rose (UK) and Spanish partners Gonzalo Boye, Antonio Segura, Juan Moreno and Raul Maillo, is currently pending before the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Background information relating to the Al Daraj attack

On 22 July 2002, at approximately 11:55 pm, an Israeli Air Force F16 fighter jet dropped a 985 kilogramme bomb on a three-storey apartment building. The attack was intended to kill Salah Shehadeh, the suspected leader of the Izzidin al-Qassam Brigade, Hamas’ military wing. The apartment building was located within the densely populated Al Daraj district, a residential neighbourhood in Gaza City. At the time of the attack, Shehade was on the upper floor of the building. As a result of the blast impact, eight other adjoining and nearby apartment buildings were completely destroyed, nine were partially destroyed, and another 21 sustained considerable damage. Excluding Shehade and his guard, a total of 14 civilians were killed, including eight children. Approximately 150 civilians were injured.

Israeli officials have acknowledged that they decided to drop the bomb on Shehadeh’s house knowing his wife was with him, intentionally killing her as well. The decision to attack apparently also took into consideration the possibility that, along with Shehadeh, approximately 10 civilians would also be killed.

This attack was planned in advance, targeted a densely populated residential area, and was conducted at a time when it could reasonably be expected that there would be an extremely high number of civilians present. This attack constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and as part of wide spread and systematic war crimes, it also classifies as a crime against humanity.

Those implicated include: former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, his former military advisor Michael Herzog, former IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Moshe Yaalon, former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter, former Israel Air Force Commander General Dan Halutz, former head of the IDF Operation Branch Major-General Giora Eiland, and former Southern Command Chief Doron Almog.

Public Document


For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail:, Webpage


5.  Under the leadership of Mort Klein, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is celebrating its success in its efforts to expand federal anti-bullying guidelines stipulated under the US Civil Rights Act of 1964.  So why in the world would Mort Klein and his pro-occupation and pro-settlement ZOA be interested in federal civil rights and anti-bullying policy in the first place? Perhaps a new-found interest in protecting religious practice and reigning in on all instances of discrimination? Of course not. Read on and prepare yourself to be outraged.

In a policy statement released this week, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has adopted new guidelines that include protections against religious groups with “shared ethnic characteristics.”   Appearing alongside indisputably positive policy changes that increase protections for LGBT and disabled students facing bullying and discrimination, it may seem totally inappropriate to cast doubt on this particular aspect of the policy, no matter who has brought it to the table. After all, expanding categories of protection is a good thing. However, once we understand the ZOA’s motives, it becomes clear that this development should be cause for alarm for anybody wanting to preserve students’ rights to organize on American campuses for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel!

Indeed, the ZOA took up this effort specifically as a way to clamp down on student activism that has pushed universities to hold Israel accountable to international law. How? Title VI of the Civil Rights Act says that colleges and universities that don’t address issues of discrimination can lose their federal funding. This is part of a strategy to scare public universities into putting a stop to entirely legal and non-discriminatory activism that the ZOA and others just don’t like.

Klein is shamelessly trafficking in the language of bigotry and anti-discrimination in an effort to criminalize campus human rights activism in favor of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. It’s hard to imagine a more reprehensible manipulation of the legacy of civil rights struggle.

The story actually begins in October 2004 when the first complaint to US Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in 2004 on the behalf of Jewish students at the University of California at Irvine. These claims, which form the centerpiece of the ZOA’s whole case to OCR, seem at best to be an extreme misrepresentation of actual goings-on, and at worst totally lack substance–and that’s coming from their subjects: UC Irvine students themselves. In response to the initial complaint the ZOA filed with OCR on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California at Irvine in October 2004, the most prominent leaders of the campus Jewish community actually came out and publicly refuted the ZOA’s claims that UCI is a hostile environment for Jewish students.

In March 2008, prominent Jewish student leaders of UCI (including the presidents of the campus Hillel, the self-described pro-Israel group Anteaters for Israel, and the Jewish Fraternity and Sorority) issued a public statement clearly and directly contradicting the ZOA’s claims about their campus, stating instead that  “Jewish student life thrives on campus, despite misinformation from outside organizations.”

In a story published in May 2008 issue of New Voices (since expunged from their website, but available below), student leaders from UCI’s Jewish community testify to being ignored, silenced, and even publicly discredited by ZOA and associated activists for speaking the truth of their experience on campus.  One student, then President of Anteaters for Israel,  even lost his position with the Israel advocacy training group StandWithUs over a statement he made that the threat of anti-Semitism on his campus has been exaggerated by community activists and organizations.

Who Speaks for Jewish Students?

In another case cited in a recent op-ed, Klein also cites a battery case filed by a female pro-Israel activist at the University of California at Berkeley against a Palestinian student activist. In fact, all charges have been dropped against the Palestinian student, Husam Zakharia, who said from the very beginning that he lost control of a shopping cart overflowing with donated toys bound for Gaza when it accidentally hit the female student.

Klein’s campaign seemed to really take off earlier this year when 13 Jewish organizations endorsed a March 16 letter to the Education Minister urging the Office of Civil Rights to investigate incidents of anti-Semitism. Among the endorsing groups are Abe Foxman’s ADL, American Jewish Congress (AJC), and Hillel– all of which have a track record of manipulating charges of anti-Semitism to silence critics of Israeli policy.

More recently, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Senator Arlen Specter (D-CA) have been championing in Congress Mort Klein and the ZOA’s proposal to amend the Civil Rights Act. In September, Sherman and Specter introduced legislation that would inscribe into federal law what the Department of Education has just changed in federal policy. Shortly after the new guidelines were announced, Congressman Sherman released a statement naming only Jewish students who face “severe and persistent anti-Semitic hostility on their campuses” among groups who will enjoy new protections under the policy.

Making no mention of any other communities facing religion-based discrimination, such as Muslims, Sikhs and other groups most impacted by the up-swell of Islamophobic discrimination, the political motives of the ZOA’s appeal is perfectly transparent. The ZOA is not and has never claimed to be an organization that fights bigotry or discrimination, nor do they purport to hold a message of universal tolerance. It is an organization set up to promote a pro-settlement, pro-occupation, right-wing Zionist agenda.

In addition to using federal anti-discrimination legislation to pursue a highly politicized agenda, one of the most troubling aspects of this campaign is that it has considerable de-amplifying effects for when authentic instances of anti-Semitism do arise.  This type of action will not make Jews, or anyone else, any safer.


[Forwarded by Elana]

6.  From: [] On Behalf Of Sam BAHOUR
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2010 8:26 AM
Subject: [ePalestine] Arab news: A Show of Palestinian Business Resilience (By SAM BAHOUR)

Arab news  

A Show of Palestinian Business Resilience  


Published: Oct 30, 2010   

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will most likely cut a ribbon; a handful of government officials will be jockeying for camera time to claim economic leadership; major multinationals will compete to get their logo in the limelight; international donors, like USAID, DFID and the World Bank will be prominently featured and the media will eat all of this and regurgitate it, with little or no real analysis, as economic development toward statehood.  

This is all a probable scenario in the upcoming Palestinian information and communication technology (ICT) sector’s premier annual public event, EXPOTECH Technology Week 2010 that will be held from Nov. 1-6.  

The real story however will be embedded in the exhibition’s booths, in the people who are struggling to survive under a brutal and prolonged Israeli military occupation while keeping their eye on the prize: building and information technology sector that has the potential to be a pillar of a future Palestinian state while in the meantime providing sustenance under the distress of occupation  

This exhibition is not about growth; it is about survival.  


Palestine’s ICT players are many but the key to this sector is the knowledge-based resources. The human resources that feed the sector are a mix between products of Palestine’s higher education system and Palestine’s Diaspora and expat community who have returned home during the past two decades.  

Palestinian universities have been weathering crisis after crisis ever since Israeli occupation began in 1967. In the mid 1970s university presidents and staff had to deal with being deported from their homes by Israel; in the late 1980s several Palestinian universities were closed for years on end and hundreds of staff and students were arrested by Israel; in the 1990s, with the signing of the Oslo peace accords, what was supposedly a paradigm shift toward independence turned out to be a reshuffling of the occupation with a new layer of bureaucracy called the Palestinian Authority (PA). Since the year 2000 Palestinian professors and students have been randomly blocked by Israeli checkpoints and closure regimes from reaching their classrooms and continue, all the while, to be arbitrarily harassed, humiliated and arrested.  

More recently, how higher education institutions in Gaza can sustain their existence under Israeli siege and constant shelling from the air, land and sea is a story in itself and will surely be noted in tomorrow’s history books.  

In spite of this bitter reality, Palestinians persevered and held on to education like there was no tomorrow. This steadfastness in the face of incredible odds should not be underestimated. In the midst of all of this chaos, universities struggled to attain their fair allocation of the PA budget to meet their payrolls, retain their teaching staff and adjust their offerings to meet the rapidly changing market needs. For better or for worse, this is the foundation that the information technology sector of Palestine stands on.  

Business drivers  

Those driving Palestine’s occupied economy are also key. Thus far, the donor community, by virtue of its funding abilities, is the back-seat driver of the entire economy and is in structural control. The US, EU, World Bank and the like are micromanaging many sectors in Palestine; the ICT sector is not an exception.  

Intervention comes in many shapes and sizes and, over time, develops its modalities. What started nearly two decades ago as charitable assistance has since moved to grants managed by each donor country’s private sector firms. Over time, and with the need to navigate through a political minefield, assistance to the sector took a new shape: partnerships with local civil society. Even multinational corporate social responsibility venues started playing a major role.  

A growing number of Palestinian software development firms and service providers are reaching out to global markets, some benefiting from this international support and others on their own. Hidden in the alleyways of Palestine’s economic landscape are Palestinians from the expat community and Diaspora who are linking local engineers to global markets.  

Firms like gSoft Technology Solutions (, one of the leading software development companies in Palestine which provides outsourcing services to leading American companies specializing in the semiconductor, solar, insurance, medical, real-estate and mobile markets in the US, is a prime case in point. gSoft also builds and globally markets mobile and advertising products and services. This firm highlights the organic link that the Palestinian Diaspora can play in opening up markets for local firms to serve.  

Another local success story is Bisan Systems ( This firm has been providing accounting software services to the lion’s share of the Palestinian market for over 22 years. In keeping with the times, they now provide all of the occupied territory with a new version of their Java-based, multilingual, online accounting application in an application service provider model.

The firm is also providing the accounting system plumbing behind some of the main elements of the Palestinian Authority’s institutional financial reform efforts and is receiving rave reviews by international organizations like the World Bank. This is another local success story — ready, able, and willing to compete on a regional and global scale. The examples are many.  

Over the years many multinational firms have dabbled into Palestine’s ICT sector as well.  At one point TIMEX had a team of Palestinian developers working as part of their global research and development network to develop new digital watch software. Today, HP and Google are just two more examples of firms on the ground in Palestine.  

The most promising of the multinational experiences has been a three-year commitment from CISCO’s CEO John Chambers, which is due to expire at the end of this year. CISCO has hinted that they are more than pleased with the investments they have made in Palestinian firms. The sector anxiously awaits a comprehensive review of the $10 million that was invested by CISCO in order to build on this high profile platform for other multinationals to follow suit.  

Sector leadership  

The convener of the upcoming high-tech exhibition is the Palestinian Information Technology Association of Companies (PITA). PITA was founded in 1999 by a group of Palestinian entrepreneurs who wanted to create a nongovernmental body to defend the interests of the ICT sector. Operations began in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank with one employee and a paid member base of 25 Palestinian ICT companies.  

PITA can safely claim to be the most active Palestinian trade association, both on and offline. During the tough years of the second Intifada, PITA grew and today represents 100 ICT firms (29 of them based in Gaza) — everything from hardware distributors, software development firms, office automation vendors, Internet service providers, telecommunications, IT consulting, IT training and related businesses. This growth and member base diversity exemplifies the dynamism of this sector and reflects its tremendous potential.  

The newest addition to the sector has been the establishment of several university-based Centers of Excellence dedicated to incubation services to capture a pipeline of ideas emerging from Palestine’s youthful population.  

Even the Palestinian Authority itself, at least in the West Bank, has started to finally get its act together and make progress on several long-standing issues that have held back the sector, such as opening the telecommunications market for competition.  

Capital in action  

The investment leadership in the sector has also become richer and more diverse in recent years. Today Palestine is proud to host several new private equity funds that are open to ICT investments. Abraaj Capital, the region’s biggest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, has partnered with the Palestine Investment Fund, Palestine’s sovereign wealth fund, to launch Palestine’s branch of the Riyada Enterprise Development by way of a $50 million private equity fund. Abraaj Capital Group, the parent of Riyada Enterprise Development, was a recent recipient of $150 million in financial support from the US’ Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to expand its efforts in the MENA region.  

Massar International, one of Palestine’s emerging economic powerhouses, has recently received $30 million financial support from OPIC to launch the Siraj Palestine Fund I, another private equity fund.  

Some funds have tried to bury the political complexities of managing a matrix of interests in Palestine, but others have dealt with the political complexities head on. For example, as reported in, the Aspen Institute “has several projects designed to encourage Middle East entrepreneurship.

It has played a key role in organizing the Middle East Venture Capital Fund, which is managed by Israeli businessman Yadin Kaufmann and Palestinian entrepreneur Saed Nashef. Backed by the European Investment Bank, Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corporation and other contributors, the fund has $50 million to fund high-growth, export- oriented ventures in information technology.”  

The UK-based aid and development agency Mercy Corps recently reported in a press release that it “received a major international award for its work to support Palestinian information and communication technology (ICT) companies…They won the prestigious Digital Opportunity Award for their program building links between Palestinian and Israeli ICT companies as a step toward peace in the region…[and]…in recognition of their ‘remarkable and successful’ work in building closer business relationships between Palestinian and Israeli companies.

The program involved an extensive awareness-raising campaign and proactively building business relationships, through meetings and the launch of a new website [see the Outsource to Palestine website at] and report, all aimed at promoting the capabilities of the Palestinian ICT sector to the Israeli and international market.”  

Several new private equity and venture capital funds are also in the pipeline. Thus, one can see a clear building of the needed investment infrastructure. But to be honest to Palestine’s experience, it was never the hard infrastructure which was cause for concern, but rather the soft infrastructure — that which may be called the investment eco-system — that has hindered our progress: things like freedom of movement of people and goods, the right to engage in cross border trade without Israeli restrictions, a telecommunications network which is not forced to go through an Israeli operator and the like.  

The rigorous international intervention to support Palestine’s ICT sector is surely welcomed; however, it would be meaningless if it were not accompanied by concentrated efforts from donor states to remove — not maneuver between — Israel’s illegal actions that hamper our sector’s development.  

A real display of resilience  

Palestine’s EXPOTECH Technology Week 2010 has all the trappings of any world-class exhibition. It will be the first event to be held in Palestine’s first 5-star Movenpick Hotel in Ramallah. A parallel venue in Gaza is also planned for those not permitted by Israel to attend. Aside from the business to business meetings, an array of workshops will be held on IT Business in Palestine, Telecommunication and Broadband, Technology Entrepreneurship, Technology Trends, e-Government Initiative, Technology Financing, Strategies to Grow the ICT Sector, Technology/Innovation Marketing and IT Education. If one did not know better, the exhibition agenda looks like one from any free market anywhere in the world. However, we do know better.  

In the face of the systematic Israeli stifling of our economy, our technology entrepreneurs are putting on a show of Palestinian business resilience like no other. It can be viewed as an example of a battered people, proudly standing up at the podium of a globally vibrant sector, and calling out at the top of our voice that we are a people yearning to be free, yearning to compete in a global economy. We are a people that have kept abreast of our sector’s developments across the globe even as we find it hard to move from city to city in our own homeland.  

The exhibition will physically bring together West Bank Palestinians, Jerusalemites, a few Gazan Palestinians and Palestinians from the Diaspora. It will be a symbolic sign of economic unity, albeit not fully complete. Those Palestinian technologists that are dispersed throughout our refugee community will be missing.

Yet other loved ones from our sector who are currently imprisoned by Israel will also be missing. But in spirit all will be present and all will be showing a side of Palestine that is rarely seen — a Palestine that can contribute to human knowledge; a Palestine that can improve human well being; and maybe more than anything else, a Palestine that is giving countries of the world yet another chance to uphold their obligations as signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention and to remove the misery caused by the dirty boot of Israeli military occupation being on our necks for so many years.  

Visit this display of genuine Palestinian business resilience at  

— The writer is a Palestinian-American business consultant living in the Palestinian city of Al- Bireh/Ramallah in the West Bank. He blogs at  

© 2010 Arab News


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02 Nov 2010

By Joseph El-Khoury

Yesterday night I came face to face with Saad Hariri for the first time. I had shaken hands in a past life with his late father more than 12 years ago and was looking forward to draw a comparison between father and son. The Lebanese Embassy in London provided the backdrop to an evening reception where the banking industry was overrepresented.

Having sampled the canapés and exchanged opinions on the resilience of the Lebanese economy, they laid down their glasses to clap in their hero as he appeared past a group of heavily botoxed ladies. A friend pointed out that Saad Hariri looked a defeated man. Perhaps I thought! I rather found that his tone, posture and demeanour still revealed a degree of discomfort in his role, despite the 5 years of experience as heir to his father’s political legacy.

There is no doubting the young prime minister’s accessibility. A credit to someone raised in the ivory towers of wealth and in a region where leaders’ interactions with the common people is rehearsed up to the smallest handshake.

As the ceremony was coming to an end, we had full access to the figure if not the man. The bodyguards lay off a bit as he was allowed to bathe among the small crowd of socialites. Some chose to immortalise the moment by posing with him to which he complied with ease. Another friend initiated an absurd conversation in English. The choice of language and topic was probably triggered by nerves but Mr Hariri failed to pick up on it in any way, shape or form.

In keeping with the overall evening, his performance remained as flat as a half full can of fizzy drink. Neither the cliché reference to the Lebanon of brotherly love and chic restaurants could turn things around or the lacklustre use of colloquial Arabic to establish rapport with an audience unsure of its own values. In my mind, the unavoidable comparison was one between Hariri and his archrival (in a comic book superheroes kind of way) Mr Nasrallah, who also falls back on colloquial Arabic to emphasize his well-articulated points.

The difference being that Mr Nasrallah manages to be entertaining in his sarcasm, buoyed by the confidence of those who are driven by ideology and have the means to implement it. Mr Hariri could be excused for failing to motivate a haphazard group not necessarily committed to his political vision when Mr Nasrallah commands blind authority among hundreds of thousands.

This has not always been the case and yesterday’s interaction highlights the breakdown in the contract between the March 14th leaders and their former power base: A contract that was laid down in 2005 and undermined through errors, retreats, betrayals and inconsistencies for which Hariri and his band of courtesans share responsibility. The lack of vision and the absence of a consistent message might explain why the claps were half-hearted and the eyes firmly on the trays of Lebanese delicacies being passed around by oblivious waiters.

Posted in WorldComments Off on HARIRI POP IDOL



Why there cannot be a Zionist loyalty oath

Posted: 02 Nov 2010

The following statement was released on 31 October by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network:

On October 10, 2010, the Israeli government proposed a bill obligating non-Jewish naturalized citizens to swear loyalty to a “Jewish and democratic state.” The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) deplores this attempt to demand recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – a state whose existence is premised on the removal of the indigenous people of Palestine.

In response to this bill, members of the Zionist “Left” in Israel issued a “declaration of independence from fascism.” Announced at a rally in Tel Aviv, the Middle East’s most ethnically cleansed city (indigenous population: four percent), the declaration asserts that the proposed law “violates [Israel’s] basic commitment to the principles of equality, civil liberty and sincere aspiration for peace — principles upon which the State of Israel was founded.”

The Zionist “Left” is distancing itself from this policy, but the proposed oath is entirely consistent with Israel’s racist foundations and continued ethnic cleansing – all of which the Zionist “Left” has played a central role in perpetrating and whitewashing.

In the 1930s, as the Zionist state was forming, the Histadrut and other Labor Zionist institutions campaigned to dispossess Arab peasants and workers, while helping crush the resulting 1936 Arab rebellion.

In 1947-1948, under the leadership of David Ben Gurion, Labor Zionism – the dominant force in the Zionist “Left” – also directed the Nakba (catastrophe), which established the “Jewish state” by terrorizing and expelling at least eighty percent of the indigenous Palestinian population.

In the following decades, “Left” Zionism imposed domestic apartheid, made apartheid South Africa Israel’s closest ally, and led or supported every Israeli war of domination — most recently in Lebanon and Gaza. Under Labor governments, Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank exploded in number.*

Today, “Left” Zionists, no less than their right-wing counterparts, view Palestinians as a “demographic threat” to Jewish supremacy. Like the “Right,” they insist that Palestinians ratify their own unequal status by recognizing 1948 Palestine (“Israel”) as a “Jewish state.” Ironically, this Zionist racism, violence and apartheid serve to deliver a segregation of Jews that parallels traditional European anti-Semitism.

The problem, then, is not alleged betrayal of Israeli “principles” at the hands of right-wing “extremists,” but Zionism itself — both “Left” and “Right.” For Israeli Jews who reject Israel’s racist foundations, we stand with you.

We ask others not only to join us in opposing the loyalty oath, but to reject the Zionist principles upon which it rests. Concretely, that means supporting Palestinian demands for an end to military occupation, implementation of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land, and equal rights for all throughout Palestine.

Will the meaningful American Left please stand up and act now?

Posted: 02 Nov 2010

Chris Hedges on the “phantom left” in the US and its seeming inability to rally serious support for more than empty slogans:

The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power—masked, ruthless and unexamined—happily devour the state.

The loss of a radical left in American politics has been catastrophic. The left once harbored militant anarchist and communist labor unions, an independent, alternative press, social movements and politicians not tethered to corporate benefactors. But its disappearance, the result of long witch hunts for communists, post-industrialization and the silencing of those who did not sign on for the utopian vision of globalization, means that there is no counterforce to halt our slide into corporate neofeudalism. This harsh reality, however, is not palatable. So the corporations that control mass communications conjure up the phantom of a left. They blame the phantom for our debacle. And they get us to speak in absurdities.

The phantom left took a central role on the mall this weekend in Washington. It had performed admirably for Glenn Beck, who used it in his own rally as a lightning rod to instill anger and fear. And the phantom left proved equally useful for the comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who spoke to the crowd wearing red-white-and-blue costumes. The two comics evoked the phantom left, as the liberal class always does, in defense of moderation, which might better be described as apathy. If the right wing is crazy and if the left wing is crazy, the argument goes, then we moderates will be reasonable. We will be nice. Exxon and Goldman Sachs, along with predatory banks and the arms industry, may be ripping the guts out of the country, our rights—including habeas corpus—may have been revoked, but don’t get mad. Don’t be shrill. Don’t be like the crazies on the left.

“Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?” Stewart asked. “We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. But the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here [in Washington] or on cable TV.”

The rally delivered a political message devoid of reality or content. The corruption of electoral politics by corporate funds and lobbyists, the naive belief that we can somehow vote ourselves back to democracy, was ignored for emotional catharsis. The right hates. The liberals laugh. And the country is taken hostage.

No transparency in Serco dealings with contractors

Posted: 02 Nov 2010

My following article, with Paul Farrell, appears today in Crikey:

As we reported yesterday, private company Serco contracts out some of its security personnel to MSS Security, a company owned by an Indian security company with links to Lehmann Brothers. By outsourcing to other companies, it’s possible for Serco to distance itself from criticism and in turn, the Government can blame Serco for mismanagement and fine them accordingly (that provision is written into the contract).

Equally, that provision means that Serco isn’t necessarily compelled to report all perceived infractions due to its avoidance of financial penalties.

Alongside the PR games, there are potential legal benefits for Serco by outsourcing these services further. When Crikey visited Villawood recently, MSS Security guards were patrolling the visitors’ area.  The guards were clearly identified as MSS staff, not Serco officers, wearing an MSS uniform and ID card. One guard also said he only worked occasionally at Villawood and worked at several different places in NSW with MSS.

This degree of flexibility in employment, as well as the identification as MSS guards rather than Serco staff, may mean that the relationship between Serco and MSS staff could be deemed as that of an independent contractor rather than employees.

This is an important legal distinction. If the MSS staff were indeed held by a court to be contractors in this instance, it limits Serco’s vicarious liability for its actions if MSS staff were involved in conduct that resulted in tortuous legal action.

Of course, it’s impossible to be certain about the exact nature of the agreement with Serco and MSS and what’s required of subcontractors under the detention centres contract because documents relating to it are deemed commercial in confidence.

It also raises issues about the training of security staff. In July an MSS Security guard was caught in bed with an asylum seeker in a Darwin residential complex.

At the time, a Serco Asia spokesperson said that MSS security guards had to have a minimum of Certificate II in Security Operations.

But a Certificate II is the bare minimum entry-level requirement for unarmed guards and crowd controllers.

These are by no means local issues and the accountability of private companies running prisons and detention centres is a global concern. Recently an Angolan man, who was being deported home from the UK, died on a plane at Heathrow Airport and security company G4S guards have been accused over his death.

Now another related incident has come to light, with G4S being accused of mistreating a Colombian man as he was being deported from the UK.

As a result of these recent controversies, G4S lost its deportation contract with the British government last week but the company is being embraced elsewhere by the Tory-led administration, renting out custody cells to police forces that “will cut costs by centralising facilities”.

G4S formerly held the Australian detention centre contract before Serco took over in 2009.

Serco itself has also been criticised over its treatment of prisoners in the UK in a recent report into the Yarl’s Wood Prison and excessive violence in other privatised institutions in the UK.

The detention business is a multibillion dollar industry and Serco and G4S have proven in the UK, under Labour and the current Tory-led Coalition, that privatising detention is a profitable enterprise.

There is no evidence of this trend reversing; if anything, under David Cameron’s radical cost-cutting exercise, outsourcing will only increase, with the private sector relied upon to fill the gaps with a dwindling public service.

The Gillard government’s recent announcement of an expansion of current detention centres around the country and opening of new ones means now more than ever Serco’s role, and the role of outsourcing, must be questioned as tax-payer money is being spent with no transparency.

*Paul Farrell is a Sydney-based freelance journalist. Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and author.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER


November 2, 2010

Posted in WorldComments Off on YEMEN COVERT ROLE PUSHED




Israeli construction boom across the West Bank, while settlers rampage in Nablus and Salfit

Nov 01, 2010


And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

28 Oct. ’10: 35 tree vandalism cases in 6 weeks
Four Israeli human rights groups – The Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights and Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights – sent an urgent letter today to senior Israeli military commanders, in which they called on the commanders to take all necessary steps to ensure that Palestinians and their properties are protected from violence and damage during the current olive harvest season. Work Commences in Talmon Settlement North of Ramallah
Ramallah – PNN – Eyewitnesses in the Qabliya Farms village north of Ramallah said the illegal settlement of Talmon had seen several days’ worth of widespread construction work.  For more than ten straight days, the witnesses said, Israelis have been working around the clock in the areas of al-Zahur and Abu Ansar, bulldozing land and building new roads. Resident complained that Israeli authorities had barred them from reaching their land, which legally belongs to the people of the village.

Settlement expansion spotted in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma’an) — General Federation of Palestinian Workers’ Unions in Salfit monitored the settlement expansion activities in different places in Salfit.  Mahmoud Al-Bar, the head of the federation, said settlers carried out construction-related work in or near Ariel, Revava, Pedu’el, the Barkan industrial estate, and other settlements.  Land near these settlements was bulldozed in preparation for construction, he said. He also said Salfit has been divided into three parts by settlements, and is the only governorate of the West Bank where settlements outnumber Palestinian villages.

Many more Israeli buildings constructed in West Bank
There have been hundreds of homes built in the West Bank by Israeli settlers since the settlement freeze was lifted.  Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, removed the moratorium about three weeks ago, saying it had only been a gesture.  The 10-month freeze on new settlement building had ensured breathing space for the Israelis and Palestinians while peace talks were being discussed.

Israel Razes Homes in Hebron, Jenin; Settlers Run Wild in Nablus
Bethlehem – PNN – Wafa reported that Israeli forces demolished a number of homes in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday night, and Monday morning in the southern city of Hebron.  Meanwhile, eyewitnesses reported that settlers “wreaked havoc” in the streets of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday evening. The destruction in Hebron was more widespread, with Israeli forces razing homes in the neighborhoods of Samua, Haloul, Idhna, al-Dhahiriyya, Dura, Nuba, al-Shuyukh, and the refugee camp of al-Fawar, setting up roadblocks at the entrance of several streets and asking residents for their identification. Several residents reported Israeli troops rummaging through their belongings.

Jewish settlers on the rampage in Salfit
Extremist Jewish settlers on Sunday attacked Palestinian citizens while harvesting their olive crops west of Salfit and tried to rob their harvest, local sources reported.

Ibrahimi mosque closed for Muslim worshipers as settlers celebrate “Chaye Sarah”
Scores of Jewish settlers converged on al-Khalil on Friday afternoon to celebrate “Chaye Sarah” closing the mosque in the face of Muslim worshipers for the length of the festivity.

DCI-Palestine releases new report on settler violence

Fatah: Hebron must stand fast against settlers
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Fatah Central Committee met on Sunday afternoon in the West Bank city of Hebron and discussed ways to “strengthen the steadfastness” of people living in the community in the face of what they saw as an escalation of attacks by Israeli settlers.  The meeting was chaired by the secretary of the committee, Abu Maher Ghneim, and included members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Fatah leaders.

Netanyahu risks diplomatic rift with France over settlement freeze
Relations between Netanyahu and Sarkozy have become tense due to Israel’s refusal to extend the West Bank settlement freeze.

PM: Settlement freeze issue on hold
Netanyahu tells Likud faction meeting US yet to offer anything in exchange for renewal of West Bank construction moratorium; says unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood would ‘exact price from both sides’.,7340,L-3978109,00.html

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Weekly anti-Wall Protest Update
Oct 30, 2010– Al Nabi Saleh was the scene of extreme and violent repression from the Occupation forces during the weekly anti-wall protests. Protesters were also injured in Bil’in and Almasara.

Oslo mayor joins protest against illegal Israeli wall
Dr. Rateb Abu Rahmah of the Bil’in popular committee sent this note Friday after the demonstration:  Today’s demonstration in Bil’in against the Apartheid wall, organized by the Popular Committee of Bil’in, was joined by many local residents, Israeli activists as well as many internationals. As the group moved peacefully towards the Apartheid wall, they chanted to “Freedom to all Palestinian Political Prisoners”. Demonstrators carrying the Palestinian flag crossed through a gate to confront the awaiting soldiers with a simple question, “What are you doing here?”

Hope convoy stranded at Libyan-Egyptian borders
Members of the European “Hope” convoy carrying aid to the Gaza Strip said that they were hopeful of a decision by president Hosni Mubarak to allow them enter Egypt via land route to deliver their aid.

Irish musician refuses to visit Israel
Famous Irish musician Gary Moore has announced that he would never visit Israel, describing it as a criminal state during a press conference in Moscow.

A rabbi struggles to protect his Palestinian flock
Arik Ascherman is sitting inside a fortified and heavily guarded Israeli police compound in the West Bank. With him are two Palestinian farmers he has persuaded to report a theft, and a uniformed officer whom he is educating in the story of Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot.

Dallas Conference Launches Movement for One Democratic State in Palestine, discredits racist claims that Israelis and Palestinians cannot coexist peacefully in one state
Dallas-The Movement for One Democratic State in Palestine (ODS) was formally launched at a conference on October 23-24. This effort builds on the foundation made by similar gatherings held in Madrid, Boston and Haifa.  “This historic conference embodies the growing international acknowledgement that the ‘two state-solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead,” said conference organizer Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo. “Our call for one democratic state offers equality under the law for all Palestinians and Israelis—Christians, Jews, Muslims—in the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan.  This is the only way to a sustainable peace because it is based on justice and adherence to international law.”

Audio: From Sharpeville to Gaza
This panel will present and assess the achievements and aims of the BDS movement internationally and in Palestine over the past 5 years, and speak to the challenges ahead for the BDS movement in Québec, Canada and around the world.

Historic BDS debate in Zeek, Jesse Bacon
Zeek, the artsy hipstery Jewish journal, published two long pieces on BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) for what I assume is the first time. This bold move plants the movement squarely within the more creative portion of the Jewish establishment, at least as a topic of conversation. This suggests that the effort to make any discussion, as opposed to demonization, of BDS taboo has backfired. It is the BDS-demonizers who find themselves increasingly having a conversation with themselves.

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Gaza demonstrators at UN office demand end of siege
Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in front of the UN offices in Gaza city on Sunday demanding international intervention to lift the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

Child Labour in Jordan Valley Settlements, Palestine Monitor
At 5am each day, Nabeel wakes and goes to work. He leaves his house on foot, joining friends and colleagues as young as 10, on their way to the illegal settlement of Tomer. He is 13 years old, living in the Jordan Valley village of Al Fassayil. For Nabeel there is no other choice.

Feature: 70 wounded Gaza grooms celebrate marriage in mass wedding
GAZA, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) — Sitting on his wheeling chair, Omer el-Khouli was very glad as he celebrated Saturday evening, with his bride, in a mass wedding ceremony organized by Gaza Strip ruling Islamic Hamas movement.  El-Khouli had been critically wounded and became physically disabled 22 moths ago, when Israel launched a three-week military offensive on the Gaza Strip in late December 2008. He was pleased to join other 69 grooms who were also victims of that war.

Racism and Discrimination
How do you translate ‘innocent’ into Arabic?,  Amira Hass
Ahmed Nafe’a, a 29-year-old teacher, was jailed for nine months. The military prosecution submitted a severe indictment against him that was not based on proof, except for the testimony of a mentally challenged person

American prof. subjected to intense El Al search shares name of pro-Iran activist, Haaretz learns
After many previous visits without incident, science expert ‘humiliated’ en route to Hebrew University conference.

Hate-Preacher Rabbi Provokes Riots in The Galilee, Palestine Monitor
Arabs and Jews have united in condemning Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu for inciting racism in the Upper Galilee town of Safed. Eliyahu chaired a conference last week in which he informed his audience that it was ‘sinful’ to sell or rent property to non-Jews, sparking a violent demonstration against Arab students of Safed College. The Rabbi had previously demanded that the Israeli government “hang the children of terrorists from a tree”.

Interactive game inspires Ain al-Hilweh kids to stay in school
SIDON: Palestinian children learned to join forces in order to promote education during a rally-paper competition held at the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp Friday.The competition included solving riddles and playing educational games to raise awareness of the importance of education and combating illiteracy among Palestinian refugees.

Violence & Aggression
Palestinian children ‘victims of settler violence’ (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian children are coming under increasing attack by a handful of violent, extremist Jewish settlers, a rights group said Monday in a report on the human cost of settlement expansion.*

Report: Israeli soldiers kill 3, injure dozens in October in Gaza Strip
A report issued by Gaza Strip medical services documented dozens of Palestinian deaths and injuries at the hands of Israeli occupation forces in the month of October, 2010.

Daily shootings in Gaza’s border zone
UMM AN-NASSER, Gaza (Ma’an) — A string of shootings of Palestinian workers, many of them only teenagers, in the northern Gaza Strip has brought renewed attention to a live-fire exclusion zone imposed by Israel on the Gaza side of the Green Line.  Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon removed settlers and most soldiers from Gaza in 2005, but Israeli forces still patrol the buffer zone, a swath of Palestinian territory along Gaza’s northern and eastern borders.

Voices from the Occupation
Ill-treatment and torture – Abed (16) was arrested near a road used by settlers and accused of throwing stones. He reports being given electric shocks in Ari’el settlement.

Witnesses: Israeli tanks operating in central Gaza Strip
Several Israeli military vehicles crossed the Gaza border on Monday into the central Gaza Strip, witnesses told Ma’an., Witnesses said Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered hundreds of meters into the village of Wadi Al-Salqa, south of Gaza City, roaming the area and bulldozing land., The Israeli army regularly conducts similar operations in the area.

Israeli Troops Invade Houses in Hebron
Security sources reported that the Israeli military invaded, on Monday morning, several houses in Hebron.

Center: Silwan resident suffers blindness after clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A resident of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem is suffering severe vision problems after inhaling tear gas during recent clashes in the flashpoint neighborhood, a community center said.  The Wadi Hilwa Information Center said Ahmad Al-Juba, 20, gradually lost his vision since the clashes in late September, when Israeli forces used tear gas against protesters. Clashes broke out after a settler security guard shot dead resident Samer Sarhan.  According to the center, Al-Juba was transferred to an Israeli hospital, where it was said his vision was damaged by tear gas.

Israeli Officer Charged With Handing Gun To Friend During Attack On Palestinians Last Weekend
On Sunday, an Israeli court charged two Israelis, a border officer and his friend, with firing live rounds at Palestinian-Israeli citizens last weekend in the town of Safed, while shouting “death to Arabs”, “stinking Muslims” and “a Jew has a soul and an Arab is a son-of-a-bitch”.

Report: Leftover Israeli explosives cause Tubas blast
TUBAS (Ma’an) — An abandoned building in Tubas was destroyed Saturday in a blast caused by explosives left behind by Israeli forces, Palestinian Authority civil defense department said.  A car belonging to PA security forces was damaged in the explosion, and the glass of two homes in the area shattered, a statement said. No injuries were reported.  The report said the building had been used by Israeli military intelligence in 2002.

Viciously Attacking Israeli Arabs,  Steve Lendman
Reminiscent of Kristallnacht violence, Israeli Arabs in Haifa District’s Umm al-Fahm community were attacked, Haaretz writers Fadi Eyadat, Jack Khoury, and Chaim Levinson headlining, “Police clash with Arab protesters as rightists rally in Umm al-Fahm,” saying:  In Arab Umm al-Fahm, “Dozens of extreme rightists (hooligan West Bank settlers) held a protest against the Islamic Movement,” an initiative advocating Islam among Israeli Arabs on three levels – religious, social, and support for Palestinian self-determination.

Israel Arrests 100 Palestinian Children From Jerusalem Last Month
Jerusalem – PNN – Human rights groups issued a report saying that the Israeli military police, better known as the border police, arrested 100 Palestinian children from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan in October.  Israeli soldiers arresting a Palestinian child.  In contrast, the Israeli police announced that they arrested only 40 children after Israeli settlers in Silwan claimed that the children were throwing stones at them, adding that they could be lethal. The police said that all those arrested were under the age of 13 years old.

New Scandals in Child Prisoner Torture: Soldiers Urinate on 13-Year-Old Boys
Bethlehem – PNN – Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqa’ said he has uncovered a new scandal in the treatment of child prisoners by Israeli soldiers, in which Israeli soldiers urinated on two 13-year-old boys and held them naked in a bathroom for two days.

Hamas Fighter Kidnapped In Bethlehem, Army Believes He Is Behind A Shooting Attack
The Israeli army issued a statement revealing that Israeli soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian fighter, reportedly a member of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, and that the fighter is believed to be behind a shooting attack against settler’s vehicles near Bethlehem.

IOF soldiers conduct field interrogation of Hamas leaders in Yabad
A senior intelligence officer accompanied the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) that stormed two houses of Hamas figures in Yabad village, Jenin district, and conducted field interrogation with both.

National committee: Release Gaza prisoners whose incarceration term ended
The national committee for prisoners has asked international human rights organizations to immediately intervene with the IOA to end its crime of detaining Gazan prisoners whose sentences had ended.

PFLP fighters: We attacked Israeli forces in Gaza
GAZA (Ma’an) — The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said Monday that its fighters shelled Israeli forces east of Al-Maghazi, in the central Gaza Strip.

Political “Developments”
Palestinians mull options, preparing for possible collapse of peace talks
RAMALLAH, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) — After the right-wing Israeli government refused to extend settlement construction’s freeze in the Palestinian territories on Sept. 26, the Palestinians halted the United States-sponsored direct talks with Israel and said they would seek other diplomatic options instead.  Last week, President Mahmoud Abbas said that he has seven options to use in case Israel insists not to halt settlement. One of the options is to apply to the (UN) Security Council and ask for an international recognition of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

Erekat: “Egypt Proposed A Joint Plan For Submitting Palestinian Demands To The UN”
Head of the Negotiations Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Saeb Erekat, stated that Egypt proposed that the Palestinians present a plan that represents their demands to the United Nations, and that this plan would also represent a unified Arab stance.

Report: Egypt intel chief set for Israel visit
TEL AVIV (Ma’an) — Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will travel to Israel this week for talks aimed at breaking an impasse in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), an Israeli website reported.  Suleiman will meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu and President Shimon Peres, according to Ynet, the site affiliated with the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

German minister postpones Mideast visit (AFP)
AFP – Germany’s interior minister on Sunday postponed a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, his spokesman said, after global intelligence agencies thwarted an air cargo bomb plot.*

Ma’ariv: Washington Wants to Replace Mitchell in Coming Weeks
Tel Aviv – PNN – The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported on Monday that the US administration plans to replace George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, possibly with former President Clinton’s aides Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross.

Republicans urge Obama to prevent Palestinian state recognition
As Congressional midterm elections approach, Republican representatives call on US president not to reward ‘Palestinian behavior,’ warn UN resolution on Palestinian state would hurt peace efforts.,7340,L-3976883,00.html

Israel’s Tea Party draws few supporters to ‘Say No to Obama’ event
Movement is not a breakaway from Netanyahu’s party, Likud MK and organizer says, but is meant to help PM reject Obama’s pressure to bend to Palestinian conditions for peace talks.

Republican election gains likely to embolden Israeli PM (AFP)
AFP – A weakening of US President Barack Obama’s Democrats in this week’s Congressional elections would make Israel more resistant to demands for a new freeze on Jewish settlement, analysts say.*

War Criminals and their Enablers
Whither Goldstone? Did the PA kill the UN’s Gaza report?), Jared Malsin
Israeli soldiers shot a mentally ill Palestinian man in the leg when he ventured near the Erez crossing, in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Last Wednesday, a 65-year-old man was shot in the neck in the same area. A week earlier the soldiers shot a 17-year-old, who entered the 300 to 500 meter “buffer zone” in northern Gaza to collect construction scrap which he hoped to sell for a few dollars.

Other News
Hamas: There is no al-Qaeda presence in Gaza
Cairo – Al-Qaeda has no presence and it is also not wanted in the Gaza strip, a minister in the Hamas government told the regional daily al-Hayat Monday.  ‘We have closed all loopholes, and we do not wish to deal with al- Qaeda,’ Fathy Hammad, Gaza’s Interior Minister, told the paper.  ‘We are moderates and we value that, we do not like extremists or fanatics,’ the minister said.  ‘We don’t need jihad fighters or weapons…whoever wants to support us sends us money,’ Hammad added.  Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, took complete control over the Gaza Strip in 2007, ousting the more secular leaning Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Report: Hamas admits for first time losing 200-300 men in Gaza war
Israel Radio quotes Hamas minister as denying al-Qaida is active in Gaza, saying ‘We are moderates – we don’t like extremists or fanatics.’

Bardaweel: Israel won’t see Shalit without paying price
GAZA (Ma’an) — Hamas leader Salah Bardaweel said Monday that “the Israeli occupation will not rejoice [with Gilad] Shalit without paying the price under the resistance factions’ conditions.”  This remark came during a speech at an event in the city of Khan Younis held in solidarity with the more than 10,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza held in Israeli jails.

Officers suspected of robbing Palestinians
Two Border Guard officers took wallets, cell phones from Palestinians they were sent to arrest, police say.,7340,L-3977958,00.html

Former U.S. deputy defense secretary: Jonathan Pollard must be freed now
Lawrence Korb tells Army Radio Pollard’s punishment was too severe for his crimes, no other person with similar charges received such severe sentence.

Yishai: We’ll fight for Jewish majority
During Knesset discussion on Israel’s immigration policy, interior minister vows to maintain state’s Jewish character. Balanced bill could prevent unnecessary parliamentary battle, Opposition Chairwoman Livni notes.,7340,L-3977592,00.html

Germany’s Orthodox Jews outraged at government ‘discrimination’
Berlin rabbis furious over government decision to fund Liberal Jewish institution – but not its Orthodox equivalent.

Ministers approve bill against draft-dodgers
Haredi ministers slam bill requiring proof of religious lifestyle from girls who want exemption from service.,7340,L-3977931,00.html

Diskin: iPhones give terrorists intel
Shin Bet chief says technology has removed psychological barriers for carrying out mega-terror attacks. ‘Internet technologies accessible to public, like Google Earth, iPhones, supply terrorists with super intelligence,’ he says.,7340,L-3977924,00.html

Coming soon: Mabhouh TV series
Mahmoud al-Zahar says writing a script on life and death of Hamas leader killed by Mossad.,7340,L-3976750,00.html

Ramallah heritage exhibition fights occupation
An exhibition of handicrafts made by Palestinian women opened Sunday in Ramallah under the auspices of the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD) to preserve the Palestinian identity against the Judaization of the occupied territories.

The Must-Have Kitchen Gadget From the Gaza Strip
In this gadget-riddled world, far be it from me to come out promoting a new must-have kitchen gewgaw. But I came back from doing field research in the Gaza Strip this summer with a zibdiye and it has become my most precious kitchen item, in constant use. I thought I’d share the joys of this most rudimentary and perfect object.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Haneen Zoabi: Palestinians citizens of Israel are ’struggling for a normal state . . . which is a state for all of its citizens, [in] which the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews can have full equality.’, Adam Horowitz
Ali Abunimah has an interesting and wide ranging interview with Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi up on Electronic Intifada. Zoabi has been public enemy number one in Israel since taking part in the Freedom Flotilla last Spring. Most recently, she was targeted last week by police during the protests in Umm al-Fahm.

The Palestinian Third Way, Palestine Monitor
He is articulate, courteous, handsome and suave. A medical doctor by profession he is also a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and was candidate for the Presidency of Palestinian Authority in 2005. Fifty-six-year-old Mustafa Barghouti wears many hats, but what he most represents is the hope of an emerging third power for his Palestinian people fed-up of the Fatah-Hamas binary.  In Delhi recently to attend a conference on a Just Peace for Palestine, he modestly downplays the significance of his party — the Palestinian National Initiative, of which he is currently the Chairman.

Did Netanyahu refused extending the moratorium to hurt Obama and help GOP in midterms?
Aluf Benn, Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, had this weekend an analysis piece on the possibility the Palestinian Authority will ask a UN recognition of a unilateral declaration of independence.  Benn urged the Israeli government not to automatically object such a move. Israel, he writes, would be better off taking part in shaping a Security Council resolution than in just opposing one. As Ami Kaufman notes, given Israel’s mistrust towards international institutions, it’s a very surprising idea.

US Policy and the Future of Palestine,  Kathleen Christison
When Benjamin Netanyahu, then out of office, was caught on video talking back in 2001 to a family of settlers in the West Bank, he boasted about having undermined the Oslo agreement when he was prime minister in the mid-1990s.  And, speaking about the United States, he said “I know what America is.  America is a thing that you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.”  I would have to say that this little truism uttered by Netanyahu has never been more accurate than it is today.  The so-called “peace process” in which President Obama is currently mired is, of course, only the latest of a multitude of U.S. attempts to ignite the search for a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis over the last several decades.  And it has to be said that each attempt is a little more hopeless, and each time, the United States is a little more blind to why it is hopeless.

‘I shared my father’s belief that Arabic is the loveliest language in the world’, Philip Weiss
Wadad Makdisi Cortas was a pioneering Lebanese educator. She wrote the memoir, A World I Loved: The Story of an Arab Woman, in the 1960s in Arabic then translated it into English. Her daughter Mariam Said pushed for the book’s publication, a year ago. I’m going to be quoting it in days and weeks to come for two reasons, it is beautifully written, and it offers a window on how the Palestinian issue convulsed Arab society in the 1930s and onward, even the most privileged families. The book allows others to understand how Arabs looked on Zionism. But it’s the weekend, and here’s a non-political passage.

Terry Fletcher responds to Audrey Farber’s post on Palestinian democracy
In her recent post A true Democracy; if Israel would only let it, Audrey Farber paints a very rosy picture of Palestinian democracy, both present and future. Other commentators and human rights organizations paint a quite different picture, at least of the present.

Ramallah is Great, but it’s Not Jerusalem, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
Ramallah is booming. With each new passing day another restaurant, another hotel or another high fashion boutique is opening up in this bustling West Bank city. Road works have plagued motorists and pedestrians alike for months now, with new roads opened while others have been rehabilitated and widened, saplings planted strategically along the islands between the lanes and freshly painted lines designating either side of the dark asphalt streets. There is no doubt, Ramallah is thriving, the urban expansion accelerated at an almost frantic speed. One blink and another building is rising towards the clouds.

When brown shirts attacked my father, Lillian Rosengarten
Uri Avneri’s always powerful observations raise the most profound question. How can it happen, the lure of Fascism that oozes into the fabric of societies with the promise of a better life? There are always those who are not vulnerable to the language of temptation, the racist rhetoric that tears a society apart. These heroes become freedom fighters. An example is Hans Lebrecht, my father’s first cousin, who was an active resistance fighter in World War 11, a noted Communist activist, and a supporter and writer for Gush Shalom. He was my mentor and beloved friend. Now in his 90’s’, he resides at Kibbutz Beit-Oren. I cannot visit him for I am not allowed to return to Israel because I have dissented against their injustice to Palestinians. Here is a still timely quote from “JewishFriends of Palestine Gateway, by Hans.

A Turning Point Quietly Reached, Jeremy Salt – Ankara
This turning point has arrived quietly, no fanfare or advance warning signifying its importance. After 62 years there is nothing left to talk about with Israel. Finally, all possibilities have been eliminated. Past plans are scattered across the landscape like the whitened bones of dinosaurs, their only purpose to remind us and future generations of what might have been but never was. The last flimsy veil has been pulled away from a ‘peace process’ that was never a peace process in the first place but a different kind of war process. Netanyahu slaps Obama’s face time after time (and Obama does not react). Michael Oren tells the world Israel will decide its borders and noone else. Lieberman tells European Foreign Ministers to mind their own business. When you have solved your own problems come and talk to us, he says, and by the way, Israel is not going to be the Czechoslovakia of 2010, demonstrating that his knowledge of history is as twisted as his understanding of manners, ethics, law and morality.

the Lobby debate is a joke, Max Ajl
So in a break from reading the delightful ethnographies of the players in the Israel Lobby littering the comment section in Mondoweiss, I started reading Grant Smith’s homework assignment book, Spy Trade, which asserts that the Israel Lobby and American slavish adherence to Israeli policies is undermining American rule of law and our Proud Traditions. Enough of this. The Lobby pursues Likudnik policies, but the policies that are carried out are in the main imperial policies. They are class war, best captured by a Gini coefficient rising to third-world levels during the time of strongest support for Israel, from 1967-2001. Keep on trying to convince imperial managers that support for Israel is against their interests. They don’t seem to agree. Zionism shouldn’t be opposed because it’s harming the empire. It should be opposed because it harms Palestinians, while the Lobby gives good cover for imperial policies. Greg Palast explained all of this a long time ago.

On the loyalty oath and the wretched Zionist “Left”
Earlier this month, Israel’s government decided, with a large majority, to obligate non-Jewish naturalized citizens to pledge allegiance to a “Jewish, democratic state”. This is, of course, an abomination. It is another indignity that targets primarily the spouses of Palestinians, and attempts, through them, to strike at the growing resistance against Zionism amidst Palestinian citizens of Israel. It is another advance in the colonial war, both physical and cultural, waged by the settlers against the indigenous people of Palestine. The Loyalty Oath is also in line with what can be expected from the ever more violent, racist and hateful Jewish parliamentary majority in Israel.

Arab Ocean’s Eleven, Sherri Muzher 
It’s been said that the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the ILLUSION OF KNOWLEDGE. And when it comes to the Arab World, there seems to be many illusions – illusions that have brought people oceans apart. I call it the Arab Ocean’s Eleven.  (1) Allah. Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. This is no different than the Spanish calling God “Dios” or the French saying “Dieu.” The word Allah came before the religion of Islam was even established. Because Muslims of all ethnicities believe God spoke in Arabic, all Muslims use the word Allah. But go to any Arab Christian church — Allah is who is honored.

US must accept responsibility
The United States is a party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. As such, it has accepted an obligation not to employ torture and also not to transfer captives to anyone who may be expected to torture them. To violate this obligation is to make the American commitment to human rights look like sheer hypocrisy.

What was David Broder smoking?, Stephen M. Walt
If you want to see just how ill informed and morally bankrupt an “establishment” political voice can be, check out David Broder’s op-ed column in this Sunday’s Washington Post. Broder argues that President Obama’s prospects will remain bleak if the economy doesn’t improve, and that the President cannot count on the business cycle to do that for him. So after reminding his readers that World War II helped end the Great Depression, Broder offers Obama the following advice.

Hiding behind Lies: Replying to Rupert, William A. Cook
‘I keep reading between the lies.’ — (Goodman Ace).  Rupert Murdoch’s recent speech before the ADL gathering at their dinner gala opened with this flattering observation, ‘You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds.’ What he omitted from that statement is the ADL’s treatment of the Palestinian people under Abraham Foxman, its national director, who “…uses high-mindedness and unfounded anti-Semitism hysteria as cover for backing Jewish supremacy and the right of Israelis over Arabs, including by occupation and belligerently enforced apartheid” (Steven Lendman, Socio-Economic History Blog). Murdoch omits a needed clause at the end of that statement: “except for the Palestinian people and their beliefs and their rights under international law.” Indeed, Lendman’s article refutes virtually every one of Murdoch’s claims, laying bare the truth behind Murdoch’s talk: see nothing, hear nothing, speak nothing against Israel or suffer the condemnation that comes with the label “Anti-Semite.”

The speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the conduct and performance of the International Investigation Committee and the International investigators delivered on Thursday October 28, 2010.

Hezbollah against Politicized STL, To Protect Officials Not Cooperating with It
31/10/2010 As Hezbollah deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem has said that the party is against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon because it has gone beyond its target of finding the truth behind the 2005 assassination of Premier Martyr Rafiq Hariri, Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Ali Ammar said Hezbollah will protect officials who won’t cooperate with the tribunal.  “Hezbollah is against the International Tribunal because we are absolutely confident that it (the party) is not responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri,” Sheikh Qassem told the Qatari newspaper al-Watan.  Describing the STL as “politicized,” Sheikh Qassem said the Court has “gone beyond its target of finding the truth.” He accused the STL of seeking to “settle scores” instead.

Inside Story – Lebanon’s rising tensions
Hezbollah has called for a boycott of the UN investigation into the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the late Lebanese prime minister, in 2005. Reports now suggest that some Hezbollah members could be indicted. The Lebanese government has co-operated with the tribunal since it was established but Hezbollah considers the assassination to be an internal matter and has called for a local investigation. Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, believes information from the probe is being passed on to the group’s arch rival – Israel. So, has Hezbollah moved on to the offensive? And what role could regional powers play in escalating or defusing rising tensions in Lebanon?

Al-Manar, “Che Guevara’s Daughter Meets Hezbollah’s Number 2 Leader”
The visit took place during a campaign for the liberation of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for “espionage.” Aleida visited the border village of Kfar Kila, opposite the “Fatima Gate,” where, since the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 after 22 years of occupation, visitors come to observe the Israeli positions. “My father is still here with the people who are resisting,” said the Cuban militant, who also visited the Khiam Detention Center, where hundreds of people were tortured during the Israeli occupation.

The sense from Lebanon, As`ad Abukhalil
I just returned from Lebanon last night.  There is much nervousness about what is happening and what will happen.  It is all about the Hariri tribunal and its much anticipated–not by me–decision.  The US Middle East Zionist policy making apparatus is up in arms: because the March 14 movement is in such disarray.  Jeffrey Feltman foolishly assumed that his visit to Lebanon (in the wake of his visit to Saudi Arabia) will be sufficient to revive a corpse.  Feltman even thought he was being witty when he called on the Iranian president to learn from Lebanon’s “pluralism”.  I wonder if he dared to ask the Saudi Wahhabi king to learn from the pluralism of Lebanon too.  Feltman is furious at the transformation of Walid Jumblat: one of the most skillful–and most unprincipled–politicians in Lebanon.  His value is not so much in the size of his constituency which is very small, but in his abilities in political rhetoric and sloganeering.  The best gift that Hizbullah has ever attained–outside of Iranian support–is the stupidity of Sa`d Hariri.  This is the talk of the town.  You hear Sunnnis and Shi`ites, pro-March 8 and pro-March 14 all talk about the stupidity of this lucky or unlucky man–depending on the outcome. [continued]

 A Tainted Tribunal: Israel’s Other War on Lebanon, Jeremy Salt – Ankara
The extraordinary scenes this week  at a gynaecological and obsetrics clinic in the southern suburbs of Beirut have again cast light on the work of the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), set up to investigate the assassination of  Rafiq Hariri. STL investigators went to Dr Inam Charara’s clinic with a demand to be given access to the files of patients dating back to 2003. More specifically, they wanted the addresses and phone numbers of 17 patients. The presence of STL investigators in her clinic disturbed women waiting for appointments. Other women arrived from other clinics in the building and a fracas broke out. Eventually the investigators were driven off, but not before a computer, a briefcase, mobile phones and notebooks had been snatched from them. The episode raises fresh questions about the role of the STL. The southern suburbs are predominantly Shi’a and many of the patients in Dr Charara’s clinic are the wives, daughters and mothers of Hizbullah officials. What the STL hoped to find remains known only to itself.

Sunday: 14 Iraqis Killed, 42 Wounded; Hostages Taken at Church
In a still developing story, gunmen are holding perhaps dozens of hostages inside a Baghdad church after a bungled attack at the stock exchange. At least 14 Iraqis were killed and 42 more were wounded in an uptick of violence that is starting out the new week.

Dozens killed in Baghdad church
Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed it was behind the incident involving more than a hundred catholic worshippers. Night vision images shot from an unmanned US aircraft capture the moment a bomb went off in the church. Iraqi authorities are investigating the nationalities of those behind the attack. Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Baghdad.

Deadly Baghdad church siege highlights threat to Iraqi Christians
At least 37 people were killed when Iraqi forces stormed a Baghdad church that was seized Sunday afternoon by Al Qaeda-linked gunmen.

Egypt ignores Iraq Qaeda demands on women (AFP)
AFP – Egypt refused on Monday to react to demands over two Coptic women rumoured to have converted to Islam made by an Al-Qaeda group in Iraq that claimed a deadly hostage-taking in Baghdad.*

Six killed by car bomb in Baghdad
Six people were killed and four injured in a car bomb attack in northern Baghdad on Sunday, a police source said.

Guards killed at Baghdad stock exchange
Two guards at Baghdad’s stock exchange were killed in clashes with gunmen trying to battle their way into the building on Sunday, an Iraqi interior ministry official said.

Iraq suicide bombing kills at least 25, wounds 70: police (AFP)
AFP – At least 25 people were killed and 70 wounded in a suicide bombing at a coffee house in the town of Balad Ruz in central Iraq’s restive Diyala province on Friday, a police official said.*

Iraq says insecurity behind worsening public services in Mosul
The restive Province of Nineveh, of which the northern city of Mosul is the capital, has once again failed to spend more than 90% of allocations earmarked for improving its public services and infrastructure.  Mounting violence has made it almost impossible for provincial authorities to implement service and reconstruction projects, according to Abeddhiab al-Aujaili, minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.  Aujaili was visiting Nineveh Province on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister Rafia al-Aysawi.\2010-10-31\kurd.htm

Internally displaced Iraqis have nowhere to go
Seven years after the U.S. invasion, large numbers of Iraqis are still on the move with no safe areas to settle in.  Population movement is currently most visible in the so-called disputed areas where Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen claim them for their own.  To substantiate claims, the ethnic groups, particularly Kurds, resort to violence, forcing members of the opposite ethnic group to flee.  In retaliation, in areas predominantly populated by Arabs, like the northern city of Mosul, the Kurds are pressured to leave.  But population movements are currently most noticeable in the restive provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala, large portions of which come under disputed areas.\2010-10-29\kurd.htm

Inside Story – Breaking Iraq’s deadlock?
An offer from the Saudi King to break Iraq’s political deadlock is welcomed by Iyad Allawi, the former Iraqi PM, but rejected by his rival Nouri al-Maliki. Is Riyadh’s rescue bid a help or a hindrance?

Trial for Haditha Marine squad leader is delayed (AP)
AP – An attorney for a Marine whose squad killed 24 Iraqis nearly five years ago says his client’s court-martial is being delayed to Jan. 24.*

Saddam’s former chief of staff dies of cancer (AFP)
AFP – Iraq’s armed forces chief of staff under Saddam Hussein at the time of the 2003 invasion has died of cancer in a Baghdad hospital after seven years behind bars, the justice ministry said on Friday.*

Baghdad’s Shiite Heart Beats as War Ebbs
Sadr City has moved from black-clad militiamen and Islamic codes to weddings, music, movies and games.

Wikileaks Docs Underestimate Iraqi Dead
For all their value, the newly leaked documents will, unfortunately, reinforce the lower estimates of Iraqi mortality.

“Why Is Assange Still Alive?”: The Wretched Mind of the American Authoritarian, Glenn Greenwald
The cavalier call for people’s deaths, the demand for ultimate punishments without a shred of due process, the belief that the U.S. is entitled to do whatever it wants anywhere in the world without the slightest constraints, a wholesale rejection of basic Western liberties such as due process and a free press.

U.S. and other world news
Inside Story – The cargo plane bomb plot
A global security alert has been sparked by the discovery of two packages containing explosives on cargo planes from Yemen, bound for the US. Has Yemen become the new front in the global fight against terror?

About Those Packages, That “credible terrorist threat” — coming just before Election Day
I didn’t know what to say as the story was unfolding yesterday. I had the thought — and I immediately censored myself — what does this have to do with Election Day?

Omar Khadr, Guantanamo Detainee, Sentenced To 8 Years
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — A judge sentenced a former teenage al-Qaida fighter Sunday to eight more years in custody, bound by a plea agreement that compelled him to ignore a military jury that said he should serve 40 years for war crimes that included the killing of an American soldier.

Torture Is Finally Mentioned on the Last Day of Omar Khadr’s Sentencing Hearing at Guantánamo
Everything about the last week’s events at Guantánamo has been deeply disturbing.

Sunnis hang onto their edge in Bahrain elections
The Shiite opposition had hoped at least to draw even in the lower house of parliament, giving the movement an opportunity to probe alleged corruption among the ruling family. But, again, it falls two seats short.  Bahrain’s opposition movement was dealt a blow Sunday when results from a second-round election held over the weekend showed that pro-government and Sunni Islamist lawmakers had retained their majority in the country’s only elected legislative body.,0,3074558.story

Saudi Arabia’s morality queen | Nesrine Malik
This year’s Miss Beautiful Morals, the Saudi ‘inner beauty’ contest, is nothing but a veiled celebration of female submission.  Meet Zainab al-Khatam, the winner of Saudi Arabia’s second annual pageant celebrating “spiritual and filial beauty”. Each contestant reportedly underwent training in “psychology, culture and law in Islam; family relations, public rights, social skills, health knowledge, volunteering … as well as cosmetics”.  Established last year by a Saudi women’s organisation, and implying criticism of western beauty contests, the Miss Beautiful Morals competition focuses not outward appearances but on inner beauty, and the values that are often given less significance.

Hackers shut down Saudi education ministry website (AFP)
AFP – The Saudi education ministry’s website was shut down on Monday after hackers posted pictures of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and a youth wielding a syringe.*

Mexico: America’s Drug Habit Is Killing Us
“They [the Americans] have a clear responsibility in this because they are providing the market for the drug dealers and the criminals,” he said. “They need to do a lot more in terms of reducing the consumption of drugs and to stop the flow of weapons towards Mexico.”

European airlines say U.S. security goes overboard
European air officials accused the United States of imposing useless and overly intrusive travel security measures, calling Wednesday for the Obama administration to re-examine policies ranging from online security checks to X-raying shoes.

Police discredited over secret plan to spy on Muslim
A secret police counter-terrorism operation surveillance in two areas of Birmingham wasimplemented with virtually no consultation, oversight or regard for the law, a damning internal report has found.

Hijab: The Politics and History behind the Veil
Let us agree first that prior to 9/11 the west hardly bothered with Islam or Muslims. But that changed drastically after the terrorist attacks on New York.  People were told that the perpetrators of the planes operation on September, 11, 2001 were all Muslim fundamentalists with lethal anti-west sentiments. History couldn’t have picked a more inappropriate time to introduce Muslims to the world than 9/11 which has in a way stigmatized Islam as the creed of hate and intolerance.

A proud racist: Bill Maher
“In response to news that Mohammad (and variations thereof) is the most popular baby boy name in England:  “Am I a racist to feel alarmed by that?” Maher asks his guests. “Because I am. And it’s not because of the race, it’s because of the religion. I don’t have to apologize, do I, for not wanting the Western world to be taken over by Islam in 300 years?”

Settlers / Land, property, and resource theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Israel expands Nablus settlement
Settlers installed 12 caravans on Saturday beside an illegal settlement in the West Bank district of Nablus, witnesses said. Locals said on Tuesday that Israeli forces in armored vehicles bulldozed land next to Shvut Rachel settlement to prepare for the installation of the caravans. At the time, a representative of the settlement denied any major expansion was in order … Shvut Rachel is built on Jalud village land. Israel confiscated 80 percent of the village’s land to build six illegal settlements in the area, residents say. Sixty-five dunums of the confiscated land was planted with olive trees, which villagers have only been allowed to access twice in the last decade, said Abdullah Hajj Muhammad, the village mayor.

Rights groups decry olive harvest settler vandalism
“IDF aren’t doing enough to prevent damage to trees,” say human rights organizations in letter to commanders — Despite warnings by human rights organizations to the army about settler vandalism against Palestinian olive orchards, there have been 35 incidents of this sort between the beginning of September and mid-October, the organizations charged. See B’Tselem press release

not sure what to make of this:
Day of hope in Hebron
Jews visit city en masse on Shabbat; Arab, Jewish youth embark on impromptu soccer game —  Moment of hope: Unexpected coexistence prevailed in Hebron Saturday, after about 10,000 people visited the Jewish community in town ahead of the Torah portion on Abraham’s acquisition of the Cave of the Patriarchs.  For the first time in many years, Jews were able to enter Hebron’s Old City without a personal security escort. Palestinian movement in the area was also not limited, prompting local merchants to keep their stores open and welcome Jewish shoppers.,7340,L-3976985,00.html

Palestinians and Jewish settlers battle to claim West Bank lands, olive tree by olive tree (AP)
Olive tree by olive tree, Palestinian farmers and Jewish settlers are competing over the rocky hills of the West Bank, planting more of the gnarled evergreens to strengthen their hold on the land. Now in harvest season, the battle gets rough, with orchards robbed, vandalized and burned. This year, the stakes have been raised: Palestinians have planted double the number of trees as in past seasons, and Jewish settlers have responded by boosting their own olive production. The olive tree has long been a symbol of the Palestinians’ attachment to their homeland, its mystique enhanced by settlers’ annual efforts to disrupt the harvest.

Photo essay: Israeli society shaped by borders (AP)
JERUSALEM — All countries are literally defined by their borders, but few have had their history, society and national mindset shaped by their frontiers as much as Israel … The question of the border between Israel and the West Bank, home to 2.5 million Palestinians and about 300,000 Israeli settlers, has riven Israeli society to the point of violence.”Between me and you, between us and them,” one contemporary songwriter wrote, “without a border, there are no limits to anything.”

more settler hasbara:
Settlers dispute vandalism allegations
After four Israeli rights groups submitted a letter to the country’s army documenting attacks on Palestinians, settlers denied the allegations and said locals were more likely to blame. “Every year as the olive harvest season comes around so do various groups of provocateurs,” settler leader David Ha’ivri said. They “pose as rights groups but in fact thrive to incite tensions between local Jewish and Arab farmers and residents.”

and yet more from Israeli media:
Olives of wrath / David Ha’ivri
Op-ed: Journalists, aid workers have interest in fueling conflict between Jews, Arab farmers,7340,L-3977253,00.html

Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

ISM: Weekly demonstrations: Friday, 29 October 2010
22 people injured, 5 still in hospital, at increasingly violent An Nabi Saleh Demonstration — by Henni. Many shebab, two journalists and a girl were injured on Friday at the weekly demonstration in An Nabi Saleh. Villagers had employed a new strategy in response to the increasing violence of soldiers and border police.

To end the occupation, cripple Israeli banks / Terry Crawford Browne
from 3 July – The international banking sanctions campaign in New York against apartheid South Africa during the 1980s is regarded as the most effective strategy in bringing about a nonviolent end to the country’s apartheid system … If international civil society is serious about urgently ending Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, including ending the occupation, then suspension of SWIFT transactions to and from Israeli banks offers an instrument to help bring about a peaceful resolution of an intractable conflict. With computerization, international banking technology has advanced dramatically in the subsequent 20 years since the South African anti-apartheid campaign …SWIFT will, however, only take action against Israeli banks if ordered to do so by a Belgian court, and then only in very exceptional circumstances. Such very exceptional circumstances are now well-documented by the UN-commissioned Goldstone report into Israel’s winter 2008-09 invasion and massacre in Gaza and by the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010.

BBC Video: Margolyes: West End to West Bank
Actress Miriam Margolyes, known for her role as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter, has travelled to the West Bank to see conditions in Palestinian refugee camps. She told Andrew Marr why she was troubled by what she saw of the conditions in which some live.

Gaza blockade Kiwis return home
Six New Zealanders who were part of an international aid convoy which delivered $7 million worth of aid to Gaza returned home today, saying they hope their efforts will go some way to breaking the Israeli government’s blockade on the war-torn territory … Pat O’Dea, an Auckland electrician who was part of the New Zealand contingent Kia Ora Gaza, said the conditions in Gaza needed to be seen to be believed.


Center: Israelis attack Jerusalem man
A mob of Israelis attacked a Jerusalem man late Thursday, his family and a purported witness said. Farid Tubasi, 28, was hospitalized at the intensive care unit of Hadassah Medical Center after he sustained serious wounds and bruises at the hands of a mob of ‘extremist’ Israelis, Abed Tubasi, his brother, told the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights.

Palestinian resident attacked by group of colonists
Sources told Gulf News that the 28 year old Farid Al Toubasi finished up his work duty in West Jerusalem and returned home back in occupied East Jerusalem but on the way home a group of colonists met him on Halil Street where they hit him on the head and the chest with sharp tools. The sources stressed that Al Toubasi has gone in coma and the medical sources told his family members and representatives of the public establishments of Jerusalem that he is under very critical health conditions.

Palestinian worker injured in IOF shooting
GAZA, (PIC)– A Palestinian worker collecting gravel east of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday was injured when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened fire at him. Adham Abu Salmiya, the spokesman for medical services, told the PIC that the 46-year-old man was hit with a bullet in his foot.

Several Palestinians injured by Israeli force
Palestine, October 31, (Pal Telegraph – OCHA) During the week, Israeli forces injured 23 Palestinian civilians, for the most part during weekly demonstrations. Since the beginning of 2010, Israeli forces have injured 1002 Palestinians, up nearly 38 percent on the similar period in 2009 (727 injuries) …Read full OCHA report here

History: Remembering the 54th anniversary of the Israeli massacre in Kafr Qasim
October 29, 1956 …On the day of the massacre, the Israeli army decided to place all seven villages along the green line under a curfew called the War Time Curfew, from 5 in the evening until 6 the following morning. Israeli soldiers were instructed to shoot and kill any villager violating the curfew. Even though the border police troops were given the order by their commander at 3:30 in the afternoon, they only informed the mayor of Kafr Qasim about an hour later, leaving a window of 30 minutes for the 400 villagers working in the fields or outside the village to come back home. According to Israeli investigation committee records, from 5:00 pm until 6:30 on October 29, 1956, border police shot and killed 49 villagers from Kafr Qasim as they tried to return home.  Among those killed were 23 children and one pregnant woman. The killed and injured were left unattended through the night. After the curfew ended, villagers took the injured to hospitals and laid the dead to rest in a mass grave.

Detention / Incursions

IOF kidnap five Palestinian boys in Silwan
SILWAN, (PIC)– The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at dawn Sunday five Palestinian boys in Silwan town, south of the Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, on suspicion of their participation in recent events in the occupied holy city and took them to Maskubiya detention center. Local sources said that dozens of Israeli troops stormed the town at an early hour today and raided homes mainly in the neighborhoods of Battn Al-Hawa, Al-Hara Al-Wusta and Al-Bustan.
In another context, the Palestinian residents of Silwan complained about the cracks and cave-ins that happen in their homes as a result of the underground excavations carried out by the Israeli authority of antiquities … They reported that new fissures and cave-ins started to appear inside their homes with the advent of winter and said that they filed official complaints in this regard with the Israeli occupation authority, but to no avail.

Israel shows injustice toward 2 young Palestinians
Umm Al-Fahm, October 31, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli police arrested today morning two young men from the city of “Umm Al-Fahm” in the Palestinian occupied territories of 1948, for allegedly throwing stones towards Israeli special forces during clashes that erupted in the city last Wednesday during a demonstration of the Israeli extreme right wing.

Army detains B’Tselem field worker
Israeli soldiers detained a field researcher with the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem in Hebron on Saturday, witnesses said. Locals said Issa Amer was documenting settler attacks on Palestinians when he was detained.

Palestinian detainee held in isolation for going on hunger strike
GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli military court will hold Palestinian detainee Shadi Abul Hussein in solitary confinement on Sunday for going on hunger strike over the past four days, his mother told the PIC on Saturday. She added that Abul Hussein was protesting the Israeli occupation authority’s (IOA) refusal to release him despite completing his sentence almost two months ago.

CPT Hebron: Israeli military occupy Palestinian home
30 Oct — On Thursday 28th October, Israeli soldiers occupied a Palestinian house in the Baqa`a Valley, north east of Hebron. The house is located next to Route 60, across from the illegal settlement of Havot Harsina. It is the third time in less than two months that the house has been occupied. When CPTers arrived they were met by 7 soldiers on the steps of the house, who refused to allow them to enter. Members of the family came out and told CPTers that their father had collapsed when he tried to prevent soldiers from entering. He had been taken to hospital by ambulance. A month ago, when the house was occupied for the second time, his wife had a heart attack and died later in hospital … (CPTers have learned that the military occupied two more Palestinian houses in the vicinity: part of a security operation to protect Israeli visitors to Hebron commemorating the death and burial of Sarah). A neighbor told CPTers that he had heard screams, cries and shots from the house and therefore called for an ambulance. The soldiers had fired tear gas before they entered the house

Siege / Restriction of movement / Denial of rights

Father of Gaza deportee dies in Bethlehem
The father of a deportee to the Gaza Strip died Saturday in the southern West Bank, relatives said. Ahmad Mahmoud I’beiyat, 60, died in Beit Jala hospital, near Bethlehem, his son Jawad said. The two had been separated for nine years. Twenty-six Palestinians who took refuge in the Church of the Nativity during clashes in 2002 were expelled to Gaza following Operation Defensive Shield, during which Israeli forces besieged the church and Bethlehem in a bid to locate Palestinian combatants.

In Gaza photo essay; Dancing under siege (IPS)
“I’d planned to have my wedding party on a Thursday night, when more people could come, and stay later. But because the Dabke dancers weren’t free then, I held it on a Tuesday,” says Mohammed Ghronaim, 27, from Deir al-Balah, central Gaza.

Israeli army closes Bethlehem checkpoints
Israeli soldiers closed down all Bethlehem checkpoints on Saturday evening, prohibiting any movement in or out of the West Bank city. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the closure was imposed after shots were fired at an Israeli vehicle in the area. No one was injured in the incident, she said.

Gaza crossing to open exclusively for pilgrims
The Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip will be used by Hajj pilgrims for one week in 2010, the Gaza crossings authority announced Sunday. In a statement, authorities said the crossing would operate in one direction from 3 to 9 November to make travel easier and faster for pilgrims leaving to Saudi Arabia via Egypt. The crossing will resume operating as usual after all pilgrims have crossed, the statement said

Gaza: 1 terminal partly open, Karni closed
Israeli authorities will partially open one crossing into the Gaza Strip on Sunday for the limited delivery of food and fuel, a Palestinian liaison official said … The shipment will include 16 truckloads of cement and iron bars for construction projects by UNRWA.

Racism / Discrimination

Two Jewish youths charged with shooting at Arabs during Safed clashes
Border Police officer allegedly handed his M-16 to a civilian friend, as some 30 Jewish youths demonstrated violently [outside] Arab students’ apartments … The mass group of Jewish youths began shouting “death to Arabs”, “stinking Muslims” and “a Jew has a soul and an Arab is a son-of-a-bitch” at the house. They began throwing bottles and stones at the student housing.

‘Dark-skinned’ soldiers denied entry to nightclub
…According to the troops, two of the nightclub’s bouncers allowed only those with an “Ashkenazi appearance” to enter, while soldiers of Ethiopian and Yemenite descent were kept out despite presenting invitations sent to them by the nightclub.,7340,L-3977234,00.html


Israeli vehicle under attack in WB, no casualties
BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– An Israeli car came under fire while passing near Battir village west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Saturday night but no casualties were reported. The Israeli radio said that the car was carrying settlers but none was hurt as a result, noting that a bullet had penetrated the back door. A big number of Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene along with ambulance vehicles, the broadcast said, adding that the Israeli military searched the nearby Battir and Husan villages in search of the attackers, believed to be Palestinian resistance fighters.

Political / Diplomatic news

Report: Israel PM offers to trade freeze for spy
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested to US President Barack Obama to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for extending settlement freeze in the West Bank for 60 days, an Israeli news site reported Saturday.

Israel’s coalition government threatened by walk-out / Harriet Sherwood
Labor party will walk out of Israel’s coalition government unless negotiations with the Palestinians get under way … “We need to move as soon as possible. The only way to guarantee the state of the Jewish people is to move boldly after the US election,” Braverman, the minister for minorities, said in an interview.

Israeli PM to visit US next week
JERUSALEM – Israel’s prime minister said Sunday he will head to the U.S. next week to discuss Mideast peace talks with Vice President Joe Biden, in a possible sign of movement for the troubled diplomatic process.

Sources: Egypt wants to host peace talks
London — Egypt is contacting world and regional sides to organize an international peace conference, the London-based Al-Hayat daily reported Saturday quoting Egyptian sources. “Egypt considers it unbelievable that the status quo remains unchanged in light of Israel’s refusal to take a positive step regarding settlements, while the Palestinian president insists that they stop settlements before he resumes face-to-face talks,” a source said.

‘Palestine not for rent’ says Saeb Erekat
RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Authority on Saturday rejected a US offer that Israel lease lands in East Jerusalem and from the future Palestinian state for 40-99 years.

Protest, anti-Israel speech greet Rivkin in Morocco
Knesset speaker attends Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, slammed for Gaza siege, policy towards Palestinians. Rivlin replies: When Palestinians want it, there’ll be peace,7340,L-3977108,00.html

Hamas ‘not following in Fatah’s footsteps’
…Asked if Hamas was preventing firing projectiles toward Israel while criticizing Fatah for doing the same, [Mahmoud Zahhar] answered, “Fatah wants to prove that Hamas is an exact reproduction of Fatah when they used to confiscate weapons of resistance fighters and jail using the excuse of agreements with Israel.” … He explained the difference between self-defense in case of aggression against the Palestinians as in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009, and between security cooperation with Israel as Fatah does.

Haniyeh doubts reports on new Gaza war
Gaza government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Saturday that Israeli threats to launch a new offensive on the Strip were psychological warfare, but that he did not think a new attack was approaching. Speaking at a mass wedding for those injured in the last war on Gaza, Haniyeh said threats of war could not harm Palestinians’ spirits or ability to survive.

Tourism minister: Boycott Turkey – maintain national pride
After Turkish National Security Council defines Israel as ‘central threat,’ Misezhnikov says, ‘The less we go to Turkey, the greater the chance they get the hint”.,7340,L-3977235,00.html

Other news

Student arrested in rally against Gaza op to be compensated
The Beersheba Magistrate’s Court ruled that student Ran Tzoref, who was arrested about a year ago in a demonstration against Operation Cast Lead and was accused of rioting and a forbidden gathering, will receive NIS 12,838 in damages. Judge Sara Haviv acquitted Tzoref, noting that “the damages he should be compensated for are not visible – damage to freedom, the delay of justice he suffered, and of course the damage to the freedom of speech and demonstration.”,7340,L-3977546,00.html

American professor invited to Israel humiliated by El Al security personnel
An American professor who was invited to a conference in Israel claims she was humiliated by Israeli security personnel at London’s Luton airport on Thursday … Bradshaw told Haaretz that no one told her what she was suspected of and she wasn’t explained anything. She said that security took her to a separate room and confiscated all of her belongings. She told Haaretz that she sat and waited as every few minutes a different security official came in to question her about the items in her suitcase – which were mostly books.

Peres at Rabin memorial: We are more determined than the enemies of peace
Fifteen years after assassination of iconic prime minister for signing accords with the Palestinians, president still holds hope for peace.

Hebrew lessons at the Learning and Creativity Center in Susiya / Yael Arbel
…Then I got to know the men, those who had learned Hebrew through work in Israel. Today, very few get to leave Susiya for work, and there are no opportunities to practice their Hebrew. The women know just a few words, and they are fearful of making mistakes. They speak to me in Arabic, hoping I will understand. Each visit I understand a little more.

First luxury hotel to open in Ramallah
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – The opening of Ramallah’s first five-star hotel on Monday will mark another small step in the West Bank town’s steady march towards something resembling normal life. But its sixth-floor executive lounge looks out on a panorama of unresolved issues that cloud the economic outlook — a built-up Israeli settlement on a nearby hilltop, a Palestinian refugee camp down below and the hazy skyline of distant Jerusalem beyond a grim separation wall.

Wataniya Palestine shares set at $1.3 for IPO – source
Oct 30 (Reuters) – Mobile telephone operator Wataniya Palestine set a share price of $1.3 for its initial public offering (IPO) on the Palestinian bourse next month, a source familiar with the matter said on Saturday. The company aims to raise $50 million dollars, the source said.

West Bank airport seen as key to statehood plan
Officials said the PA has been searching for funds and other support for the establishment of an international airport. They said the PA has established a site in the Jordan Valley, about six kilometers from Jericho …This would mark the first PA airport in the West Bank. Until 2000, the PA operated an airport in the southern Gaza Strip, destroyed by Israel in their war.Officials said the PA has begun training staff, including pilots, for the airport. They said several European Union countries have pledged to finance the project.

Bodybuilding contest held in Gaza Saturday
A bodybuilding contest was given the green light by Hamas Saturday, as 500 spectators watched 30 contestants vie for top spot.,7340,L-3977068,00.html

Analysis / Opinion

Analysis: Netanyahu, Abbas and the battle for the US press /Barak Ravid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to strike a blow for Israel in the international media apparently misfired this week when he failed to convince a group of top American journalists of Israel’s commitment to peace. On Wednesday, Netanyahu hosted a group of senior New York Times staff for a personal briefing at his office in Jerusalem. The aim: to make the world understand that it is the Palestinians, not settlers, blocking the path to peace.

The Israelization of America / Gideon Samet
The events in Iraq can be seen as the Israelization of America. Close your eyes for a moment, and you can imagine that the Marines in Karbala are Golani infantry in Tul Karm. And it’s not surprising that two political camps in Israel with diametrically opposite views think something good will come out of the war.

‘No chance for two states’: interview with Knesset member Haneen Zoabi
“The reality goes more toward the one state solution,” Zoabi said, “whether a democratic one-state solution, or a binational one-state solution.” Elected in 2009, Zoabi represents the National Democratic Alliance, and is the first woman to be elected on the list of an Arab party in Israel.

Israel is proud to present: the aggressor-victim / Gideon Levy
Israelis have always loved victimization, not only when we were real victims, as often was the case in our history, but also when we were the aggressors, occupiers and abusers.

South Africa is already here / Zvi Bar-el
The government is trying to build a protected autonomy for the Jewish majority and a stunted autonomy for the Arab minority … Israel’s apartheid movement is coming out of the woodwork and is taking on a formal, legal shape. It is moving from voluntary apartheid, which hides its ugliness through justifications of “cultural differences” and “historic neglect” which only requires a little funding and a couple of more sewage pipes to make everything right – to a purposeful, open, obligatory apartheid, which no longer requires any justification.

Listen to American Jews’ stand on Israel / Gabi Sheffer
Examining the views of American Jews toward Israel is crucial in light of both the U.S. midterm elections and the Jewish Agency reform program initiated by Natan Sharansky … According to polls not cited in Israel, most Jews who have completely integrated into American society display total apathy for events that unfold in Israel. Only 30 percent of American Jews care deeply about what happens here. Most Jews who do care clearly support a solution involving two states for two peoples. What’s more, an increasing number of Jews back the division of Jerusalem and turning half of it into the capital of Palestine


Saturday: 11 Iraqis killed, 11 wounded
Excerpt: At least 11 Iraqis were killed and 11 more were wounded in light violence. Five of casualties died of injuries received in yesterday’s blast in Diyala province. In political news, the Goran party has quit an alliance that included the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. This new development casts further doubt that a new government will be selected quickly … The death toll in yesterday’s suicide bombing in Balad Ruz has risen by five to 30 dead. Nine suspects were arrested in connection with the bombing.

Iraqi Shia bloc rejects Saudi offer
The National Alliance, Iraq’s main Shia bloc, has turned down a Saudi offer to host all-party talks to resolve months of deadlock over forming a new Iraqi government. The offer was turned down on Sunday after some politicians voiced fears over foreign interference.

Fighters attack church in Baghdad
A group of armed men have attacked a Christian church in the centre of the Iraqi capital, setting off bombs and engaging in skirmishes with security forces.

New airline to launch direct London-Baghdad flights
The Al-Nasr company of Iraqi businessman Hussein al-Khawam “will fly its first Baghdad-London flight on November 3, but that date is not finalised,” said Nasser Hussein Badr, civil aviation director at the transport ministry.

HRW calls for probe into Iraqi Kurd journalist’s death (AFP)
Human Rights Watch called Saturday for a transparent probe into the death of a journalist who was killed after writing an article scathing of Iraqi Kurdish president Massud Barzani.

UK troops face 90 new claims of abuse in Iraq
A special unit of military investigators and former detectives is to look into complaints of ill-treatment

Iraq denies Tariq Aziz on hunger strike
BAGHDAD (AFP) – An Iraqi court official on Sunday denied a family claim that ailing former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, sentenced to death last week, had begun a hunger strike.

Save Tariq Aziz! / Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation
The hanging judge in this particular kangaroo court is a former aide to Prime Minister Maliki, who ran for election on Maliki’s misnamed State of Law coalition. It’s clear that Maliki wants to use the execution of Tariq Aziz, a Roman Catholic, to build support for his party among the most extreme Shiite partisans.

Other Mideast

Ahmadinejad aide says Iran not ready to talk nuclear
Reuters – President’s media adviser says, ‘We will not be talking with the Western party about the nuclear energy issue in this round of the negotiations’ because P5+1 countries yet to address Ahmadinejad’s conditions for resuming talks,7340,L-3977378,00.html

Egypt: Solution under embargo / Gamal Essam El-Din
With just one week to go until the Higher Elections Commission (HEC) opens the door to registrations for the upcoming parliamentary elections, the body in charge of supervising the polls decided to impose a strict ban on the Muslim Brotherhood’s long-held slogan “Islam is the Solution”.

Yemeni students protest parcel bomb arrest (Reuters)
SANA`A, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Students at Sana`a University protested on Sunday against the arrest of a colleague suspected of involvement in sending explosive packages bound for the United States. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, was arrested by Yemeni authorities late on Saturday. Officials said she had been traced through a telephone number she had left with a cargo company. “The Sanaa University student union … believes the girl is innocent and has been wronged…

Syrian daily calls US accusations ‘irresponsible’
(AP) A state-run Syrian newspaper has dismissed US accusations that Syria is undermining Lebanon’s sovereignty, calling the claims “irresponsible.” Tishrin newspaper said Sunday the accusations reflect a “pure Israeli will” and that US policies lack credibility.,7340,L-3977387,00.html

Suicide blast hits Istanbul
At least 32 wounded in explosion carried out by suicide bomber in heart of Turkish city, police say … The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is often blamed for attacks in Turkey. The group has waged a bloody 26-year campaign for self-rule in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey. Al Jazeera’s McNaught said the timing of the latest bombing in Taksim Square was significant since a unilateral truce declared by the PKK two months ago expires on October 31.

U.S., other world news

Detroit’s unlikely saviors / Bobby Ghosh, TIME
Middle East meets Motown – Can Arab Americans save Detroit? … The Arab-American community in metro Detroit produces as much as $7.7 billion annually in salaries and earnings, according to a 2007 Wayne State University study. (That amounts to more than twice Detroit’s annual budget.),9171,2028057,00.html

Punish Canadian severely, Guantanamo court urged
(Reuters) – A prosecutor urged a U.S. war crimes tribunal on Saturday to sentence a young Canadian and admitted al Qaeda murderer to 25 more years in prison and said anything less would give license to militants. A military defense lawyer said Omar Khadr, who was captured in a firefight in Afghanistan at age 15, had abandoned the jihadist teachings of his al Qaeda financier father, apologized to his victims and accepted responsibility for his actions.

Adnan Mirza: Another US War on Terror victim / Stephen Lendman
Post-9/11, Mirza is one of legions of war on terror victims – framed, charged, indicted, tried and convicted on bogus terrorism related charges … On May 27, New York Times writer Daniel Cadis headlined, “Texas: Student Convicted of Aiding Taliban,” giving Mirza one paragraph with no explanation on the FBI’s sting, using two paid informants to entrap, its common way snare victims – innocent, yet bogusly convicted and imprisoned.

In election’s shadow, rally draws laughs, activism
(AP) WASHINGTON – In the shadow of the Capitol and the election, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert entertained a huge throng Saturday at a “sanity” rally poking fun at the nation’s ill-tempered politics, fear-mongers and doomsayers.

lest it be thought these things happen only in the Mideast:

Bomb found in Northern Ireland
(Reuters) Police in Northern Ireland detonated a bomb on Saturday planted by suspected nationalist militants in Lurgan, south of Belfast, the latest in a series of attempts to destabilise the province’s peace process.,7340,L-3977064,00.html

Dissident IRA car bomb defused at Belfast airport
(AP) Northern Ireland police say Irish Republican Army dissidents planted a car bomb in a parking lot at Belfast International Airport but it failed to detonate. Police say British Army experts dismantled the device Sunday morning. They determined the bomb was principally made of drums of fuel, not conventional explosive, but was viable.,7340,L-3977307,00.htm

How many Israeli soldiers does it take to keep an elderly Palestinian woman from harvesting her olives?

Nov 01, 2010

Joseph Dana 

The headline sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but it is an unfortunate reality of life in the West Bank. We are in the middle of the olive harvest season and with it comes episodes of violence as well the harsh face of Israeli occupation. The above video taken last Saturday by a group of Ta’ayush activists is a small window into the strange reality of the Kafkaesque occupation where every detail of Palestinian life requires a permit which is unattainable. The video does not include subtitles from Hebrew but the basic plot is clear: Israeli activists assist Palestinian farmers harvest olives. The army arrives and informs everyone that they do not have the proper permit to be there. The permit is virtually impossible to obtain because of the nature of Israeli settlement security procedure and the unwillingness of the Israeli government to grant Palestinians in the south Hebron Hills basic civil privileges such as building additions to their homes, digging a well or harvesting olives.  The army arrests those Israelis (such as Ezra Nawi) who engage in non-violent civil disobedience.

The image of ten Israeli soldiers escorting an elderly Palestinian woman away from her olive groves seems to encapsulate so much of what the Israeli occupation has become (that portion of the video begins at 4:00); poorly educated and nationalistic young men forced to escort, humiliate and occupy elderly Palestinians who are simply trying to pursue their humble livelihood.

A version of this post originally appeared on Joseph Dana’s blog.

Haneen Zoabi: Palestinians citizens of Israel are ’struggling for a normal state . . . which is a state for all of its citizens, [in] which the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews can have full equality.’

Nov 01, 2010

 Adam Horowitz 

Ali Abunimah has an interesting and wide ranging interview with Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi up on Electronic Intifada. Zoabi has been public enemy number one in Israel since taking part in the Freedom Flotilla last Spring. Most recently, she was targeted last week by police during the protests in Umm al-Fahm.

You can watch the interview above and here is the intro to the piece on EI:

There is now “no chance” for a two-state solution in Palestine. So said Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in an interview with The Electronic Intifada (EI) on 29 October in Chicago (video).

“The reality goes more toward the one state solution,” Zoabi said, “whether a democratic one-state solution, or a binational one-state solution.”

Elected in 2009, Zoabi represents the National Democratic Alliance, and is the first woman to be elected on the list of an Arab party in Israel.

“We are struggling for a normal state,” Zoabi explained, “which is a state for all of its citizens, [in] which the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews can have full equality. I recognize religious, cultural and national group rights for the Israelis, but inside a democratic and neutral state.”


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Hebrew Lessons at the Learning and Creativity Center in Susiya


Guest Post – Yael Arbel

“You must come to see Susiya.”

In all truth, I am fascinated by the stories I hear about Susya. I have not been

there since the cold, muddy winter of 2002, when we trekked with Ta’ayush

activists to bring blankets for those living there, only to be detained by the army.

I don’t think I even got to see them at the end of that march. [editor comment:

that particular march did reach its destination, see here]

“People in Susiya really want to study Hebrew. I think it’s a fitting task for you.”

Yes, I’ll come to look at it.

But only to look, I cautioned myself. I have no time to travel repeatedly

from Tel Aviv to Susiya. I have children and a demanding, endless work,

and the trip is so long . . . . Well, maybe I can come just once a month to

consult them? So I came, and by visit’s end I was explaining that it’s impossible

to learn a language with less than a weekly lesson, and so I promised to come

again next week. In short, I fell in love with the community.

First, I got to know the renovated tent that became the “Learning and

Creativity Center.” The day I visited, physicians and nurses from the

Palestinian Health Organization were using the tent to receive patients.

Next week, Inbal and I taught there a large, mixed group of boys and girls,

young men and women, and adult men (but not adult women). At another

corner, an artist taught some residents to crochet old plastic bags. Two

months later, I saw the results of his teaching: artistic, colorful creations

of embroidery, beautiful and practical.

As time went on, I got to know the Susiya children – those generous, loving

hosts of my daughter, who ran with her all over the place, jumping over rocks

and winding among the farm animals. To concentrate on my teacher’s role,

I stopped bringing her, but the kids kept asking about her, when will she

come again.

We ate with the kids, danced, played, and attempted to speak Hebrew.

They chased a family of geese.Then I got to know the men, those who had

learned Hebrew through work in Israel. Today, very few get to leave Susiya

for work, and there are no opportunities to practice their Hebrew.

The women know just a few words, and they are fearful of making mistakes.

They speak to me in Arabic, hoping I will understand. Each visit I understand

a little more.

Inbal and I take a practical approach to teaching Hebrew. Conversation,

familiarity with the Alphabet, practical words and Hebrew/Arabic cognates.

The boys were immediately drawn to Inbal, recognizing in her the Israeli

incarnation of Pippi Longstockings. Meanwhile, I have been teaching a group

of girls of various ages, who have shown extraordinary linguistic talents.

And I teach the young children as well – writing and playing with letters and words.

I am used to teaching students who already know Hebrew, who are looking

for change, for play, for breaking the routine. I am used to teaching kids who

live in far greater comfort than Susiya’s kids can ever imagine. Jewish kids,

who live in Tel Aviv and study at the Democratic School.

Susiya is entirely different. The students have no pencils. At times, they

must leave to do something else more important. The girls may have to

watch a young brother or prepare dinner. Other times, they all go out to

look at the Settlers amassing on the hills overlooking Susiya.

Their mothers don’t attend my lessons; at most they look on from the side.

I am waiting for them to accept my invitation to join. But those who come

are eager to learn. They want to write in a notebook, to have a dictation, to

memorize; they want an authoritative teacher. I am far from authoritative.

Our democratic teaching methods strike them as not serious.

But they don’t want us to leave. “Just one more sentence,” begs Wuffa.

While we pack our bags, Sara and Islam are still seating and reading the

pages we left behind. Kusai understands almost everything we say. See,

in spite of everything, Hebrew is being taught here!

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Hebrew Lessons at the Learning and Creativity Center in Susiya

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