Archive | May 16th, 2011

Palestinians, IsraHell troops clash over teen death



JERUSALEM – Masked Palestinians whirling slingshots clashed with Israeli riot police in two Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem on Saturday after the shooting death of a teenage stone thrower. It was a sign of rising tensions on the eve of Palestinian commemorations of their uprooting during Israel’s 1948 creation.

The possibility of escalation comes at a critical time for U.S. Mideast policy. President Barack Obama’s envoy to the region, George Mitchell, resigned Friday, and the U.S. president may now have to retool the administration’s incremental approach to peacemaking. Obama is to deliver a Mideast policy speech in the coming week.

Mitchell held the job for more than two years, but had little to show for it. Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in September, but were quickly derailed by Israel’s refusal to comply with an internationally mandated construction freeze in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, war-won territories Palestinians want for their state.

Israelis and Palestinians on Saturday praised Mitchell and blamed each other for the failure of his mission.

Palestinian officials argued that Mitchell was destined to fail because of what they said is a faulty U.S. premise — that Israelis and Palestinians are equals who can be nudged by a persistent mediator. As the occupier, Israel holds all the cards and only U.S. pressure on Israel will yield results, said Nabil Shaath, a veteran negotiator.

“Mitchell was good and skillful, but what could his personal skill have done as long as he didn’t get the required support from the administration, to exert the required pressure?” Shaath said Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Mitchell by phone Saturday.

Netanyahu expressed sorrow over Mitchell’s decision to step down and “over the fact that the Palestinians refused to come to the talks that Mitchell worked to promote,” according to a statement by Netanyahu’s office. “They insisted on endless preconditions that hindered his work and, at the end of the process, joined Hamas.”

Despite the deadlock, dramatic changes in the region in recent months, including democratic uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and a Palestinian unity deal between rivals Hamas and Fatah, have been shaping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal restored President Mahmoud Abbas’ position as the leader of all Palestinians, including those in Hamas-ruled Gaza, and strengthened his bid to sidestep a negotiated agreement with Israel and instead seek U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood in September.

Abbas told the Rome daily La Repubblica in an interview published Saturday that if Israel doesn’t want to negotiate with a new Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, “we’ll go to the U.N. in September and ask if our people, which is again united, finally has the right to be a state.”

With much at stake, it appears unlikely that Abbas’ security forces will allow Sunday’s commemorations to get out of hand.

The day marks the anniversary of what the Palestinians call the “nakba,” Arabic for “catastrophe,” referring to their displacement during the Mideast war over Israel’s May 15, 1948, creation. At the time, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out by Israeli troops, losing land and homes. The dispute over the fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, now numbering several million people, remains at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Several Facebook groups have called for launching a third uprising against Israel, starting Sunday, and urged supporters to march from Palestinian towns to Israel military checkpoints in the West Bank and around Jerusalem.

However, a new round of violence could undermine Abbas’ diplomatic agenda, including his attempt to win U.N. recognition. Abbas’ Fatah group is calling only for marches within the confines of Palestinian cities.

On Saturday, the main flashpoint was east Jerusalem, annexed by Israel after the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians as their capital.

A 17-year-old Palestinian, Milad Ayyash, was shot and critically wounded Friday during a clash near a Jewish settler enclave in east Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhood of Silwan, according to a local activist, Fahri Abu Diab.

Abu Diab, citing witnesses, alleged that shots were fired from the rooftop of the Beit Yonathan settlement enclave toward the stone throwers. An official at Jerusalem’s Mukassed Hospital said Ayyash arrived with a bullet wound in the abdomen and bled profusely.

Ayyash died of his injuries early Saturday, said Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby. He said the circumstances of his death are under investigation, but that it remains unclear who fired the shot.

Ben Ruby said police first learned of the incident when they were told that a Palestinian with a bullet wound had arrived at a Jerusalem hospital.

During Ayyash’s funeral procession, Palestinians with scarves covering their faces broke away from hundreds of mourners, twirling slingshots to stone settler homes, passing cars and border police. Near the cemetery, dozens of Palestinians threw rocks and slabs of concrete at cars driver along the road below. Riot police fired tear gas, dispersing stone throwers who then would rejoin the procession, only to break away again later.

Clashes also erupted at the Qalandia crossing, a passage through the towering cement wall that rings most of Jerusalem as part of Israel’s separation barrier with the West Bank. Dozens of Palestinian teens hurled stones, while some 150 Israeli soldiers took up positions on the rooftops of nearby building, occasionally firing tear gas.

Ben Ruby said police were increasing their presence in the streets ahead of the nakba commemoration.

In Washington, meanwhile, the Obama administration is focusing increasingly on the Middle East in coming days. The president will deliver a Mideast policy speech, expected on Thursday, followed by a visit by Netanyahu. On Tuesday, Obama hosts Jordan’s King Abdullah II.


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For Second Time in 3 Days, NATO Raid Kills Afghan Child



KABUL, Afghanistan — For the second time in three days, a night raid in eastern Afghanistan by NATOforces resulted in the death of a child, setting off protests on Saturday that turned violent and ended in the death of a second boy.

A NATO spokesman apologized for the child’s death, which took place early Saturday in western Nangahar Province in the Hesarek District, a remote poppy-growing area close to Kabul Province and Logar Province. There has been almost no NATO presence there throughout the war, and the area is thought to be heavily penetrated by the Taliban.

The district governor, Abdul Khalid, said he had feared a Taliban attack on the government center and had called for help from local Afghan security forces. At the same time, there was a raid, he said. “American forces did an operation and mistakenly killed a fourth-grade student; he had gone to sleep in his field and had a shotgun next to him,” he said.

“People keep shotguns with them for hunting, not for any other purposes,” Mr. Khalid said.

The boy was the son of an Afghan National Army soldier, according to Noor Alam, the headmaster of the school the student attended. Although the boy was 15, like many rural Afghans, he was in a lower grade because he had not been able to go to school regularly, local residents said.

When morning came, an angry crowd gathered in Narra, the boy’s village, and more than 200 people marched with his body to the district center. Some of the men were armed and confronted the police, shouting anti-American slogans and throwing rocks at police vehicles and the Hesarek government center, according to the district governor and the headmaster.

The police opened fire in an effort to push back the crowd to stop its advance to the district center. A 14-year-old boy was killed, and at least one other person was wounded, Mr. Khalid said.

“The police had to defend themselves; therefore, they fired some warning shots,” he said.

On Thursday, a night raid by international forces in Nangahar Province resulted in the death of a 12-year-old girl and her uncle, who was a member of the Afghan National Police.

Elsewhere in eastern Afghanistan, there was a car bombing directed at a joint Afghan and coalition patrol on Saturday. The explosion, in Yaqoubi District, injured eight civilians, including six children, according to Faisal Mohammed, a doctor at the hospital in Khost City.

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Ab-A$$: Palestinians will never neglect ‘right of return’



‘Either we get the home and land peacefully, or we will make sacrifices until we return,’ Fatah says ahead of Nakba events.

The Palestinian Authority leadership will never neglect the “right of return” for Palestinians to their original homes inside Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Saturday.

His declaration came as Palestinians prepared to mark Nakba (“catastrophe”) Day on Sunday in protest against the creation of Israel 63 years ago.

The PA would continue to take “practical steps” toward achieving the “right of return,” Abbas said.

Every Palestinian “has the right to see Palestine and return to the homeland, because the homeland is our final destination,” he said When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords, the case of the refugees was the basic final-status issue, Abbas said.

“Of course, the other side [Israel] does not want to discuss the issues of refugees, Jerusalem and water, and that’s their business,” he said. “Does this mean that we should surrender to what they want? Of course not.”

Abbas stressed that the Palestinians would not accept a Palestinian state that did not include Jerusalem as its capital.

“Our message to the world is that we want a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and a just solution on the basis of the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative,” he continued. “But we won’t accept at all a Palestinian state that does not have Jerusalem as its capital.”

He claimed that while the Palestinians had accepted the two-state solution, Israel remains opposed to the idea.

“We believe in the principle of a two-state solution and we have recognized it for the past 17 years,” Abbas said. “But they [Israel] don’t agree to the two-state solution.”

With regard to the reconciliation between his Fatah faction and Hamas, the PA president said that the two sides were now working toward establishing a government of technocrats that would have no political affiliations.

The Palestinians’ dream of establishing a state could not be achieved unless the “two parts of the homeland are reunited,” he said – a reference to the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Also marking the occasion of Nakba Day, the Fatah leadership issued a statement in which it said that the “right of return” was a “sacred” right that does not disappear with the elapsing of time.

The Palestinians were determined to achieve the right of return because it was a natural and historic right, Fatah said.

It also called on the international community to assume legal and moral responsibility and consider the Nakba commemoration an international event.

“The right of return will remain sacred for every Palestinian who was forced by the Zionist war machine to leave his or her home and land in Palestine,” the statement said. “The Palestinians won’t succumb to extortion; either we get the home and land peacefully, or we will make sacrifices until we return.”

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Deputy Zio-Nazi FM: At least 60 UN states back unilateral Palestinian statehood



Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says that Israel will have to convince General Assembly members to change stance, but that ultimately, it is up to Security Council to decide on recognizing Palestinian state.

Ed note–Before September arrives, and with it the recognition by the UN of a Palestinian state within the ’48 borders, Israel will have done something spectacular to change the mind of the world body, such as a terrorist attack in Israel with a massive loss of Jewish lives. Until the rest of the world begins to realize that Israel–founded as it is upon the principles laid down within the religion of Judaism, follows thngs to the letter of the law, and by that we mean the Old Testament and how “God” gave the Jews all the territory between the Nile and Euphrates rivers, the world will never get anywhere in dealing with this momentous problem.


Israel will need to convince about 60 to 70 member states at the United Nations to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in September, according to comment made by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Ayalon declared that there is an automatic majority against Israel at the UN General Assembly, which Israel cannot change. But, he added,  UN Security Council and not the General Assembly is the ultimately deciding body on the matter.

According to Ayalon, the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation has limited the range of diplomatic possibilities for Israel, and as such Israel will have to wait and see what the Palestinians will do.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni called upon the government coalition not to sit back, for peace with the Palestinians is in Israel’s interest. According to Livni, the Netanyahu government was not willing to pay a small price in return for negotiations and now the price demanded is far greater.

Livni said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sticking to his chair in the hope that the rest of the world will be convinced that the Palestinians are to blame.

Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas met in Cairo on May 4 to sign a reconciliation agreement that ended four years of bitter strife. The Palestinians say that if a peace treaty with Israel isn’t reached by September their first choice is to go to the UN Security Council with such strong support and arguments that it would recommend admission of Palestine as a new member of the United Nations.

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Osama bin Laden dead: angry Pakistan drops intelligence sharing with West

Osama bin Laden's family is a wealthy dynasty with old business links with Saudi royalty.

Pakistan’s intelligence services are refusing to share details of suspects or plots with their American counterparts in protest at the US operation to kill Osama bin Laden, raising the potential threat of attacks on Western cities.

In the past, Pakistani agents have been credited with helping identify targets for drone strikes and providing data to the CIA on plans being hatched in its lawless tribal areas.

Now buffeted and embarrassed by being kept in the dark for months as the US closed in on the al-Qaeda leader’s bolthole, little more than 30 miles from the Pakistani capital Islamabad, agents with the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate have begun to withhold crucial operational details about militants on its territory.

At the same time, new details have emerged about bin Laden’s extensive support network insidePakistan, reaching all the way to the sprawling port city of Karachi.

The revelations will heap more pressure on to an administration already accused of helping shelter the world’s most wanted man.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that the ISI, which prides itself on arresting a series of key terrorists including the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has now broken off relations with the Central Intelligence Agency.

“They are furious. They handed over telephone intercepts in 2009 that were crucial in leading to bin Laden’s courier – the key breakthrough in the hunt,” said a source briefed on relations between the two countries.

“Then four months ago they were told there was nothing in it, it was what the Americans called a ‘cold lead’. Since then they have been left out completely out of the loop.”

Senior officials in the US have briefed journalists to say they stopped sharing information because they feared Islamist sympathisers within Pakistani security forces would tip-off bin Laden – ruining the best lead they had ever had.

Lieutenant General Talat Masood, a military analyst, said the stand-off would raise the threat to American cities and to Nato-led troops from plots hatched in Pakistan’s tribal regions, headquarters of al-Qaeda linked militant groups.

“There are implications for both the US and international forces in Afghanistan, so the Americans will be very interested in getting the relationship back on track,” he said.

However, politicians in Pakistan are intent on making the US pay for an apparently unauthorised raid on its soil.

The past fortnight has been deeply embarrassing for Pakistan’s previously admired military and intelligence apparatus.

The generals face tough questions over how the US was able to launch a raid on its territory without anyone noticing.

They must also explain how the world’s most wanted man could live for at least five years right under their noses, less than a mile from the country’s officer training academy in Abbottabad.

Last week, President Barack Obama said bin Laden had a “support network” within Pakistan and demanded to know whether government officials or military officers knew of his presence.

US suspicions of collusion have frozen relations between the two countries, which were already frosty following the arrest of CIA agent in Lahore earlier this year after he shot dead two men.

On Friday night, with intelligence officials already suspending intelligence sharing, Pakistan’s parliament also called for a review of the country’s relationship with the US.

During a 10-hour joint session held to debate the American raid, MPs demanded an independent investigation to replace a planned military inquiry.

And they also unanimously passed a resolution urging a ban on Nato transit convoys taking supplies from the port of Karachi to Afghanistan unless the US ends its controversial programme drone attacks.

Politicians who stayed late into the night said the head of the ISI admitted intelligence failures and said he was prepared to resign if he no longer had their support, an offer refused by the head of Army.

However, documents recently released by WikiLeaks will only deepen their embarrassment. Testimony from prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay describes elements of bin Laden’s support network deep inside Pakistan, tasked with helping the fugitive evade justice, and also describe a meeting between the Taliban’s one-eyed leader Mullah Omar and ISI agents.

Shortly before 9/11, bin Laden began his preparations to elude US reprisals and begin his life on the run.

Mohammed Ahmad Rabbani, “who had the full trust and confidence of al-Qaeda leadership” according to leaked detainee files, told interrogators that he ran a series of al-Qaeda safe houses in Karachi, the economic heart of Pakistan. About two months before airliners crashed into the World Trade Centre, he was ordered to procure supplies and construction materials in Karachi and send them to Afghanistan.

There they were used to extend an existing network of caves and tunnels at Tora Bora deep into the mountains that separate Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Bin Laden and his lieutenants disappeared into the caves in December 2001 – the last known sighting before Navy Seals shot him dead two weeks ago – as US warplanes bombed the area.

Other detainees said bin Laden had lived there with three wives, 25 bodyguards and dozens more al-Qaeda operatives including his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The documents also show further evidence of how ISI operatives liaised with and senior Taliban figures. In one example, Pakistani intelligence officers met Mullah Omar, the one-eyed head of the Afghan Taliban, along with other militia commanders in Quetta, south-western Pakistan.

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Hamas leader on Nakba Day: The Zionist project must end



Hamas PM in Gaza tells thousands of worshipers that Palestinians have ‘right to resist’ Israeli occupation, reiterates that the Islamic movement will not recognize Israel.

Associated Press

Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip on Sunday affirmed the Islamist movement’s hard-line principles in a speech to thousands of Muslim worshippers Sunday, as they commemorated the uprooting of Palestinians during the 1948 Independence Day War.

“Palestinians mark the occasion this year with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine,” Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, told about 10,000 people at a Gaza City mosque.

Haniyeh’s apparent call for Israel’s destruction comes just weeks after Hamas reconciled with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after a four-year split. Abbas has been trying to market the Islamic militants to the international community as an acceptable political partner.

Marches commemorating the 1948 events, known in Arabic as nakba (catastrophe), were also planned in the Abbas-ruled West Bank and in Arab towns in Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out during the fighting more than six decades ago. The dispute over the fate of the refugees and their descendants, now several million people, remains at the core of the Middle East conflict.

Israeli security forces were on high alert Sunday, and the Israeli military sealed the West Bank for a day, barring Palestinians from entering Israel.

Haniyeh launched the Nakba Day events with a dawn sermon at Gaza City’s al-Omari Mosque.

“Palestinians have the right to resist Israeli occupation and will one day return to property they lost in 1948,” Haniyeh told worshipers. “To achieve our goals in the liberation of our occupied land, we should have one leadership,” he added, praising the recent unity deal.

As part of the reconciliation agreement, Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah movement are to share power in a transitional government until elections are held next year. The U.S. and Europe consider Hamas a terrorist group and have said they will only deal with it if it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and honors previous peace commitments made by the Palestinians.

Haniyeh reiterated Sunday that his movement would not recognize Israel at the outset.

However, Hamas leaders are often vague or issue contradictory statements about the group’s political aims.

In recent weeks, some in the group have spoken of reconciliation with the West and a halt to armed hostilities with Israel, and even hinted at some sort of political accommodation.

While Israel is not convinced, there are hopes in some Palestinian circles that the Iran-backed group could become a more accepted part of the Middle East diplomatic equation.

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Zio-Nazi Holocaust in Palestine



Please do forward this email so we can get as many hits as possible on youtube. 

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