Archive | October 14th, 2011

Palestine Solidarity Campaign PSC surenderd to Zio-Nazi Harry Place and J lobby pressure

i was asked to resign by a group who made the decision at a special meeting; it must go before a branch meeting next week. But when other members hear of it, they may want to discuss it. it will be passed but should stir things up a bit.

Francis was not expelled for holocaust denial but for anti-semitism. At the time Ben Soffa, PSC Secretary, indicated to me  that denial was not grounds for expulsion. It shows how much they have succumbed to pressure in a few months.

From: francis

To: Gilad Atzmon

Hi Gilad,

To be strictly accurate, I was thrown out of Brighton & Hove PSC, a branch I founded in 1997, on April 20th, that is six months ago. National PSC, of which, as you rightly say, I was Chair (for a total of around two years, for two periods of office between 1998 and 2001) expelled me a month later, though I didn’t actually hear about it until 21st June. I have appealed against the expulsion from national PSC, and this will be heard at the AGM in January, though it is quite unclear what the procedure will be.

Cheers, Francis

Sent: Friday, October 142011
Cc: Sammi Ibrahemi  nahida ; gill kaffash ; Francis Clark-Lowes

She will contact you soon and interview you about the event that lead to your expulsion from the PSC and the people behind it..


a few weeks ago PSC surenderd to HP and J lobby pressure and amended its founding statement..

to read more

Gilad Atzmon: PSC has made it

September 23, 2011

UK PSC  is now approved by the notorious UK hard core Zionist Jewish Chronicle (JC).
The JC reported today that the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has “amended its statement of purpose expressly to include a denunciation of Holocaust denial.”
The JC was very happy to report that the statement on the PSC’s website now reads: “Any expression of racism or intolerance, or attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust have no place in our movement.”

I must admit that I am puzzled by the PSC’s new statement. I still do not know what holocaust denial entails. Can anyone deny a historical chapter?  Can any one deny Napoleonic Wars? Are there WWI deniers around, or Ancient Greece Deniers? I don’t think so. The word ‘denial’ doesn’t belong to the historical discourse. It actually fits into religious and dogmatic narratives.
However, this is certainly the first time I have come across the notion of ‘Holocaust minimizing’. I really can’t imagine what it is. I can think of people who minimize the ‘impact’ or ‘significance’ of an event in the past, but to my knowledge,  holocaust minimizing’ doesn’t make any sense in English.

It seems as if the PSC was reacting in panic to an orchestrated Zionist attack.
And indeed, the JC brings up the details. The “PSC has come under increasing pressure over views held by some members of its branches. Some have been accused of Holocaust denial and promoting Jewish conspiracy narratives.” In other words, the JC basically informs us that the PSC surrendered to Zionist pressure. This shouldn’t take us by a complete surprise. Zionist pressure can be very effective. This week, for instance,  we saw President Obama advocating the Likud mantra to the UN general assembly.

As one would anticipate, the JC was kind enough to report that  “the move has been welcomed by Jewish anti-Zionists such as Tony Greenstein.”

Along the years I have heard Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs complaining that British Solidarity organizations hardly reflects their voice. At least now they know why.
I am not a member of the PSC,  yet, I would like the PSC to be strong and effective. I hope that the PSC find within itself the necessary wisdom to recover from this fiasco. I am sure it will.

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DePaul international law expert heads report on crackdown in Bahrain


(AP/Hasan Jamali)

A man passes a wall with pictures of jailed opposition figures and the word “steadfast” in Malkiya, Bahrain.

A preeminent international law expert, DePaul University’s Cherif Bassiouni helped create the International Criminal Court and has investigated war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. He’s currently serving as president emeritus of  DePaul University’s International Human Rights Law Institute

The United Nations recently tapped him to examine human rights violations in Libya, but lately, Bassiouni has spent a lot of time in the tiny Gulf state of Bahrain.

On June 29, the kingdom set up an independent commission to examine the government crackdown on the majority Shiite opposition, following protests in February and March against the Sunni regime. Bahrain asked Bassiouni to chair the commission, comprised of leading international law specialists. Their report, paid for by the government, is due later this month.

His task is a challenging one. In Bahrain, the Arab Spring is far from over. In the small country of 1.25 million people, the Shiite Muslim majority feels deep separation from the Sunni minority, to which the ruling Al Kahifla family belongs.

In the last two days, Bahraini courts have sentenced a total of 60 people to prison for their involvement in the protests.

And last week, the courts sentenced doctors and medical workers who treated protesters to prison for up to 15 years, shocking organizations like Physicians for Human Rights. So far, one protester has been sentenced to the death penalty.

Critics of the investigation say the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry is too close to the government to be effective. But Bassiouni disagrees.

On Tuesday, he spoke at length with Worldview host Jerome McDonnell to discuss the commission’s findings and the controversies that have ensued.

Click on the audio link atop the page to hear their conversation in its entirety.

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Iran Assassination Plot Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Posted in IranComments Off on Iran Assassination Plot Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Muftis for hire


The Syrian regime Mufti last week threatened that there are people ready in the West to perpetrate suicide operations if Syria or Lebanon are attacked by Western governments.

Syrian opposition supporters sent me video of the same Mufti in which he had denounced suicide attacks (and even called for peace between “Palestine and Israel”).


See: Angry Arab

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Muftis for hire

Ex-CIA warns US ‘dangerously wrong’ on Iran

by crescentandcross 


ELEANOR HALL: Now to the United States where a former intelligence analyst is warning the Obama administration to step back from blaming Iran for the foiled assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

The US attorney-general says Iran is behind what would have been a blatant act of international terrorism and which investigating authorities said was intended to be a prelude to other attacks.

The Iranian regime is denying any involvement in the plot and says the allegations are US propaganda.

At a press conference announcing the plot and the charging of two Iranians, attorney-general Eric Holder said that the US would “hold Iran accountable for its actions”.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton also warned that the US will consider ways to isolate Iran from the international community.

HILLARY CLINTON: This kind of action which violates international norms must be ended and other areas where we can cooperate more closely in order to send a strong message to Iran and further isolate it from the international community will also be considered.

ELEANOR HALL: That’s the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

But a former CIA analyst with decades of experience studying Iran, says the US may have got this dangerously wrong.

Robert Baer spent 21 years working as a CIA case officer in the Middle East.

When he spoke to me this morning, he said this plot does not appear to him to be driven by the Iranian government and he says the US administration must now step back from its comments and open a direct diplomatic channel with the Iranian regime or risk igniting an uncontrollable war.

Robert Baer, were you surprised when you heard about this assassination plot?

ROBERT BAER: Oh absolutely. I mean right now is not the time for Iran to provoke the United States. We’re on edge already vis-à-vis Iran and it came as a total surprise to me.

ELEANOR HALL: The Iranian authorities have dismissed this as US propaganda; is it credible that the Iranian government is behind it?

ROBERT BAER: I don’t think it’s credible, not the central government, there may be a rogue element behind it. This doesn’t fit their modus operandi at all. It’s completely out of character, they’re much better than this. They wouldn’t be sending money through an American bank, they wouldn’t be going to the cartels in Mexico to do this. It’s just not the way they work.

I’ve followed them for 30 years and they’re much more careful. And they always use a proxy between them and the operation, and in this case they didn’t. I mean it’s the, either they’re shooting themselves in the foot or there’s pieces of the story, I don’t know what they are.

ELEANOR HALL: Well the US attorney-general is alleging that it’s the Iranian government and has warned that the US will take further action against Iran; what could he mean by that? What form could that action take?

ROBERT BAER: Well if they had gone through with this and set off a bomb in a Washington restaurant and attacked the Israeli embassy and the rest of it, that’s a casus belli, they could have gone to war with Iran.

And will they move? Sanctions are not working, they’ve done all the sanctions they can, are they going to move to some sort of naval blockade, an embargo? I can’t tell you.

But if they truly believe the central government was going to launch an attack inside the United States like this, they have to do something now that they’re on the record.

ELEANOR HALL: Well they are on the record. They’re now saying that they will take further action. It’s surely not likely that they would launch a war?

ROBERT BAER: There could be retaliatory attacks or, you know, hit/bomb a Quds Force base in Tehran, any number of things of course which would lead to a huge escalation.

I just cannot get over the fact though, and I have to come back to this, the Iranians are not that sloppy to plan something like this and then call back to Tehran. So I can’t explain what’s going on here.

ELEANOR HALL: So are you suggesting that the US attorney-general is actually speaking out too soon in blaming the Iranian government?

ROBERT BAER: I think he is. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the administration sort of backing down from this in the coming days.

On the other hand, if they increase the rhetoric, we are looking at an escalation which is uncontrollable.

ELEANOR HALL: And which could lead where?

ROBERT BAER: It could lead to a conflict in Iran. I mean, if we were to launch an embargo, there’s a limited amount of troops in Iraq, would the Iranians retaliate against them? Would they retaliate against us in any number of places?

This is the problem, you know, Iran truly is the third rail of American foreign policy and no-one’s done anything over the years to ameliorate relations with Iran.

ELEANOR HALL: If it’s not Iran behind this assassination plot, what are the possibilities?

ROBERT BAER: You could have an individual claiming it’s the Iranian government, an Iranian radical. You might actually have a radical in Tehran attempting to frame the government.

ELEANOR HALL: And to what extent should the Saudis be concerned about such a plot against their ambassador in the US, whether it’s driven by the official authorities of Iran or not?

ROBERT BAER: I think that they should be worried about attacks inside Saudi Arabia, and again that goes back to escalation.

ELEANOR HALL: Well Iran and the Saudis have long been rival powers in the region, but are the various Arab Spring uprisings ratcheting up the tensions between the two?

ROBERT BAER: I think they are because if you look at something like Syria, Iran, no matter what they say, supports the minority regime. My contention is we’re sitting on a volcano in the Middle East. But that’s all could be ignited by this kind of tension. And people in the White House, that’s exactly what they don’t need going into an election.

ELEANOR HALL: So what’s your advice right now to the president?

ROBERT BAER: Well I think he made a huge step in this press conference in the wrong direction. You know, now is the time we should have a back channel to Iran, figure out who these people are, a red line, like we used to have with the Soviet Union, and sort this out. We need a direct channel to the Iranians to talk this through.

ELEANOR HALL: And the way that you’re speaking at the moment, this is a really serious point of crisis?

ROBERT BAER: I think it’s an act of war. If that bomb had gone off, if indeed this was a real plot, it had gone off, it would have been an act of war and the United States would have been forced to respond with military… an attack. There would have been no question in my mind.

So were we that close to a war with Iran? I don’t know.

ELEANOR HALL: But at this point you’re saying actions need to be taken to step it back, from the United States?

ROBERT BAER: Absolutely. We could not control the consequences of a war with Iran, it’s uncontrollable.

Look, all these scenarios are worst case, and fortunately they rarely come about and I hope we step back on this one.

ELEANOR HALL: Robert Baer, thanks very much for joining us.

ROBERT BAER: Thank you.

ELEANOR HALL: That’s former CIA analyst Robert Baer. His most recent book on Iran is called Dealing with the Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower. And you can listen to a longer version of that interview on our website.

Posted in IranComments Off on Ex-CIA warns US ‘dangerously wrong’ on Iran

Officials concede gaps in U.S. knowledge of Iran plot

by crescentandcross 


U.S. officials uncovered a plot to bomb the Saudi Ambassador to the United States allegedly launched by a special operations unit inside the Iranian military.


Iran’s supreme leader and the shadowy Quds Force covert operations unit were likely aware of an alleged plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, but hard evidence of that is scant, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The United States does not have solid information about “exactly how high it goes,” one official said.

The Obama administration has publicly and directly blamed Iran’s government for seeking to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, and has warned Tehran it will face consequences. The accusation has heightened tensions in the volatile, oil-rich Gulf.

Tehran has called the accusation a fabrication designed to sow discord in the region.

The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their confidence that at least some Iranian leaders were aware of the alleged plot was based largely on analyses and their understanding of how the Quds Force operates.

They said it was “more than likely” that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani had prior knowledge or approved of the suspected plot. They insisted it was “not a rogue operation in any way,” and was sanctioned and directed by Quds Force operatives in Iran.

But other parts of Iran’s factionalized government may not have known, they said. That included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who “didn’t necessarily know about this,” one said.

New details emerged about Manssor Arbabsiar, the Iranian-American and former Texas resident who is alleged to have tried to hire a Mexican drug cartel figure to assassinate al-Jubeir. That figure turned out to be a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informant.

Arbabsiar, the only suspect known to be arrested in connection with the alleged plot, went by “Jack” and moved to Iran about a year ago, according to news reports.

Arbabsiar’s wife, Martha Guerrero, told KVUE TV station in Austin, Texas, he was innocent. “I may not be living with him, being separated, but I cannot for the life of me think that he would be capable of doing that,” she was quoted as saying.


Several senior U.S. government officials acknowledged the alleged plot was unusual in its poor tradecraft — spy jargon for espionage skills and finesse.

“We would expect to see the Quds Force cover their tracks more effectively,” said one official. Another said a plot to launch a violent attack inside the United States was “very outside the pattern” of recent Quds Force activities.

Kenneth Katzman, an Iran specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said there were elements of the alleged plot that did not make sense.

“The idea of using a Texas car salesman who is not really a Quds Force person himself, who has been in residence in the United States many years, that doesn’t add up,” Katzman said.

“There could have been some contact on this with the Quds Force, but the idea that this was some sort of directed, vetted, fully thought-through plot, approved at high levels in Tehran leadership I think defies credulity,” he said.

The U.S. officials said Quds Force operations until now had principally involved providing covert Iranian support to anti-American and anti-Israeli militants and insurgents in the Middle East and South Asia.

But the officials also noted a history of antagonism between Iran’s theocratic Shi’ite government and Saudi Arabia’s Sunni monarchy. That hostility manifested itself in the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers, a Saudi residential complex housing U.S. servicemen, in which U.S. officials say the Quds Force played a significant role.

Officials said the poor tradecraft and loose talk by Arbabsiar left open a strong possibility that officials in Tehran believed the U.S. government would not necessarily view an attack on Saudi Arabia’s ambassador as an attack on the United States itself.


Historically, Quds Force operatives have been active against U.S. interests overseas, including providing arms and other support to both Shi’ite and Sunni insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

Iranian government operatives or militant groups supported by Iran, such as the Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hizbollah, have been implicated in attacks on U.S. and other Western targets, including bombings in the 1980s of the U.S. Embassy and a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died.

After his arrest, Arbabsiar confessed that a cousin in Iran, whom U.S. officials identified as Abdul Reza Shahlai, was a senior Quds Force official, the indictment against him said. Federal authorities say that under their supervision after his arrest, Arbabsiar discussed the alleged assassination plot on the phone with Gholam Shakuri, whom one U.S. official identified as a Quds Force “case officer,” or agent handler.

A U.S. official said Shahlai in the past had come to the attention of U.S. security officials responsible for monitoring Quds Force activities. Another official said that after his arrest, Arbabsiar identified photographs of two Quds Force operatives that had been provided by U.S. intelligence.

U.S. officials said apart from their historical knowledge about how the Iranian leadership and Quds Force interact, they believed high-level Iranian government support for the plot was corroborated by the fact that Arbabsiar allegedly managed to arrange a $100,000 wire transfer to fund the plot.

The money passed through at least one Asian financial haven, one official said, adding the Iranians were relatively sloppy in concealing the funds’ origin.

Posted in IranComments Off on Officials concede gaps in U.S. knowledge of Iran plot

Watch our newest film series Home Front online.

Dear Friends,

I am just emerging from the editing room where we’ve wrapped up production on Just Vision’s latest short film series, Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah, directed by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi.

Watch Home Front on Just Vision’s website now.

These 8-minute portraits tell the stories of two Palestinians and two Israelis who are part of a powerful nonviolent campaign in East Jerusalem.

In 2008, Israeli settlers began evicting Palestinian residents in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes. In response, a growing number of Israeli supporters have joined residents in their ongoing struggle to return to their homes and prevent further evictions.

Home Front follows a Palestinian teenager whose family was forced to share their home with settlers, an American-born Israeli mother who gets drawn into the protests when her children are arrested, a Palestinian community organizer who spearheads the involvement of local women in the movement, and a former Israeli soldier who becomes one of the leading figures in the demonstrations.

Like Budrus, Home Front is about individuals who, when faced with injustice, decide to respond by organizing nonviolently. Click here to watch them in action.

The situation in East Jerusalem is heating up, with more Palestinian families facing evictions and tensions mounting between residents and settlers. Before Jerusalem reaches the point of no return, you can help by channeling attention to these peaceful efforts to keep people in their homes and to build a shared future in this contested city.

Join us in sharing Home Front widely with bloggers, journalists, clergy and of course with family, friends and colleagues.

Warm regards,


PS – We have a few weeks to go in our effort to raise $50,000. If you are a new contributor or willing to increase your annual gift, a generous donor has agreed to match your contribution. Will you help us get there?

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Watch our newest film series Home Front online.

Closure of Gaza Must Be Lifted as Shalit’s Pretext Diminished

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release

Ref: 104/2011

Date: 13 October 2011

Time: 09:30 GMT

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) welcomes the prisoner swap deal between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), under which over a thousand Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by the Palestinian resistance for more than five year.  PCHR appreciates the role of mediation played by Egypt and related efforts exerted to achieve the deal.  PCHR wishes that the coming period will also witness further Egyptian contribution to the implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement that was signed last May between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo .


According to Israeli and Palestinian statements on the deal made in the media, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be released from Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was captured by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza .  Under this deal, all of the 27 female prisoners as well as 300 children will be released from Israeli prisons.  The deal includes two phases; the first one will be completed within a week, during which Shalit will be released in exchange for the release of 450 Palestinian prisoners, including 279 prisoners serving life sentences and 27 female prisoners.  The second phase will be completed within two months, during which 550 Palestinian prisoners will be released, but the IOF determines the conditions under which they will be released.  Under the deal, 203 Palestinian prisoners will be deported; 40 of whom will be exiled overseas and 163 expelled to the Gaza Strip. PCHR expresses reservations on deporting the Palestinian prisoners and is concerned over this decision, as it is considered forced migration in violation of international law.


With the completion of this swap deal, over 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, including approximately 400 people from the Gaza Strip, will remain detained under cruel and degrading conditions.  In the past five years, their detention conditions have deteriorated in an unprecedented manner following the capture of Shalit by the Palestinian resistance in June 2006.  Such cruel conditions include denial of family visits for Gazan prisoners; prevention of hundreds of families from visiting their imprisoned sons in the West Bank; naked body searches; night raids; solitary confinement; and medical negligence.  Two weeks ago, hundreds of prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike protesting against additional punitive measures that had been taken against them by the Israeli prisons administration.  The prisons administration responded to the hunger strike by imposing even more punitive measures, including the transfer of a large number of them to other prisons; confiscating salt which maintains the salt balance in the prisoners’ bodies, due to which these prisoners’ health conditions have seriously deteriorated; confiscating electrical appliances; and attacks on the prisoners’ rooms and firing tear gas inside them.


PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued deterioration of prisoners’ conditions inside the Israeli prisons.  PCHR calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the IOF to release more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, who have been detained in the Israeli prisons so far, to treat them humanely in conformity with the international law, particularly article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners 1955, and to refrain from the punitive measures they have imposed on prisoners for more than five years now.


On the other hand, PCHR reminds that the Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip in June 2006 was a direct result of the attack carried out by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza on 25 June 2006, in which Shalit was captured.  Later, IOF tightened the closure in an unprecedented manner, including closing all border crossings designated for the movement of persons and commercial purposes.  Those collective punitive measures have a destructive impact on all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip.


Thus, with the ending of Shalit’s case and the end of the pretext used by the IOF to maintain the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls for immediately lifting of the closure and an end to all collective punitive measures imposed on the civilian population.  Additionally, PCHR calls upon the international community to intervene in order to end the suffering of the Palestinian civilians and lift the closure of the Gaza Strip.


Posted in GazaComments Off on Closure of Gaza Must Be Lifted as Shalit’s Pretext Diminished

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


‘There’s a huge amount of anger’

Oct 12, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Foreign Policy magazine interviews Nouriel Roubini and Ian Bremmer:

Foreign Policy: What do you think of the Occupy Wall Street protests? Have you been down to see them?

Nouriel Roubini: I stopped by. My view of it is that it is a symptom of the economic malaise that we’re facing not just in the United States, but all over the world. It started with the Arab Spring, and of course, poverty, unemployment, corruption, inequality eventually leads to people becoming restless. But now, you have middle-class people in Israel saying we cannot afford homes; you have middle-class students in Chile saying we don’t have education; you have riots in London; people smashing Mercedes and BMWs of fat cats in Berlin and Frankfurt; you have an anti-corruption movement in India. It takes a lot of different manifestations, but we live in a world with a lot of economic insecurity, of worries about the future, of inequality, poverty, of concerns about jobs. And [Occupy Wall Street] is the manifestation in the U.S.

In 2009, [President Barack] Obama told the bankers, “I’m the only one who’s standing between you and the pitchforks.” The bankers got the bailouts; they were supposed to extend credit, extend mortgages. They did pretty much nothing, and they went back to the same actions as before: making money through trading. At this point, I think people are fed up with it. Rightly or wrongly, there’s a huge amount of anger.

FP: Ian, do you think the so-called 1 percent feels any pressure to change its practices?

Ian Bremmer: Less than you think. It’s very clear that there is rising animosity toward the financial sector. It’s true in the United States and in Europe, as well. And I do think these economic protests have legs, even though they’re very poorly organized and it’s not entirely clear what they are or what the agenda is. And I say that because we’re in an election year and there are a lot of wealthy, vested interests that are both on the Democratic and the Republican side that will try to throw money at these guys and tap into some of that anger. We’ll see where it goes.

Having said that, the United States is not Egypt. It’s not as if you have unemployment in the U.S. and as a consequence people starve. You still have a lot of political apathy in the United States. You also have a country — frankly, much like Saudi Arabia — where a lot of immigrants come in and take jobs that the average American, even an unemployed American, wouldn’t necessarily want. 9.1 percent unemployment is very, very high, and it’s an outrage in this country to have that level of sustained unemployment. Yet it appears to be something that Washington is prepared to tolerate. We don’t see an urgency in Washington to truly address the issue, certainly nothing like the urgency you see in Europe today.

So I don’t think the 1 percent is coming under the kind of pressure that would force them to take a different position.

NR: I would make the point that, however, while I agree with what Ian says, that the “official” unemployment rate is 9.1 percent — but the one that includes discouraged workers who have left the labor force or partially unemployment has gone from 16.2 percent to 16.5 percent. And if you add to it the millions of people that you have in jail in the U.S. — which is four times the amount of any civilized country as a share of population — than unemployment is probably closer to 20 percent. And that’s just among the average population. For minorities, the youth, or unskilled people that don’t have a high school degree, the number is closer to 30 percent. It’s a stressful situation.

The U.S. might not be Europe, but the U.S. is not used to having an unemployment rate so high — and staying so high. Usually, when you get a recession the monetary and fiscal stimulus leads to a recovery of jobs in short order. But this is becoming chronic and longer term. Either the United States becomes like Europe — and we’ve already extended unemployment benefits three or four times over — or otherwise you have a much bigger social welfare state and safety net. Or you’ll have people rioting in the streets. We have to do something either way. Either we’ll have a fiscal problem or a social problem.

You can read the entire interview here.

UN: Israel ‘becoming more efficient in their demolitions, displacing ever growing numbers of Palestinians’

Oct 12, 2011


Video: House demolished in Al-Jab‘a
Interview (in English) with the owner of the house —  PSP 12 Oct — In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Israeli army bulldozers demolished a house in Al-Jab‘a, not far from the illegal settlement of Bet Ayin. The owner Naser Hassan Salim Alin Athous witnessed the demolition from his fields. His family have lived in the area for many generations. The demolished home was planned to house 14 persons. No reason was given for the demolition (report here).

UNRWA: Israel becoming ‘more efficient’ at displacing Palestinians
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — Israeli demolitions affected 990 Palestinians in the West Bank in September, showing that Israeli authorities “are becoming more efficient,” UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said. The latest report from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees shows a dramatic rise in the number of people displaced or affected by Israeli demolitions. In July, the figure stood at 247.

Netanyahu launches effort to legalize outposts built on private Palestinian land
Haaretz 11 Oct — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday the launch of a task force geared at legalizing West Bank outposts built on private Palestinian land. The premier’s announcement came after, earlier Tuesday, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to set up a task force to explore ways to legalize houses in the settlements that were built on private Palestinian land.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers storm al-Aqsa, IOF closes Silwan for Jewish festivities
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 11 Oct — A large group of settlers, under the heavy protection of IOF troops,  stormed the Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning and provocatively toured the plazas of the Mosque. The Aqsa Mosque guards said that the storming started about 7:00 am when settlers started entering the Aqsa Mosque compound in small groups and touring the holy site, in response to calls made by settlers leaders and extremist Jewish groups which stressed the importance of participating in what it called “raids to salvage the temple mount from the hands of the Muslims.”
At the same time, the IOF started closing the main entrances to the Silwan Jerusalem suburb, to the south of the Aqsa Mosque and deployed large numbers of troops in preparation for the Jewish Sukkot festival which lasts for seven days.
Link to Palestinian Information Center

Israel closes Gaza border crossing for Jewish holiday
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — Israeli authorities on Wednesday announced that the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Gaza border would close until Sunday because of a Jewish holiday. The southern crossing is the sole entry point for goods into the Gaza Strip since Israel closed all other terminals. The Rafah crossing on Gaza’s border with Egypt is not equipped for the transfer of goods.
link to


Settlers ‘attack Palestinian near Nablus’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — A Palestinian man was moderately injured on Wednesday as a group of Israeli settlers attacked farmers in the Jit village near Nablus, witnesses said. The settlers were armed and they damaged farmland in the village, residents said. They also attacked a Palestinian resident while he was picking olives, they said. The unidentified man was taken to hospital for treatment of moderate injuries.
link to

Settlers grab more land in Salfit and install mobile homes
SALFIT (PIC) 12 Oct — Jewish settlers continue to grab Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. Israeli occupation bulldozers leveled agricultural fields in between the villages of Eskaka and Yasuf to east of Salfit in the northern West Bank to expand a settlement outpost there. Nabil Haris, the head of Eskaka village council, said the bulldozers prepared the land between the villages of Eskaka and Yasuf, then large caravans carried on lories were brought to the area to set them up for settlers.
Link to Palestinian Information Center

Settlers set fire to olive trees west of Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Oct — Jewish settlers set fire on Tuesday to olive trees in Palestinian land in Ras Karkar, Beitillu and Deir Ammar, villages west of Ramallah, according to local sources. The Department of humanitarian and public relations in the civil defense said that their crews hurried from Ramallah, Ni‘lin and Birzeit to the locations to put out the fires burning the olive trees.
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Settlers stop Palestinian families from visiting captive in Shatta jail
NAZARETH (PIC) 11 Oct — A group of Jewish settlers calling themselves organise under “the struggle to free Gilad Shalit” stopped on Tuesday morning a coach transporting Palestinian families from the West Bank to visit their loved in Shatta jail, near the city of Bisan in north Palestine. Israeli radio said that more than thirty settlers stopped the coach and handed leaflets to those families saying that if they should be allowed to visit their imprisoned relatives then Gilad Shalit should be allowed visits too. The coach was then was forced to turn back to the West Bank. On previous occasions, settlers attacked coaches carrying Palestinians on their way to visit relatives in Israeli occupation jails.
Link to Palestinian Information Center

Israeli forces

One arrested in Beit Ommar
Beit Ommar 11 October — Yousef Ahmad Halil Abu Hashem was arrested along with his father, Ahmad Abu Hashem, at 02:30 Tuesday morning in the old city of Beit Ommar. Ahamd Abu Hashem is an active member of the popular committee in Beit Ommar. The Israeli army came to Ahmad Abu Hashem house in the middle of the night with more than a hundred soldiers, seven jeeps and two buses, including three dogs. The soldiers used a ladder to climb the wall, and established a commando point on the roof, after having broken open the front door of the house on the ground floor. All family members had to lie on the floor, while the soldiers brought in the three dogs which were sneaking around the family and their belongings. Many members of the family were beaten. Ahmad Abu Hashem had bruises on his hands and Yousef was beaten outside the house. The soldiers also threatened to take with them the nine year old son! The soldiers took Ahmad and Yousef with them. Ahmad was released after some hours, while his son was sent off to a prison near Ashkelon. There was given no reason for arresting Yousef. The young man is 18 years old and would like to be in school. The father was told to pay 800 NIS to bail out his son.
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Israeli soldiers shoot, arrest Palestinian during confrontations in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Oct – A Palestinian, Ameer Sabarneh, 20, Wednesday was shot and arrested during confrontations that erupted between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians at the entrance of the town of Beit Ummar, south of Hebron, according to local activists. Spokesman of the National Committee against the Wall and settlement, Mohammed Awad said that the Israeli soldiers fired at Sabarneh from a distance of few meters after already arresting him, injuring him in the back. He added that soldiers fired rubber bullets, tear gas and acoustic bombs toward Palestinians, causing suffocation cases among several Palestinians. They were all treated on the spot. Short video here
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Confrontations erupt south of Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Oct — Confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians Wednesday erupted at a road junction near the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, according to Ratib al-Jabour, coordinator of the popular committee against the Wall and settlements in the east of Hebron. He said that the Israeli soldiers, who were there to protect Jewish settlers from several settlements, built illegally on Palestinian land, fired rubber bullets, tear gas and acoustic bombs at Palestinians, causing suffocation cases among several Palestinians and arresting two Palestinian youths. The injured were treated on the spot.
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UN: Israel used ‘excessive force’ in West Bank
GENEVA (Reuters) 11 Oct — Israeli security forces escorting settlers into West Bank villages appear to have used excessive force against Palestinians, the UN human rights office said Tuesday. The global body called on Israel to protect Palestinians and investigate a surge of attacks by Israeli settlers against civilians in the West Bank, particularly in the village of Qusra, near Nablus.
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Detention / Court actions

Israel court orders release of suspect in ‘price tag’ mosque attack
Haaretz 11 Oct — Petah Tikva judge orders police to release suspect accused of setting fire to Galilee mosque due to lack of new evidence; West Bank resident accused of abetting attack also set to be released later this week.

Police baffled by mosque arson case
Ynet 11 Oct — …Judge Maimon noted that “the investigation is complex and there are deliberate attempts to obstruct it. Releasing the suspect at this time could contribute to that. I believe that should there be no significant development in the investigation, the suspect should be released while the investigation continues.”
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Apparently Palestinians are a lot easier to catch and hold onto:
2 teens arrested on suspicion of spraying hate slogans on synagogues
Ynet 12 Oct — Two 16-year-old teens were arrested in suspicion of spraying slogans reading “death to Jews” on four synagogues and vehicles in Safed. During their investigation, the two admitted committing the acts and claimed they did it to protest the mosque arson in Tuba Zangaria. The two will be brought in front of a judge on Thursday for a remand hearing.
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Israeli army arrests youth at container checkpoint
PNN 12 Oct — On Wednesday, Israeli forces arrested one Palestinian youth at the container checkpoint to the southeast of Jerusalem. According to a secure local source reporting to Palestinian state-run news wire Wafa, the arrested man was 22-year-old Basel Yousef al-Fakeh of the village of Dura, near Hebron.
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Israeli forces detain child in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — Confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian children erupted Wednesday at a junction south of Hebron, local activist Ratib Al-Jabour said. Al-Jabour said soldiers fired rubber bullets, tear-gas and stun grenades at the Palestinians. One Palestinian child was arrested at the event but was not immediately identified.
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East Jerusalem woman charged with incitement
Ynet 10 Oct — Indictment suggests Abir Abu Radir encouraged crowds to cry out anti-Israel slogans such as ‘Beloved Nasrallah will bomb Tel Aviv’ during protests
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4 indicted for bomb attack near Jerusalem bus station
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — Four members of Hamas have been indicted for an attack in Jerusalem in March which killed a British citizen, the Israeli army said Tuesday. The incident took place on March 23, 2011 near the central bus station in West Jerusalem, killing Mary-Jane Gardner and injuring 67. The army said it was executed by a Hamas cell working in the West Bank city of Hebron.
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6 years for E. J’lem man who threw Molotov cocktails at cops
JPost 11 Oct — A resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday after manufacturing gasoline bombs and throwing them at police. Louis Maswadeh, 20, confessed and was convicted in a plea bargain of manufacturing weapons and explosives, and attempting to attack a police officer in aggravating circumstances. The incidents took place as Arabs rioted outside Jewish homes in Silwan in 2010 … [A probation service] report also noted that Maswadeh had committed the acts for which he is charged in the context of a complex and tense situation between police and the Arabs in Silwan … he prosecution asked that the court imposed a sentence that would send a message of deterrence … Cohen said that though Maswadeh and his codefendants, who are being tried separately, had not injured anyone, they had nonetheless created a “real risk to human life.”
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Abu Zunt laid to rest after 36 years of his body being detained by occupation
NABLUS, (PIC) 10 Oct — Hundreds of people participated in the funeral of Hafez Abu Zunt [or Zant] who was killed in a resistance attack against occupation in 1976 and whose body was detained by the occupation since then in an unmarked grave in what is known as the numbers cemeteries … Abu Zunt along with Mashoor Arouri and Khaled Abu Zeyad carried out an attack against occupation forces in the Jordan valley on 18 May 1976 in retaliation for the killing of schoolgirl Lina al-Nabulsi by IOF troops earlier that year. The three were killed and their corpses detained. Arouri’s corpse was released last year. [Listen to song “Fi al Dafa” (‘In the West Bank’, written by Hasan Daher) about Lina, killed at 15, and see famous painting of her called ‘Bride of the Homeland’]
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Prisoner exchange

Shin Bet chief: Israel got best security terms possible in Shalit swap deal
Shin Bet security service director Yoram Cohen said Wednesday that the prisoner swap agreement reached between Israel and Hamas, with Egyptian mediation, to free Gilad Shalit included the best terms possible for Israel with regards to security…
Under the agreement, the release of Gilad Shalit is expected to take place in about a week, along with the release of 479 Palestinian security prisoners. Of the released prisoners, 96 are West Bank residents who will be allowed to return to their homes. Fourteen East Jerusalem residents and six Israeli Arabs will also be allowed to return to their homes. The released prisoners also include 131 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.
Twenty-seven women, all the women imprisoned in Israel for security offenses, will be released. Two will be deported, one to Gaza and one to Jordan. About half of the released prisoners, 203, will not be allowed to return to their homes. 40 will be deported abroad and the rest transferred to the Gaza Strip. Of the deportees, 165 will be allowed to return to the West Bank in 10-25 years. The other deportees will never be allowed to return to the West Bank. In two months, Israel will release another 550 prisoners that it chooses.
Egyptian intelligence services managed the process. In exchange for Hamas’ willingness to agree to a large number of deportees, as well as the fact that symbolic Hamas figures would not return to the West Bank, Israel agreed to release more East Jerusalem residents and Israeli Arabs, as well as 25 terrorists from a list that Israel had previously refused to release.
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Right-wing minister Uzi Landau: Shalit swap deal is a great victory for terrorism
Haaretz 12 Oct — National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau – one of three ministers who voted against the Gilad Shalit deal – says prisoner swap will encourage additional murders, abductions — Landau was one of three ministers who voted against the proposal early Wednesday morning. Joining Landau were Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon of Likud. Twenty-six ministers voted in favor of the deal, which would see Shalit, the IDF soldier who has been in Hamas captivity for the last five years, return to Israel.

Israeli intelligence: Prisoner swap deal doesn’t include Al-Barghouti, Saadat, nor As-Sayed
IMEMC 12 Oct — The prisoner swap deal, reached by the Hamas movement and Israel, does not include several senior political leaders of the major Palestinian factions, senior sources told the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency early on Wednesday. The exchange does not include; Fatah senior leader, Marwan Al-Barghouti; the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmed Saadat; several top Hamas leaders, including: Ibrahim Hamed, Hasan Salameh, Abdullah Al-Barghouthi, Jamal Abu El-Heija, Abbas As-Sayed. As well as several other senior Hamas officials, whose names are still anonymous, the Israeli Channel Two reported the Israeli Intelligence Chief saying.
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Al Jazeera video: Preparing for Palestinian prisoners’ homecoming
Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston visits a Gazan family preparing the return of their daughter Wafa el-Bes, a Palestinian woman who has been in jail for the past 6 years.
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Israel-OPT: Families relieved by prisoner swap
GAZA CITY (IRIN) 12 Oct — Palestinian families are eagerly awaiting the publication of the names of the more than 1,000 detainees that are to be released in a ground-breaking prisoner swap deal with Israel … Outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Gaza City, Um Mahmoud holds a large photograph of her son Mahmoud Rais, now aged 30. He was arrested in 2003. “He was detained at an Israeli checkpoint inside Gaza and we never learned why he was sentenced,” she says. “This release is a victory for Palestinians and for the government.” …  It is not yet clear whether any children will be included in the release. At the end of June 2011, 209 Palestinian boys aged 12-17 were in Israeli detention, according to UNICEF.
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Sources: First state will see release of all female captives
GAZA (PIC) 12 Oct — Well-informed sources said that the first stage of the prisoner-exchange deal which will be implemented in a few days will see the release of 450 male captives and all 27 female captives. The sources informed PIC correspondent that the amongst the 450 captives to be released in the first stage there are 315 who were serving life sentences and 135 serving long sentences.
The sources also said that five of the female captives are serving life sentences, including Ahlam al-Tamimi and Qahera al-Sa’di.
The first group to be released will also include 45 captives from Jerusalem, 5 captives from 1948-occupied Palestine, 1 captive from the Golan, 131 from the Gaza Strip and 268 from the West Bank, according to the sources.
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Report: Prisoner list to be released Sunday
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — A list of prisoners to be released in the first phase of the prisoner exchange deal will be published by Sunday morning, Israel’s Justice Ministry said Wednesday. Israel’s Ynet news agency said the ministry indicated that the list would appear on the Israel Prisoner Service’s website, and the public will have 48 hours “to submit reservations and objections.”
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In Gaza, Palestinians celebrate Shalit prisoner exchange deal
Haaretz 11 Oct — Tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the northern Gaza Strip late Tuesday, celebrating the news that after years of on-and-off German and Egyptian-mediated negotiations, Israel and Hamas had reached a prisoners’ exchange deal. They handed out sweets, waved the green flags of the radical Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza, and chanted slogans in support of the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing.
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Questions remain over fate of imprisoned Palestinian leader
Reuters 12 Oct — Left out of a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, the Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti must now wait for a different type of deal to get him out of the Israeli jail where he is serving multiple life sentences. It may never happen. Hamas’s indirect negotiations with Israel to exchange the soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails were seen over the last few years as Barghouti’s best hope of release … Barghouti is a popular figure among Palestinians. His supporters have portrayed him as a Nelson Mandela-like figure who could galvanize and reunite a divided national movement.
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Gilad Shalit to be returned to Israel within a week
Haaretz 12 Oct — Kidnapped IDF soldier to be transferred to Egypt through Rafah crossing, then to Israel, on Tuesday or Wednesday; Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo to finalize deal.
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White House: Gilad Shalit release long overdue
Haaretz 12 Oct — White House officials say they are pleased by the report that Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held for five years by Hamas, is to be freed. Press secretary Jay Carney called the release “long overdue.” He said President Barack Obama has called many times for Shalit’s release.
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Resistance / Solidarity

In Photos: Ad-Dhahariya and Shuwika plant resistance
ISM 11 Oct — At 1 PM a demonstration went from the solidarity tent assembled for the prisoners’ strike in Al-Dhahiriya to the nearby village of Shuwika to plant trees. The demonstration was a solidarity action with the prisoners and also a protest against recent settler assaults in Shuweika where 120 olive trees were cut down. While the demonstrators were planting olive and eucalyptus trees, soldiers and settlers came down from the nearby outpost of Shima’a and threw sound bombs, firing tear gas at the demonstrators. A few demonstrators went to the valley dividing Shuwika from the outpost to try to remove stones placed by settlers which formed a star of David as a symbol of conquering Palestinian land. They were shot at directly with tear gas from the Israeli Occupation Forces.
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Gaza: Planting the symbol of Palestinian livelihood
[photos] ISM Gaza 12 Oct — The zone of death, what Israel calls the buffer zone, to the north of Beit Hanoun isn’t shrinking but is a little less dead.  For the last three years, the only life that has managed to survive here was a few scraggly plants that somehow manage to survive the IOF’s regular bulldozing of the land.  These plants have been joined every Tuesday by a devoted group of activists from the Local Initiative of Beit Hanoun and the International Solidarity Movement.  Israel had managed to wipe out all traces of what used to be here, houses, sprawling orchards, fields of vegetables, and grazing sheep. For two weeks the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative decided to leave behind something more than Palestinian flags when they went into the buffer zone.  They left behind a grove of olive trees.
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Urgent message – Anatot demo postponed
SJS 12 Oct — The Israeli police is giving in once more to settler terror. This afternoon (12.10.2011) we were informed by the police that they will not allow us to fulfill our right to demonstrate near the place where we were attacked, under the pretext of granting Anatot a two kilometer ‘security perimeter’. The commanding officer of Judiah and Samaria District police decided to issue a selective ‘closed military zone’ order in advance  — in order to prevent the passage of ‘leftists’ to the area. We will fight this anti-democratic decision! It is becoming ever more urgent to reveal the close cooperation between ‘legal authorities’ and wanton criminals.

Prisoners’ hunger strike

In Photos: Palestinians unite to support hunger strike
ISM 12 Oct — On Tuesday the 27th of September, an open-ended hunger strike was initiated until the fulfillment of 9 demands by Palestinian prisoners, which include the right to family visits, end to the use of isolation as a punishment against detainees, and profiteering of Israeli prisons from financial penalties charged against prisoners. Approximately 3000 prisoners are taking part in the strike including all the different political fractions from eight different prisons.
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Prisoners in Negev join on 16th day of hunger strike; Bethlehem holds solidarity march
PNN 12 Oct — Palestinian prisoners in the southern Negev desert joined a general hunger strike of more than 250 people on Wednesday as the strike entered its sixteenth day … In the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, hundreds of Palestinians marched in solidarity with the hunger-striking prisoners. The march began in the refugee camp of Dheisheh and moved toward the Red Cross office, where demonstrators flew Palestinian flags and held banners.Among the demonstrators were some Palestinians who had voluntarily begun their own hunger strikes.
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Palestinian singer joins hunger strike
Sabr 12 Oct — BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian singer and activist Rim Banna is on hunger strike for third consecutive day in solidarity with the Palestinian detainees who have been on hunger strike for the past two weeks. “I am the Palestinian singer Rim Banna,” the famous singer wrote on her Facebook page. Monday in Nazareth, Banna said she began “a hunger strike in a solidarity with the 6000 Palestinian and Arab political detainees in their struggle ‘of the empty stomachs battle’ in Israeli prisons.”
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Foreign nationals join hunger strike in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Oct — Three foreign nationals living in the Gaza Strip entered their fifth day on hunger strike on Tuesday, a statement from the International Solidarity Movement said. Vera Macht from Germany, Silvia Todeschini from Italy, and US citizen Joe Catron have been stationed in front of the Gaza offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross while undertaking their hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.
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Prisoners on hunger strike find new support / Jillian Kestler-D’Amours
HAIFA, Northern Israel (IPS) 10 Oct — Sitting in the shade of a small lemon tree in the German Colony area of Haifa, eight Palestinian activists are on hunger strike since Saturday in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners who have been striking for nearly two weeks in protest against poor prison conditions and a lack of basic rights … “I think that one of the main goals of our strike is to encourage the political prisoners, the political heroes, in continuing with their strike, (and) to fight for their basic and essential right to live peacefully,” Nizar Jubran, a 22-year-old student and another hunger striker in Haifa tells IPS.
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Hamas prisoners slammed for ‘stalling’ over hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — The head of the Palestinian Detainees Center has criticized prisoners affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad for stalling on joining a hunger strike to protest Israel’s prison conditions. Qadura Fares said the attitude of detainees affiliated with the Islamist groups was “astonishing” considering that the key demand of strikers was an end to solitary confinement, which is mostly imposed on senior Hamas cadres.
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Red Cross makes regular checks on striking prisoners: official
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Oct — Members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Palestinian Territory make regular checks on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who are on hunger strike, Tuesday said an ICRC official. Speaking on Voice of Palestine radio, ICRC spokeswoman Nadia Dibsy said her organization is continuously in contact with the Israeli prison administration to remind them of the importance to provide necessary health care to the prisoners during their strike … Dibsy said the ICRC understands the worry and concern of the prisoners’ families and that ICRC officials are in contact with every family to inform them of the situation of their family members in Israeli jails.
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OPT: Tunnels boost Gaza mosque reconstruction
GAZA CITY (IRIN) 12 Oct — An increased flow of building materials entering the Gaza Strip via underground tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border has allowed reconstruction work to begin on hundreds of religious sites damaged or destroyed during the 23-day Israeli offensive which ended in January 2009. Nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 850 mosques were affected; 45 mosques were totally destroyed, 107 sustained major damage, and about another 50 had minor damage such as smashed windows and doors, according to the Gaza public works and housing ministry, the religious affairs ministry, and private mosque owners … Amnesty International reported the rampant destruction of Gaza mosques in its post-war assessment.
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Egyptian security detain 5 Palestinians
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) 12 Oct — Egyptian security forces detained five Palestinians who entered the country through Gaza tunnels to film a documentary, officials said Wednesday. Egyptian authorities said five Palestinians, including a journalist, entered via tunnel in the Salad-Ad-Din area of Rafah in order to film a documentary about the border area. They are being held for investigation, Egyptian security said. The Palestinians were not immediately identified.
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Hamas raids journalists syndicate office in Gaza
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Oct — Hamas forces Tuesday raided the main office of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) in Gaza City seizing computers and cell phones of staff working there after ordering them to leave the premises, according to a PJS statement. The PJS, based in Ramallah, denounced the Hamas act describing it as a “blatant act of aggression by Hamas.”
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Political / Diplomatic / International

US: Mideast Quartet seeks October 23 talks
WASHINGTON (AFP) 12 Oct  — The Mideast Quartet seeking a peace settlement in the Middle East has called for Israel and the PLO to resume their talks on October 23 in Jordan, a US official said Tuesday.
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Abbas: Palestinians will resume Mideast peace talks if Israel accepts Quartet statement
Haaretz 11 Oct — Speaking with TIME magazine, PA President says Israel’s acceptance of negotiations blueprint ‘with reservations’ was an attempt to end a Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.
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Abbas falls short of Colombian support for UN bid
CARACAS (AFP) 12 Oct  — President Mahmoud Abbas left Colombia empty-handed Tuesday after failing to secure support from President Juan Manuel Santos for his bid to gain state recognition at the United Nations.
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Fayyad: PA won’t collapse without donor aid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Oct — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday downplayed fears his government would collapse without donor aid. The Ramallah premier said the PA’s efforts to build state institutions over the last three years had contributed to significantly reducing the government’s dependence on foreign aid.
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Hamas, Fatah to meet in Cairo today
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 Oct — Delegations from Hamas and Fatah will meet Wednesday in Cairo, said PLO Central Committee Member, Azzam al-Ahmad. Al-Ahmad, speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, said he will meet Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and his deputy Musa Abu Marzouk … He added that the meeting will discuss the details of the prisoners exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, which will release Shalit in exchange for the release of more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. The meeting will also discuss the implementation of the reconciliation agreement. Al-Ahmad noted that any obstacle against proceeding with the political process is gone, following the swap deal, since most Western countries had so far pressured the Palestinian leadership against the reconciliation because of the issue of the Israeli soldier, Shalit, held by Hamas.
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Egypt – Israel

Barak apologizes for deaths of Egyptian officers
Ynet 11 Oct — Following conclusion of joint inquiry into terror attack at Israel-Egypt border, defense minister issues official apology for deaths of border guard officers from IDF fire
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Report: Egypt slaps Grapel with new charges
Ynet 11 Oct — American-Israeli held on espionage charges now accused of incitement, setting fire to Egyptian government buildings during January’s riots
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Other news

Tunisian athlete refuses to play against Israel
ROME (WAFA) 11 Oct — Sara Besbes, Tunis and Africa’s fencing champion, Tuesday refused to play against an Israeli player during the 2011 World Fencing Championship in Catania, southern Italy, according to Panorama.It website. It said Besbes, who comes from a family of great fame in fencing, reached the final round where she had to play against an Israeli player. However, she stood still on the platform, pointing her sword toward the ground and refusing to move as a sign she was boycotting the Israeli athlete but without officially announcing it to avoid punitive measures by the judges.
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Photo gallery: Samaritans celebrate Succot atop Mount Gerizim
JPost 11 Oct — Members of the Samaritan community took part on Tuesday in a traditional pilgrimage marking the holiday of Succot atop Mount Gerizim near the West Bank city of Nablus. The Samaritan religion closely resembles Judaism, though it has several marked differences, including its own Samaritan Torah, written in the ancient Hebrew that is their language of liturgy. In addition, they believe that Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem, is the holiest place on earth and the site of the temple, as well as where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
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Analysis / Opinion

Yediot: Bibi did Shalit deal because he has something bigger prepared for Iran / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 11 Oct — A number of very peculiar things have happened or been published today that relate directly or indirectly to the Shalit deal … Perhaps the most ominous story coming out of today’s news, is this report by a well-placed, well-regarded Israeli journalist, Alex Fishman, who says the reason that Bibi did the Shalit deal now is that he has something really big up his sleeve.  Read on: All Because of Iran –Bibi Netanyahu is dying to clear the table [“clean house”] and redecorate in preparation for something different, something bigger, something more important.
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Burn, baby, burn / Yitzhak Laor
Haaretz 12 Oct –…It’s easy to describe Israel’s racism via its soccer stadiums. It’s simple to demonstrate it with the help of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inability to wholeheartedly denounce those who perpetrate mini-pogroms both in the territories and in Israel. After all, he is their idolized leader. Even criticizing the constitutional status of Arabs in Israel has become easier than in the past: It’s clear that racism is the state’s unwritten constitutional foundation. Israeli racism would not have become a real problem were Arabs equal citizens with somewhere to register complaints whenever their civil rights were violated. No description of the racism of the state would be complete, however, without characterizing the system behind it
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Funding the messiah / Sefi Rachlevsky
Haaretz 12 Oct — Netanyahu, in praising the messiah from Lubavich, rabbis Dov Lior, Ovadia Yosef and Yitzhak Kaduri, knows exactly what kind of racist incitement he is supporting — …When school vacation is over, the children go back to what is known as the education system. Yoram Kaniuk’s grandson is not registered as a Jew, but most children are. Among the first-graders, 52.5 percent who are registered as Jews will be going to ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox schools. In most of them they will hear as obvious teachings close to those of Ben-Artzi. Extreme opinions about non-Jews are routine. Many of them will hear that the goyim have no souls, that they are not to be believed or given in to, as if it were fact, like a chair is a chair.

A burning house of God / David Rosen, Edward Rettig
Ynet 10 Oct –Op-ed: Israel’s leadership must unite to confront menace threatening very fabric of society … Let us make no mistake. The burning of a mosque will be a turning point. Either those responsible for the public safety will awaken to fully meet the challenge, or it will mark, God forbid, the opening round in internal civil strife whose catastrophic results none can foresee.
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Lupe Fiasco performs with a Palestinian flag and Occupy Wall Street shirt at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards
Oct 12, 2011


Bet Hip Hop Awards 2011

Lupe Fiasco holding a Palestinian flag throughout his powerful performance of Words I Never Said in front of millions in the 6th Annual BET Hip Hop Awards warms my heart. Sami Kishawi @ Sixteen Minutes to Palestine says of Lupe’s nationally televised performance :

Watch this stunning performance and smile. The Palestinian cause is a people’s movement that will continue to grow in popularity. We are mainstream and we will stay that way.

I’m smiling and Sami’s right.

Supporters around the world are fasting today in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike

Oct 12, 2011


I’ve been fasting since yesterday. The following text from the BDS National Committee explains why. I’m hungry for justice in Palestine.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) supports the legitimate demands of Palestinian political prisoners in their open-ended hunger strike, and calls for stepping up the global BDS campaign to end Israeli impunity.

Occupied Palestine 11-10-2011

For the fifteenth day in a row, our brave political prisoners continue their open-ended hunger strike in Israeli prisons, challenging the walls of silence and international complicity, and refusing indignation and the persistent violations of their rights.

While today marks the historic UN day of solidarity with South African political prisoners, the UN, under US hegemony, has turned its back on the plight of Palestinian political prisoners, including hundreds of child prisoners, languishing under severe hardships in Israel’s notoriously inhumane prisons. This put the moral burden on international civil society to act, by applying effective pressure on Israel to release all Palestinian and Arab political prisoners and to respect their internationally recognized rights in the meanwhile.

The BNC, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition representing the overwhelming majority of unions, coalitions and political forces, fully supports the hunger strike called for by Palestinian prisoners and endorses their legitimate demands for:

1. Ending the policy of solitary confinement

2. Ending the ban on college education for prisoners

3. Ending the policy of collective punishment, including the denial of visits, and imposing financial penalties on prisoners

4. Ending the policy of provocative incursions and invasions of prisoners’ cells

5. Stopping the policy of shackling the hands and legs of prisoners during visits by family members and lawyers

6. Improving the health conditions of hundreds of sick and injured prisoners and providing them with the needed treatments

7. Allowing books, newspapers and clothes to enter prisons

8. Allowing the broadcast of satellite TV channels that have been banned by Israeli Prison Service (IPS)

9. Ending the policy of restricting visits to 30 minutes every month, and the arbitrary denial of visits

In support of Palestinian political prisoners’ hunger strike, the BNC calls for intensifying the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as the most effective way to pressure Israel until it abides by the Palestinian people’s rights in full by:

1. Intensifying the boycott of Israeli academic institutions—all complicit in Israel’s occupation and apartheid–in response to the denial of Palestinian prisoners’ basic right to education

2. Organizing broad boycott and divestment campaigns around the world targeting Israeli and international companies that have contracts with the IPS or other authorities to provide the large sector of prisons, detention facilities and the farcical Israeli court system. These contracts make companies complicit in grave violations of human rights international law resulting from the exploitation of Palestinian prisoners to generate profits, forcing prisoners to pay exorbitant prices due to the lack of alternatives. We demand that the Palestinian leadership bans these companies from private and public tenders, and ask for the strict application of the boycott legislation in the Arab world against these companies.

3. Boycotting the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) and expelling it from the World Medical Association (WMA) as a result of the systematic collusion of its members with torture, and its persistent violations of the seminal anti-torture code for doctors, and the Declaration of Tokyo, obliging doctors to denounce and report torture whenever they encounter it. There is voluminous evidence documenting the visits of Israeli doctors to prisoners, seeing prisoners at various points during and after episodes of torture, and failing to take a proper history or make protest, but instead, returning the prisoners to their interrogators. This includes the IMA’s complicity and silence during the current Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, as IPS has been reported to confiscate salt from prisoners rooms, which is essential for their health and safety during the strike. We recall here how the Medical Association of South Africa’s was obliged to withdraw from the WMA on the issue of medical complicity[1].

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has always been at the forefront of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and self determination. As the hunger of Palestinian prisoners bangs the walls of their prison cells[2], we in turn to prod the conscience of international civil society to hold Israel accountable to international law by intensifying BDS campaigns against it.

(Crossposted @

No problem– Obama’s State Dep’t spokesperson is married to Romney’s neocon foreign policy adviser

Oct 12, 2011

Philip Weiss

Here is a crazy story no one is talking about that is evidence of the Israel lobby’s role in our politics. Last week, Mitt Romney announced a foreign policy team that includes Robert Kagan, a neocon who pushed for the Iraq war.

But Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, who is a spokesperson for the State Department. Laurie Bennett notes the strangeness of this conjunction:

Victoria Nuland’s role as spokesperson for the State Department, deemed strange by some who remember her tenure as principal deputy national security adviser to then Vice President Dick Cheney, has become stranger yet.

Her husband, Robert Kagan, has joined Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign as a foreign policy adviser.

Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, also advised the McCain campaign in 2008.

Ordinarily this would cause a lot of strain. Nuland would be under pressure. Chris Matthews would be asking what the heck she’s doing in a political job at State when her husband is preparing the opposition.

But in fact, Nuland’s Cheney resume and her marriage to Kagan are actually credentialsin the Democratic Party: they demonstrate Obama’s sensitivity to the Israel lobby. And party bosses are happy to have these playing cards now that Obama is under siege from his own party about Israel.

Kagan pushed the Iraq war to George Bush as a battle to help Israel. He and his neocon friends wrote, “If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors… Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight. Israel’s victory is an important part of our victory.”

So Nuland’s presence is like Dennis Ross’s presence in the same building as Middle East adviser–a man the ADL calls an “advocate” for Israel, who was lately chairman of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute in Jerusalem. Or Stuart Levey’s former role in Obama’s Treasury department in the same position he had under George Bush– and Levey is a man whose college dissertation, written under Martin Peretz, was about the importance of preserving the Zionist dream.

All these appointments allow Israel advocates to say to lobbyists and donors: Obama loves Israel, look who he has serving him in these big jobs.

At Salon, As’ad AbuKhalil gets at the same point in a piece on another Romney adviser, Walid Phares.

The appointment of Phares to a position in the Romney campaign is not surprising. In years past, such an appointment would have been considered extreme and cast doubt on the wisdom of the candidate– but no more. Middle East policymaking is now dominated by the Israel lobby and its affiliates. Advocacy of Israeli positions has replaced professional qualifications as the criteria for service.

Hat tip to Mark Wauck, who sent on Steve Sailer’s post on Romney’s team.

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Roger Godsiff: Southern Cross Continued


Birmingham Hall Green MP, Roger Godsiff, today welcomed the assurance from the Dept of Health that there would be “continuation of care” for all those residents of Southern Cross Care Homes affected by the recent closure of the company.
Responding to a letter that Mr Godsiff sent to Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services before the closure announcement, Paul Burstow said: “The Government is determined to maintain continuity and quality of care for all care home residents across the country.
“We are working with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Local Government Association and the CQC to ensure that contingency plans are in place that will allow for the continuation of care in any eventuality. “

“Our principal concern is for the safety and wellbeing of the residents of care homes that might be affected. We will ensure they are protected and whatever happens, no resident – whether publicly or self-funded – will be left homeless or without care.”
Mr Godsiff was however not so reassured by the Minister’s belief that: “We consider the private sector should be fully capable of resolving this issue”.

He said: “Residents of Southern Cross have no grounds to be confident in the performance of the private sector as they have learnt to their cost. If Government’s continue to abandon large areas of social provision to the private sector without adequate oversight vulnerable members of our society will continued to be viewed as tradeable assets and not people. The performance of the Quality Care Commission (CQC) has been worse than lamentable in this respect”.

One of the 753 homes currently run by Southern Cross is the Oaklands home in the Moseley district of Mr Godsiff’s constituency and he firmly believes that residents of Oaklands and all the other 30,000 Southern Cross residents can do without the worry and distress that is being caused by the present financial uncertainty.

There are 14 Southern Cross homes in Birmingham accounting for 700 places which is aprox 10% of all the care homes places in the area.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Scandal of Southern CrBirmingham MP Roger Godsiff joined the attack over the scandal of the financial crisis at Britain’s biggest nursing homes group, Southern Cross Healthcare, tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM1863) highly critical of the financial management of the company as well as naming both a former and current senior Government advisor who benefited substantially from the flotation of the company in 2006.oss 

The hard hitting EDM tabled by the Hall Green MP states that: ‘Elderly people who need residential care should be helped to live out their lives with care, support and dignity rather than having their futures determined by the avaricious greed of financial entrepreneurs and their apologists who view care for the elderly as just another commodity and market opportunity to make vast sums of money’.

One of the 753 homes currently run by Southern Cross is the Oaklands home in the Moseley district of Mr Godsiff’s constituency and he firmly believes that residents of Oaklands and all the other 30,000 Southern Cross residents can do without the worry and distress that is being caused by the present financial uncertainty.

Former and current senior Government advisors involved with Southern Cross are Baroness Morgan of Huyton and Jeremy Heywood.

Baroness Morgan, who served as Tony Blair’s political secretary, is one of the longest serving board members at Southern Cross and sits on the company’s remuneration committee which determines the pay of senior executives and directors. She received £53,000 from the company last year. Jeremy Heywood who was appointed Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2008, was co-head of UK investment banking at Morgan Stanley which acted as financial adviser and lead manager for the 2006 flotation and yielded a 300% return on its investment in Southern Cross for its private equity group owner Blackstone and its directors a year before the share value collapsed.

The 2006 flotation valued the company at £423 million and raised £175. It is normal for advising banks to charge a fee of at least 1%.

Mr Godsiff has also written to Heath Secretary, Andrew Lansley MP asking him if the Government will undertake a financial review of other care sector providers to ensure that they are fit for purpose

3rd June 2011

MP slams Council decision to sent Birmingham jobs to India.

Following on from the news that Birmingham City Council are to transfer over 100 jobs to India Roger Godsiff, the MP for Birmingham Hall Green, slammed the Council’s decision.

‘Sacking Council employees and sending their jobs to call centres in India is not going to offer improved services for the people of Birmingham.  It is a shabby decision by the Council and their private sector partner, Capita, to get low paid non-union people in India, who have minimum employment rights, to do the jobs on the cheap thereby making savings for the Council and bigger profits for Capita.’

‘I find it ridiculous that the International Development Secretary, who is a Birmingham MP, should be giving large sums of development aid, paid for out of the taxes paid by hard pressed British taxpayers, to India, which is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, while at the same time supporting the Conservative/Lib.Dem Council in Birmingham sacking Birmingham staff in order to transfer their jobs to India leaving, once again, the British taxpayers to pay for the ongoing cost of these redundancies.’

18th March 2011
Roger Godsiff MP calls for freeze in Beer Tax, as new figures show importance of beer and pub industry to Birmingham, Hall Green

Newly released figures by leading economists Oxford Economics, have shown that the beer and pub sector sustains almost 1,572 jobs in Birmingham, Hall Green, and is capable of generating many more given a supportive duty regime.  The analysis also shows that the local economy is £41.9 million better off thanks to the industry.

In response Roger Godsiff MP has welcomed these new figures and called on the Government to scrap the controversial beer duty “escalator” in next month’s Budget.

Instead, the recent VAT increase (6p per pint), followed a 26 per cent increase in beer duty since 2008. The vast majority (85%) of pubs are small businesses which cannot absorb these tax shocks, further increasing the price differential between pubs and supermarkets. With the current high rate of inflation the sector is facing a further record-breaking 7.1 per cent beer tax increase via the “escalator” in March. This would result in beer duty having increased by 35 per cent in three years.

Roger Godsiff MP is supporting a joint campaign led by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), to freeze beer duty and scrap the controversial beer duty escalator ahead of this year’s Budget.

Roger Godsiff MP said:

“With the beer and pub sector injecting over £41.9 million into our local economy each year, I hope that the Government will think twice about the destructive duty escalator in the forthcoming Budget.”

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the BBPA, said:

“The broad political support for our campaign reflects the strategic importance of beer and pubs in Britain. The beer and pub sector is ready, willing, and able to create jobs and help lead the country out of recession – but we need the right tax policies from the Government.”

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8th March 2011
Moor Green Football Club ground- Local demands on redevelopment are met

Birmingham Hall Green MP, Roger Godsiff, said that he was delighted that following discussions with the developer and the Planning Dept of Birmingham City Council, a new planning application was going to put forward for the development of the site.

The new application meets many of the objections that both he and local residents made and also incorporates alternative suggestions which were put forward.

One acre of the site is going to be incorporated into Hall Green Junior and Infant School to provide new sports facilities and £45,000 is going to be spent on improving existing play equipment at nearby Marion Way and £96,300 is going to be spent at Highfield Hall to provide a junior football pitch and new changing facilities.

The original proposal from David Wilson Homes, who sort planning permission to build 80 new homes, incorporated proposals for two large play areas and a ‘community house’ which the Council had asked the developer to incorporate and these have now been dropped.

Mr Godsiff made the point repeatedly that the play areas and ‘community house’ would be a potential magnet for anti-social behaviour and that there are were alternative play areas and community facilities in the area and believes that the developer has met the objections that he originally had.

David Wilson Homes will be writing to local residents explaining these new proposals but Roger Godsiff MP said: “My view is that my first preference would be for the Moor Green Football Club site to remain as public open space or for sporting use but if the Council can satisfy local concerns over the question of vehicular access and are mindful to give planning permission for redevelopment of the site then the scheme now put forward by David Wilson Homes meets the objections that I had”.

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07 February
Birmingham MP slams cab closures.

Hall Green MP, Roger Godsiff, today slammed the proposals to close Citizens Advice Bureau’s (CAB) across Birmingham.

Roger Godsiff said; “I know from my own personal experience of dealing with casework what an important service the CAB’s offer to constituents in assisting them with information and advice. To lose this service just to save money is not only madness but borders on the criminally insane.

In one fell swoop we will not only loosing an invaluable facility but the whole wealth of experience of the people who work there, many on a voluntary basis –  and who have an understanding of complex legislation particularly in relation to benefits and council service provision.

Mr Godsiff went onto say:’To say that you can move that service overnight to already overstretched neighbourhood offices without a profound impact on the service beggars believe and is yet another cost-cutting measure that will disproportionally hurt the most vulnerable.’

It is understood that withdrawal of £600,000 funding will lead to the closure of all 5 CAB offices on Feb 11th, in three weeks time.

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