Archive | November 22nd, 2011

Saudi Women May Be Forced To Even Cover Their Eyes


n yet another example of the extreme oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, a conservative Islamic committee has proposed a law to stop women from revealing their “tempting” eyes to the public.

Saudi women are already required by law to completely cover up from head to toe when in public with the exception of their eyes, and usually eyebrows. Women caught not strictly adhering to the modesty laws risk being publicly flogged.

However, Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) found that even women’s eyes could sometimes be too attractive for men and drafted a new proposal.

According to the Daily Mail, a report on the Bikya Masr news site suggested the proposal was made after a member of the committee was attracted by a woman’s eyes as he walked along a street, provoking a fight. The fight culminated in the woman’s husband getting stabbed twice in the hand. A spokesperson for CPVPV, Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, said a proposal aimed at making it illegal for women to be in public without covering themselves up completely, if they happened to have attractive eyes, had been tabled.

In a country where women are not allowed to be in public unless accompanied by a male relative and where they are banned from driving, this latest and utterly absurd development must surely be a wake up call to Muslim women around the world, not to mention human rights groups. What might be happening in Saudi Arabia today could very well be implemented en mass across the Muslim world. When are women finally going to stand up and say, “Stop! Enough!”?

In yet another example of the extreme oppression of women in Saudi Arabia, a conservative Islamic committee has proposed a law to stop women from revealing their “tempting” eyes to the public.

Saudi women are already required by law to completely cover up from head to toe when in public with the exception of their eyes, and usually eyebrows. Women caught not strictly adhering to the modesty laws risk being publicly flogged and heavily fined.

However, Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) found that even women’s eyes could sometimes be too attractive for men and drafted a new proposal.

According to the Daily Mail, a report on the Bikya Masr news site suggested the proposal was made after a member of the committee was attracted by a woman’s eyes as he walked along a street, provoking a fight. The fight culminated in the woman’s husband getting stabbed twice in the hand. A spokesperson for CPVPV, Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, said a proposal aimed at making it illegal for women to be in public without covering themselves up completely, if they happened to have attractive eyes, had been tabled.

In a country where women are not allowed to be in public unless accompanied by a male relative and where they are banned from driving, this latest and utterly absurd development must surely be a wake up call to Muslim women around the world, not to mention human rights groups. What might be happening in Saudi Arabia today could very well be implemented en mass across the Muslim world. When are women finally going to stand up and say, “Stop! Enough!”?

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Eurozone Doomsayer Got it Right


by Stephen Lendman 

Eurozone economies are cratering. Every fix tried so far failed. Combining 17 dissimilar countries under one monetary/fiscal system assured disaster waiting to happen.

British economist Bernard Connolly knew it before the euro’s 1998 introduction. His 1995 book titled, “The Rotten Heart of Europe: The Dirty War for Europe’s Money called it a harebrained idea doomed to fail.

Saying it cost him his job. Maybe he should be running failed economies to fix them one by one. Even laymen can do a better job than current and past officials who wrecked them and ordinary households to pay bankers.

More on Connolly’s book below.

On November 17, New York Times writer Landon Thomas headlined, “Words of a Euro Doomsayer Have New Resonance,” saying:

Eurozone countries are “crumbling, just as he had long predicted, yet Bernard Connolly, Europe’s most persistent prophet of doom, still” faces skeptics.

Addressing the Los Angeles-based Milken Institute last spring, he said:

“The current policy of lending plus austerity will lead to social unrest.” Troubled Eurozone countries can’t cut their way to recovery. “And one should not forget,” he said, “that of the four countries (now six) we are talking about, all have had civil wars, fascist dictatorships and revolutions. This is history.”

“And this is the future if this malignant lunacy of monetary union is pursued and crushes these countries into the ground.”

In 1995, Connolly took leave from his job as EU monetary affairs department head for his book. It remains a powerfully persuasive account of the Eurozone’s predicted collapse.

He argued that monetary union would lead to political unification dominated by Germany and France, Europe’s two largest economies. As a result, it had to be pursued quietly because people and parliaments of other Eurozone nations wouldn’t support it.

After publication of his book, Connolly was suspended, then sacked. He’s regarded as the foremost expert on European economic, monetary, and political integration.

Months before the euro’s 1998 introduction, he predicted that one or more of Europe’s weakest countries would face rising budget deficits, troubled economies, and a “downward spiral from which there is no escape unaided. When that happens, the country concerned will be faced with a risk of sovereign default.”

Introduced in 1979, Europe’s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) as part of the European Monetary System (EMS), was intended to propel the continent to one European currency unit (ECU).

ERM never worked. ECU is failing. At issue is duplicity, conflicts of interest, and trapping 17 dissimilar countries in the euro straightjacket, usurping their monetary and fiscal autonomy disastrously.

Connolly said in his book:

“My central thesis is that the ERM and the EMU (European Monetary Union, the mechanism which ultimately brought the Euro into technical existence) are not only inefficient but also undemocratic: a danger not only to our wealth but to our freedom and ultimately, our peace.”

He also wrote:

“As we shall see, in France, the long arm of the authoritarian state pressurized dissident economists and bankers, deployed financial information programmes on international TV channels, threatened securities houses with loss of business if they questioned the official economic line, and shamelessly used state-owned and even private-sector banks, in complete contradiction with their shareholder’s interests and Community law, to support official policy.”

“The economic profession in Europe organized literally hundreds of conferences, seminars and colloquia to which only conformist speakers were invited; and the Commission’s ‘research’ programmes financed large numbers of economic studies to provide the right results from known believers.”

In other words, a system doomed to fail was reengineered fraudulently to look workable.

Now consulting for private clients, Connolly has many admirers. Hedge fund manager Nicolas Carn said he “shaped my views on Europe and contributed significantly to my investment performance.”

Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader Yra Harris called him “like no one I have ever met,” adding:

“Each time I talk to him, it’s like I’ve been to Harvard for four years.” He was right way ahead of his time. Today, the Eurozone is slowly collapsing. Connolly may one day write its epitaph, saying I told you so, but you wouldn’t listen.

Global Europe Economic Anticipation Bulletin’s (GEAB) Latest  Assessment

GEAB calls America “the epicenter of the global systemic crisis.” On November 23, Congress’ Super Committee must agree on $1.2 trillion of budget cuts or face mandatory 2013 ones. Either way, purchasing power lost means less spending, fewer jobs, and greater public anger than today’s high levels.

Both sides are deadlocked. Failure is assured. Washington’s political system is paralyzed. As a result, expect US debt downgrades and higher borrowing costs with predictable economic consequences.

China’s Dagong Global Credit Rating agency fired the opening shot, confirming another downgrade if Super Committee members fail.

GEAB calls America’s private debt worse than Greece’s. It believes Western banks will be decimated. Crisis conditions are deepening. Rising bond yields signal trouble. Core European debt is being abandoned. France may lose its AAA rating. America’s been overrated for years. So have many European countries.

Compared with rigged higher ratings from S&P, Moody’s and Fitch, Weiss Research rated nine sovereign countries as follows:

  • Belgium: C-

  • France: C

  • Germany: C+

  • Greece: E

  • Ireland: D-

  • Italy: C-

  • Portugal: D+

  • Spain: D+

  • USA: C-

For private firms, the lowest investment grade debt is BBB- or Baa3. For Weiss, it’s C-.

Their highest junk grade is BB or Ba1. Weiss’ is D+.

Lower Weiss ratings than C- signify red flags. Notoriously, S&P, Moody’s and Fitch grossly overrate public and private debt because paying clients demand it.

Progressive Radio News Hour regular, economist Jack Rasmus, discussed eight reasons for America’s deficits and debt. He explained that from 2000 – 2011, federal government debt rose from $5.6 – $14.8 trillion, according to Federal Reserve Flow of Funds figures that exclude trillions more from Fannie and Freddie.

Eight reasons stand out, including:

(1) $2.1 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan war spending. Rasmus calls the figure very conservative as it doesn’t include other war costs related to military construction, department of energy costs, veterans benefits, intelligence, Homeland Security, huge black budgets, off budget secret weapons programs, and other costs plus more for inflation.

(2) $3,150 trillion in Bush administration tax cuts for super-rich Americans already with too much.

(3) $900 billion in Wall Street bailouts. Excluded are trillions of Federal Reserve dollars for troubled banks. The Fed keeps separate books, excluded from US deficit and national debt totals.

(4) $1,896 trillion in Bush and Obama administrations tax cuts and stimulus spending from 2008 – 2011.

(5) $450 billion in unfunded Medicare Part D expense.

(6) $180 billion in “excess inflation costs for Medicare-Medicaid.”

(7) $225 billion in “lost tax revenue (from) 18 million (new) unemployed.

(8) $270 billion in interest.

(4) “(P)rice gouging by health insurance companies and health services providers.”

In other words, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid aren’t responsible for America’s debt problem. Imperial war spending, bank and other corporate bailouts, tax cuts for the rich, failed fiscal stimulus, and “price gouging by health insurance and health services providers” take full blame.

Nonetheless, American households, working poor and unemployed get strapped with the full burden.

Wall Street crooks, war profiteers, and other corporate scoundrels, including price gouging healthcare providers, got off scot-free to steal again.

No wonder OWS protesters rage against a corrupted system they want changed.

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Revival of Geneva Initiative features divisive figure: Bernard-Henri Levy

Nov 22, 2011

Philip Weiss

Bernard-Henry Levy

The Swiss are trying to revive the Geneva Initiative 8 years after its first iteration andwill do so at a public conference later today.

Events in 2011 have shown that the will of the people can bring about political change. The Geneva Initiative, which is the joint-product of Israeli and Palestinian civil societies, remains a concrete and realistic proposal for a peace settlement in the Middle East.

They give the Initiative a new twist — Geneva 2.0 — and Yasser Abed Rabbo of the PLO will be there to advocate for the two-state-solution but so will a surprise speaker:

An old conflict in a new context – the Arab Spring and its impact on Israelis and Palestinians

Bernard-Henri Lévy, French philosopher and writer

I am told that B-H L is anathema to many Palestinians for his writings and comments critical of Islam. And he is beloved by the Israel lobby. But will that help the Geneva Initiative gain adherents?

Israeli military and settlers attack homes of Palestinians involved in the recent prisoner swap

Nov 21, 2011


Israeli envoy in Cairo to discuss second stage of exchange deal
CAIRO (PIC) 21 Nov — An Israeli envoy arrived in Cairo on Sunday aboard a private plane to discuss the second stage of the Egyptian-brokered Hamas-Israel prisoners’ exchange deal, the German news agency DPA said.
link to Palestinian Information Center

West Bank settlers attack ex-prisoner’s house
Al Jazeera 20 Nov — Dozens of Israeli settlers have attacked a house in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron in protest against the release of a man in the recent Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap. Israeli soldiers on Saturday clashed with the settlers as the army moved in to try to keep the would-be assailants away from the house. They were trying to get at Hani Jaber, who had been freed after 18 years in an Israeli jail for killing a settler from Kiryat Arba. Residents of that Jewish settlement adjacent to Hebron had put a $100,000 price tag on Jaber’s life after he was set free. The 35-year-old had been sentenced to two life sentences for the killing. “Today, since this morning, the settlers have been attacking us frequently and they were pointing at this house and saying this was the house of the killer Hani Jaber and we were confused,” said resident Arif Jaber. “About half an hour go, around 250 settlers attacked the house,” he said. [as of 21 Nov, Jaber has been issued a summons to report to Israeli intelligence for questioning]
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Israeli intelligence summons released prisoners
WEST BANK (WAFA) 21 Nov – Israeli intelligence Monday summoned four Palestinian ex-prisoners from Salfit, Jenin and Hebron who were released in the Gilad Shalit swap deal for interrogation, according to security sources and family members. he Israeli army raided the city of Salfit north of the West Bank, inspected the houses of Ra‘ed Hassan and Imad Fatouni, and handed them notices to report to Israeli intelligence, said security sources. Sources added that Israeli forces also broke into a house of released prisoner Sami Jbareen, who was exiled to Turkey, and summoned his brother to Israeli intelligence.
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Israeli troops ‘ransack’ ex-prisoner’s home
JENIN (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli forces ransacked the home of a released prisoner early Monday near Jenin in the northern West Bank, witnesses said. A large force of soldiers and an intelligence officer surrounded the home of Sheikh Abdul Rahmad Salah early Monday morning near the al-Marah neighborhood, Salah’s family told Ma‘an. Salah, who was freed by Israel in October in a captive swap deal, was questioned for two hours as soldiers tore apart his home, relatives said, adding that their furniture was destroyed in the raid.
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Prisoners Society head meets freed detainees in Turkey
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — The head of the prisoners society met with prisoners exiled to Turkey after a prisoner swap deal, the society said Sunday. Qadura Fares assured detainees they would return to Palestinian soil, a press statement said. “There will be a day where you meet with your families and people in your homeland, and your well-being will win over the Israeli occupation’s attempts to distance you from your homeland,” the release quoted him saying. Eleven detainees were exiled to Turkey in mid-October, after Hamas agreed to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the freedom of over 1,000 Palestinians detained in Israeli jails.
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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Threats to Palestine culture and history

Hagit Ofran: The eviction of one Palestinian family might cause the next political crisis over East Jerusalem
[aerial photo] HuffPost 17 Nov — August 2nd, 2009. The Ghawi and Hannun families ofSheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem are waking to the sounds of police and trucks and movers. In a few hours, their houses will have become the home to settler families, and they will be kicked out to the street. Those images are flashing back to me as I think of what could happen in two weeks in Silwan. We’ve seen those pictures in the past: Palestinian family out, Israeli settlers in … In Silwan there is a fight over nationality, history and also religion. For the Palestinians, it is a Palestinian neighborhood, next to Al-Aqsa Mosque where thousands of Palestinians have been living for ages. The settlers are trying to make it into “The City of David,” using archaeology and tourism to change the public domain in Silwan. The visitors center of the “City of David” tourism site was built by the settlers next to the house of the Sumarin family. If taken by the settlers, the Sumarin house would give them a large contiguous area at the very entrance to Silwan and dramatically change the character of the neighborhood.
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Residents build protest tent in stand against Sumrain eviction
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — Residents of Silwan erected a tent in Wadi Hilweh today, 20 November, in protest to Israeli authorities’ plans to evict the local Sumrain family. The eviction, scheduled to take place on 28 November, poses a major strategic gain for the settler movement in Silwan. The Sumrain family has been ordered to pay 2 million NIS to the “execution office,” despite the fact that payment would not even halt or slow the eviction process. Once the family has been evicted, it is expected that the “execution office”  will transfer ownership of the property to the Elad settler organisation, which has spearheaded the settlement movement in Wadi Hilweh.
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Presidential adviser: Settlers target Jerusalem homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli settler organizations have been given the green light by the Israeli government to take over a number of central Jerusalem homes belonging to Palestinians, a presidential legal adviser said on Sunday. Ahmad Ruweidi said the Israeli government had waited until the timing was right politically to implement court decisions evicting Palestinians from a number of homes near the Old City. An eviction order for the Silwan house of the Sumarin family on Nov. 28 is the beginning of a campaign against Palestinian properties, he said in a press statement.
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Fatah: Taking over Jerusalemite properties declaration of war against holy city
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 20 Nov – Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah, Sunday considered the Israeli government granting the settlements’ associations the right to take over Jerusalemite  properties a declaration of war against the holy city of Jerusalem and a dangerous stage in Judaizing all that belong to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Osama al-Qawasmi, Fatah spokesperson, described, in a press release issued by Fatah office of information and culture, this Israeli decision as ‘political insanity’, saying, ‘The Israeli government’s violations of the Palestinian national rights and the international law and its absolute rejection to recognize the Palestinian people’s rights reached the extent of political madness’.
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‘Segregated country’: Israel plans Orthodox-Jewish-only ‘cities’ in Palestinian area / Philip Weiss & Annie
Mondo 21 Nov — Today the New York Times says Islamists want to take part in the new Egyptian government, and how scary that is. Well, is anyone paying attention to Israel’s new plans for a “segregated” Jewish development in northern Israel, in an area home to many Palestinians? This is actual Judaization, taking place before our eyes. FromPalestine Monitor: “The small village of Harish has become a hot spot of contentious debate since plans were unveiled to build an ultra-Orthodox only city in the predominantly Palestinian region. Harish is a village in the Wadi Ara, a region in northern Israel that falls in the Haifa District and ‘The Triangle’ in Israel. Wadi Ara is home to roughly 120,000 Palestinians and 10,000 Jews.” From Ynet: Minister plans segregated housing: ” The conference was held in Jerusalem under the banner ‘Segregated Country.'”
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Legislation guaranteeing settlement construction for ‘natural growth’ on the agenda
AIC 21 Nov — On Sunday (20 November) Israel’s Ministerial Legislative Committee postponed but did not reject discussion of proposed legislation that would guarantee yearly construction in West Bank settlements to account for “natural (population) growth.”
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Has the settler movement sacrificed Gaza in favor of annexing the West Bank? / Eyal Clyne
972blog 21 Nov — A. Is the annexation of the West Bank imminent? “Yesha Council” and “My Israel” have recently circulated a propaganda video clip as part of a campaign addressing the old Israeli-left argument, that “if a two-state solution is not established soon, Israel will lose its Jewish demographic superiority“. In the clip they demonstrate how by deducting the estimated Gaza Strip population from their demographic calculations, the Jewish majority can remain safe and sound between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, even if Israel were to annex the West Bank. This campaign may indicate a new direction for the Israeli right-wing given the way Israeli right-wing commentators, researchersmathematicians, journalists, bloggersactivistspolitical groups and prominent public figures have quickly adopted and rejoiced over this new trophy.
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Palestinians reject Israeli claims of media incitement
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Nov — Palestinian officials Monday rejected Israeli claims of incitement broadcast on the state-run Palestine TV and radio stations, arguing instead that the incitement is actually found in the Israeli media and school textbooks. An Israeli TV channel claimed the Palestinian media incites to violence when it makes reference to cities inside Israel and presents documentaries about their Palestinian history. Ahmad Zaki, director of Voice of Palestine radio, defended reference to the Palestinian history of cities, stressing that the Palestine Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), which includes the official TV and radio, will continue to broadcast documentaries on Palestinian cities inside Israel despite of the Israeli campaign against it. He accused the Israeli media of incitement and falsifying facts as it continues to refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem as Yerushalayim despite the signed agreements.
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PCBS: Settlements biggest obstacle to use of agricultural holdings
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 20 Nov — PCBS President, Ola Awad, announced the final results of the first agricultural census in the Palestinian Territory in 2010, in which 2010 data indicated that 7,835 agricultural holdings in the West Bank were constrained in using agricultural holdings parcels due to the expansion and annexation wall, said the press release. It added that 12,797 holdings were constrained in using agricultural holdings parcels by settlements, and 7,292 holdings were constrained by military barriers, while 7,971 holdings in the Palestinian Territory were constrained in using agricultural holdings parcels by land being in closed military areas.
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Gaza warns of devastating floods if Israel opens dams
GAZA (PIC) 20 Nov — Gazan agriculture ministry and civil defense have warned of devastating floods if Israel carried out its threat to open Gaza valley dams. Col. Yousef Al-Zahhar, the head of the civil defense squad in Gaza, told the PIC on Sunday that the resulting floods would damage 100 houses and hundreds of bee hives other than the fact that 100 square kilometers of cultivated land would be inundated in Mighraka in central Gaza. He said that the livestock in the area would be drowned, noting that most of the people in the area are Bedouins who win their sustenance based on rearing livestock. The ministry of agriculture, for its part, held the Israeli occupation authority responsible for consequences of such a step, recalling in a statement on Sunday that the IOA last year deliberately opened those dams without prior notice causing millions of dollars in damages.
link to Palestinian Information Center

Settlers / Right-wing extremists

Lieberman: Demolition of illegal West Bank outposts will end Netanyahu cabinet
Haaretz 21 Nov — The coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will unravel if Israel goes ahead with either the planned demolition of two illegal West Bank outposts or the handover of Palestinian tax money to the Palestinian Authority, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday.
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Right-wing Israeli group creates booklet listing businesses that employ Palestinians
IMEMC 21 Nov — A grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, best known for his belief that Arabs should be ethnically cleansed from historic Palestine, is leading a movement to document and boycott all businesses in Israel that employ Palestinians. The plan was discovered when 19-year old Meir Ettinger was reported to the police for walking around the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem and asking merchants whether they employ Arabs. One Palestinian merchant became suspicious that Ettinger may be planning an attack against himself or other Palestinians working at the market, and called the Israeli police.
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Jewish extremist breaks into mosque in Jaffa
TEL AVIV (WAFA) 21 Nov – A Jewish radical Monday broke into Hasan Beik mosque in the city of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, with an intention to perform Jewish prayer in the Muslim mosque, said a local official. Ahmad Mashharawi, member of Tel Aviv Municipal Council, told WAFA that the Israeli police apprehended the Jewish man after a number of Muslim worshippers noticed him and contacted the police. He expressed concern that the police will not charge the Israeli fanatic with anything, rather claim that he is insane and therefore could not be held accountable for his actions … Mashharawi stressed that attacks against Islamic and Christian holy places are on the rise in Jaffa, the latest of which was the vandalism of Muslim and Christian cemeteries in October.
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Funeral disrupted by clashes in Hebron town
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — A funeral procession in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar erupted into clashes between Israeli forces and locals on Sunday, after a soldier in an unmarked vehicle fired towards the group.  Locals said a man, who they believed to be an Israeli settler, unexpectedly opened fire at mourners from the main road to Hebron at Beit Ummar’s entrance.
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Hebron: Zionist paraders harass Palestinians; seven Internationals detained
EI/AIC 20 Nov — Over 1,000 American and International Zionists joined 700 extremist settlers in Hebron this weekend to celebrate the reading of the Torah portion detailing Abraham’s biblical purchase of Hebron land, and to assert sovereignty over the Palestinian residents of Hebron. On Friday, many Zionist visitors camped in tents on Israeli-controlled Shuhada Street. Inebriated from the Shabbat festivities, the visitors harassed local Palestinians throughout the night. On Saturday, soldiers stationed themselves through the streets of Hebron’s Old City, forcing the shutdown of Palestinian shops, while swarms of visitors were treated to an extensive settler-guided tour championing the Jewish roots of Old Hebron. In what was advertised by the Hebron Committee as “the most unforgettable Jewish experience of a lifetime,”  throngs of young, mostly American males clapped and chanted ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ (‘life to the people of Israel’) and other nationalistic chants, while  Palestinian residents were forced to the sidelines of their own streets and kept there by soldiers.
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VIDEO: Settler tour, Hebron
20 Nov — harassing and arresting internationals     Soldier: “Your religion – what is?”  International: “It’s my secret.” [As it should be!]

Settlement’s waste water destroys olive trees
SALFIT (WAFA) 20 Nov – Waste water from Revava settlement, which is established on the land of Deir Estia, near Salfit in the northern West Bank, completely destroyed 20 olive trees and flooded another 100 trees in Palestinian land around the settlement, Sunday said a local official. Nazmi Salman, mayor of Deir Estia, said the waste water is threatening hundreds of dunums (1 dunum=1000 square meters or 1/4 acre) of land planted with olive trees in the western valley area to the west of the town, adding that farmers couldn’t harvest the 100 olive trees that were flooded. Dawoud Fares, owner of the damaged trees, was repeatedly assaulted by settlers before, including a physical attack and the arson of almost 300 olive plants in his land, added Salman.
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‘Arab Spring’ convoy arrives at Gaza border
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — A convoy of 100 activists arrived at the Rafah crossing on Egypt’s border with Gaza on Monday to deliver medical aid to the besieged coastal enclave, the Egyptian Red Crescent said. Jaber al-Arabi, who heads the Red Crescent in north Sinai, said in a statement that the organization had received the aid and transferred it to the border. He said around 100 Egyptian and international activists were on board the “Arab Spring convoy,” headed by Safwat Hijazeen. The activists brought four tons of medicine and medical equipment for hospitals in the Gaza Strip, al-Arabi added.
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Miles of Smiles convoy donates $60,000 to Jordan field hospital in Gaza
MEMO 20 Nov — The latest Miles of Smiles convoy to Gaza has donated $60,000 to the field hospital established by Jordan in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2009. According to the coordinator of the convoy Miles of Smiles 7, participant NGOs donated the money to the hospital to purchase much-needed medical equipment. Dr. Essam Mustafa pointed out that Miles of Smiles 6 had donated an electrical generator to the hospital two months earlier valued at $40,000.
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Detention / Court actions

Hamas: Israel arrested 64 Palestinians over the past week
RAMALLAH (PIC) 20 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 64 Palestinian citizens in the West Bank over the past week including 14 children, a press release by Hamas issued on Saturday said. It pointed out that the biggest number (17) was arrested in Al-Khalil followed by (12) in Bethlehem, (10) in Qalqilia, (6) in each of Nablus and Ramallah, (4) in in each of Jenin and Salfit, (3) in occupied Jerusalem and one in each of Jericho and Tulkarem. The report said that three of those arrested were journalists while five were recently released from PA security prisons.
link to Palestinian Information Center

Israeli forces make multiple arrests in Bethlehem area
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least six men in the West Bank early on Monday, witnesses and the army said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli military vehicles raided the village of Tuqu, southeast of Bethlehem and Duheisha refugee camp, east of the city, detaining six men.
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Israeli forces arrest Palestinian sergeant in Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 21 Nov — Israeli forces, Monday at dawn, arrested Palestinian sergeant Tareq Husain, 29, from the tourism and antiquities police near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, according to a police report. The report said that an Israeli military force, composed of 12 military vehicles, stormed the town of Borqeen, west of Jenin in the northern West Bank, and arrested the sergeant after raiding his house, vandalizing and tampering with its contents where they dug holes all over the house.
They also stormed the town of Qabatiya as well as the Martyrs’ Triangle intersection off the Jenin – Nablus road.
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Ministry: Patients in Israeli jail suffering after ward move
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Invalids in an Israeli prison hospital are facing worsening conditions which harm their health, the prisoner affairs ministry in Ramallah said Monday. The ministry report said sick inmates at Ramla prison hospital had deteriorated since their transfer to a new section of the prison. Ministry lawyer Fadi Abedat said the conditions described by prisoners amounted to preparing an early grave. Yasser Nazzal, 46, said prisoners with disabilities could not move freely in their new ward, and invalids were prevented from taking breaks outdoors, both of which were taking a psychological toll, the report said.
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Ministry: Detainees allege soldier mistreatment in custody
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Palestinians in Israeli military detention in the occupied West Bank have complained of abuse by Israeli soldiers while in custody. The Ministry of Prisoners Affairs in Ramallah says inmates at Etzion military detention center, south of Bethlehem, complained to a ministry lawyer that they had been beaten by troops and put in stress positions for hours in cold conditions. Prisoners say they are not provided with sufficient or hygienic blankets for the winter weather, a report from minister lawyer Hussein al-Sheikh said. They also allege that forces goad them with inedible food. “When the detainees complained, the officer in charge told them mockingly that the center ran out of sugar, and so they sugared the tea with salt,” the report said.
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Hamas says 2 members arrested by PA
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Palestinian Authority security forces detained two Hamas members in the West Bank on Saturday, the party said. A Hamas statement said two men were detained from the Nablus village of Talluza. One of them, Mohammad Janajra, is a member of Talluza village council, the document said. A computer was confiscated and some money taken from Janajra’s house, it said.
The arrests came as Hamas and Fatah officials prepared to meet in Cairo in the latest bid to end years of political disunity in the occupied territories.
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Israel not to prosecute commander for killing 21 Palestinians in Gaza
TEL AVIV (WAFA) 21 Nov – Israeli Military Prosecutors Office decided Monday not to prosecute former Givati Brigade commander, Ilan Malka, who is responsible for killing 21 members of al-Samuni family during an air strike that targeted the city of Gaza, according to Maariv newspaper. It said that Malka approved bombing a building in Zaytouna neighborhood in Gaza, killing 21 Palestinians and injuring another 19.
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IDF soldier jailed 10 days for throwing stone at Palestinian
Haaretz/DPA 21 Nov — The Palestinian man was filming the soldier stationed in Hebron on behalf of the Israeli human rights group Betselem when the initial incident took place.
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Political / Diplomatic / International

Sources: Hamas and Fatah agree on Mamoun Abu Shahla for new Prime Minister
PNN 21 Nov — The Palestinian TV station al-Wattan TV said on Monday that the leaders of Fatah and Hamas had agreed on new prime minister, a Gazan businessman named Mamoun Abu Shahla. The news was also confirmed by the Raya Radio news network. Abu Shahla is an accountant and businessman born in Acre in 1943 and educated in Gaza, Egypt and the United states. He has worked between Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and United states for 22 years and holds a British passport. Abu Shahla, his wife and four children have lived in Gaza for five years. Abu Shahla runs an infrastructure contracting company, a computers and information technology company, and a hospital supply company … The news has not been confirmed by the Palestinian Authority.
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Prof. Qasem: The internal rift will end only if the PA ends its ties with Israel
RAMALLAH (PIC) 20 Nov — Professor of political science Abdulsattar Qasem downplayed the chances of reaching a genuine national reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah factions if the Palestinian authority (PA) did not end its security cooperation with Israel and its financial dependence on the West. Qasem told Quds Press that Hamas and Fatah could repeat the past mistakes if the real causes of their dispute were not addressed from the roots, mainly with regard to the agreements the PA signed with Israel. “I believe there is great potential for achieving the reconciliation if the real causes of the division and strife between Fatah and Hamas factions have been tackled,” the professor underlined.
link to Palestinian Information Center

Report: US envoy to meet Abbas over unity govt
JERUSALEM (AFP) 21 Nov — A top US diplomat is to hold emergency talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders over the next two days regarding plans for a Palestinian unity government, the Israeli newspaper Maariv said Sunday. A spokesman for the US consulate in Jerusalem confirmed that Deputy Secretary of State William Burns would meet President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. Maariv said the visit was an “urgent” mission ahead of a meeting at the end of this week between Abbas and Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal that will finalize plans for the implementation of a reconciliation deal.
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UN envoy singles out Israel over talks deadlock
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 21 Nov — The UN Middle East peace envoy on Monday singled out Israel’s settlement building for criticism as he highlighted deadlocked efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians into direct talks. “Provocations continue to damage confidence,” special envoy Robert Serry told a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East. “In particular, Israel continues to engage in settlement activity, including in highly sensitive areas, and demolitions of Palestinian structures are ongoing.”
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Jordan king backs Abbas in unity and peace talks
Ramallah (Reuters) 21 Nov — King Abdullah of Jordan made a rare trip yesterday to theWest Bank to display support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is seeking to make peace with his Islamist rivals Hamas, and push for a resumption of peace talks with Israel.
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Even with unity agreement, Islamic Jihad to boycott upcoming elections
PNN 21 Nov — Islamic Jihad leader Ahmed al-Modalal told PNN on Sunday that the Gaza-based movement would not participate in any upcoming elections, even if Hamas and Fatah formed a unity government, citing the Oslo Agreements it still refuses to recognize. Al-Modalal told PNN that the position of Islamic Jihad may change after the group studies the situation. He said that his movement supports national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and said Islamic Jihad would not be an obstacle to it.
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Israel to continue freeze on Palestinian tax money, says senior official
Haaretz 21 Nov — Netanyahu and senior ministers decide to further withhold money in light of Palestinian efforts to form unity government … The decision by the eight cabinet ministers seems ironic in light of the fact that Netanyahu and most of the ministers, apart from Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, believe that it is in Israeli interests to transfer the funds to the Palestinians. However, Netanyahu does not have a majority in the security-diplomatic cabinet to approve the money transfer.
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Economy minister calls for suing Israel over withheld funds
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Nov – Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh Monday called for suing Israel over withholding Palestinian tax funds and to demand compensation for losses caused by this measure. Israel refused to release more than $100 [million] in tax revenues it collects monthly on goods imported by Palestinians that enter through its ports, after Palestine won membership in UNESCO and over reconciliation plans. Abu Libdeh told WAFA that the Israeli decision “was a clear violation of a trade agreement that allows Israel to collect taxes, which it is supposed to transfer to the Palestinian Authority for a 3% commission.”
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Israel boosts diplomatic mission to Turkey
Ynet 1 Nov — Foreign Ministry names Joseph Levy-Safri chargé d’affaires of Israeli Embassy in Ankara but tension between nations remain high … Safri, 39, a conflict resolution attorney, enjoys high esteem in diplomatic circles and most recently he has served as part of Israel’s mission to Uruguay.
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Israel ups patrols around gas fields
Tel Aviv (Reuters) 21 Nov — Israel has gradually boosted naval patrols around its east Mediterranean natural gas fields for fear of guerrilla attacks and as maritime rivalry with Turkey deepens, an Israeli official said yesterday.
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Syrian refugees to seek shelter in Israel?
Ynet 20 Nov —  As Syria slides into what appears to be a civil war, the permanent presence of President Bashar Assad’s army along the border with Israel has granted him some peace and quiet on the part of the area’s Syrian residents. Nonetheless, the IDF believes the tyrant’s days are numbered and is not ruling out the possibility that the riots will reach the border area, including extreme scenarios in which Syrian refuges will seek shelter in Israel of all places.
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Other news

Ministry shuts down broadcasts of Israeli-Palestinian radio station
Haaretz 19 Nov — Israel Police and the Communications Ministry cut off the broadcasts of Kol Hashalom radio station on Saturday, claiming that they are pirate broadcasts. Kol Hashalom’s operators claim that their offices, which are located in the Palestinian Authority, are not subject to Israeli law, but Palestinian law, and therefore the Communications Ministry does not have the authority to shut it down. Kol Hashalom has been broadcasting for the past seven years from East Jerusalem, using broadcasting equipment in Ramallah and an operating license from the Palestinian Communications Ministry. The station was established by Israeli peace activists working together with Palestinian peace activists.
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PCBS: Unemployment up to 16.8% in third quarter
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Nov — Unemployment rate in the Palestinian Territory increased from 24.0% in second quarter of 2011 to 26.8% in the third quarter, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said Monday. The PCBS labor force survey showed that the highest unemployment rate in the West Bank was in Tulkarm, while the highest in Gaza was in Rafah.
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IBSA inaugurates sports center in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 19 Nov – India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) inaugurated Saturday along with Ramallah Municipality a multipurpose new $1 million sports center in Ramallah. The project, built on property donated by the Ramallah Municipality, consists of the construction of a 2450 square meter multipurpose sports hall comprising an indoor basketball, volleyball, football, handball and tennis court. It will seat over 400 spectators for sporting events and competitions.
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Other Israeli news

Netanyahu freezes bills to limit funds for Israeli human rights groups, sources say
Haaretz 20 Nov — New legislation that would cap foreign governments’ contributions to ‘political’ NGOs, said to be stalled indefinitely; sources close to bills’ sponsors say move prompted by foreign pressure.
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Panel fails to name new justices to Israel’s Supreme Court bench
Haaretz 21 Nov — Candidate list to be reopened with room for a more diverse group of candidates, particularly those from Jewish families of Middle Eastern or North African background.
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Protest against exclusion of women from Jerusalem’s public spaces brings dance to the street
Haaretz 20 Nov — A Jerusalem dance company will join the series of protests against the exclusion of women from public spaces in the capital by removing the curtains that hide the company’s rehearsal hall from the street so passersby will be able to see the male and female dancers. The company, Kolben Dance Group, the last professional dance company left in the city, holds its rehearsals at the Gerard Bechar Center in the Nahlaot neighborhood of downtown Jerusalem, which is home to many ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox people.
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Mossad – Foreign Ministry row over
Ynet 20 Nov — During talks mediated by Netanyahu, FM Lieberman and intelligence agency chief Fredo agree to resume working relations following dispute over authority … As reported in Yedioth Ahronoth, Lieberman had ordered his office not to cooperate with Mossad over claims that the agency had overstepped its authority with regards to Israel’s foreign relations. The Foreign Ministry said Mossad has also refused to share information at its disposal despite being privy to all the information disclosed by Israeli embassies abroad.
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Analysis / Opinion

Video – Amira Hass: Israel & Palestine – Fear of the Future
21 Nov — Paul Hamel — A talk by Israeli journalist, Amira Hass on the 5th of October 2011 in the McLeod Auditorium of the Medical Sciences Building on the campus of the University of Toronto. Hosted by Canadians for Justice & Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), KAIROS, the Health Studies Program at the University of Toronto, the Near Eastern Cultural and Education Foundation (NECEF) and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-Ryerson University (SPHR).
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Lack of Palestinian voice in American media / Mousa al-Shanteer
PNN 22 Nov — Every day, we Americans wake up to the same daily routine. FOX Morning News gives us a dose of biased conservative jargon and CNN Evening News is there to conclude the day with misleading politically motivated news coverage. And unfortunately, we’re perfectly fine with the way things are.  Rarely do we stop to analyze what we hear and think about the truth behind what the American media wants us to believe. We tend to accept everything we hear as fact. Pure, unbiased, common fact. And that’s why it’s hard to blame ourselves for falling prey to the ideologies advan

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Civilization: The West and the Rest



From one of our most renowned historians, Civilization is the definitive history of Western civilization’s rise to global dominance-and the “killer applications” that made this improbable ascent possible.

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours.

Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed?

In Civilization: The West and the Rest, bestselling author Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, consumerism, modern medicine, and the work ethic. These were the “killer applications” that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.

Watch a Heated discussion on the ’1%  with Fareed Zakaria, Jeff Sachs and Niall Ferguson

YouTube – Veterans Today –

But is Ferguson spot on?

Here are some criticisms and facts about about Niall Ferguson to keep in mind whenever listening to or reading him……

  • Ferguson supported the Iraq war and isn’t necessarily opposed to future incursions in the world.

  • 2005 – Ferguson called for replacing Medicare and Medicaid with a Medical Security System that would provide health insurance vouchers to all citizens.

  • In 2007, Ferguson was appointed as an Investment Management Consultant by GLG Partners. GLG is a UK-based hedge fund management firm.

As a scholar –
Fellow academics have questioned Ferguson’s commitment to scholarship. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, an editor of The Washington Monthly, comments that “The House of Rothschild remains Ferguson’s only major work to have received prizes and wide acclaim from other historians. Research restrains sweeping, absolute claims: Rothschild is the last book Ferguson wrote for which he did original archival work, and his detailed knowledge of his subject meant that his arguments for it couldn’t be too grand.”

John Lewis Gaddis, a renowned Cold War era historian, characterized Ferguson as … being “unpersuasive”. Gaddis goes on to state that “several of Ferguson’s claims, moreover, are contradictory”….Krugman has argued that Ferguson’s view is “resurrecting 75-year old fallacies” and full of “basic errors”. He has also stated that Ferguson is a “poseur” who “…hasn’t bothered to understand the basics, relying on snide comments and surface cleverness to convey the impression of wisdom. It’s all style, no comprehension of substance.”

J. Bradford DeLong of Berkeley agreed with Krugman, concluding “Niall Ferguson does indeed know a lot less than economists knew in the 1920s”.

– This is my note (not from Wiki as above is): ironically, Ferguson ‘ceased to become an acedemic’ when he become personal with Sachs. Not that I even believe Ferguson’s premise that Sachs ‘ceased to become an acedemic’ when Sachs talked at OWS, because I do not!… Ferguson resorts to bullying/name calling tactics when arguing/debating much as Christopher Hitchens often does, even though I do like Hitchens on some issues. I will say Ferguson is right — as it is to be as a general rule — to be critical of globalization, as I’m sure Jeffrey Sachs is, as well, being director of the Earth Institute.

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Indian Military Might Is Overplayed


by Asif Haroon Raja

Basing on tangible factors of its armed forces coupled with its nuclear strength, India claims to be the strongest military power in South Asia. America has now started to authenticate its claims. India fought three wars with Pakistan out of which two ended in a stalemate and one in controversial victory. In the 1948 war in Kashmir, when the position of Indian forces became precarious owing to stiff resistance put up by ragtag Pakistani forces together with Mujahideen, Nehru beseeched the UN to intervene and affect a ceasefire. Pakistan agreed to ceasefire only when Nehru gave his pledge that he would hold a plebiscite and allow right of self determination to the Kashmiris. His pledge was a ploy to save Kashmir but Liaquat Ali Khan believed him and thus lost a chance to reclaim Kashmir.

In August 1965, when Pakistani forces launched Operation Grand Slam in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) and critical city of Akhnur was within their grasping reach, India declared all out war against Pakistan on 6 September. However, its pompous designs to humble Pakistan were effectively foiled by Pak forces. When the 17-day war ended inconclusively after India readily agreed to ceasefire, Pakistan forces had achieved superiority of strategic orientation. They were well poised to deliver the decisive blow and as such had an edge over numerically five times superior Indian military.

In the 1971 war, India used the instrument of psychological war to subvert East Pakistan, which was 1000 miles away from West Pakistan with a sea in between and surrounded by India from three sides. But for Indian military trained 2,87000 strong Bengali rebels who engaged Pakistani forces in high intensity insurgency for nine months, all out support of former Soviet Union and deleterious role of USA, Indian ten divisions together with 32 BSF battalions and Mukti Bahinis backed by massive artillery, tank, air and naval support could not have defeated the marooned force of 34000 regular troops and 11000 paramilitary forces devoid of air and armor support and cut off from rest of the world. In order to glamorize its so-called victory, Indian writers have been repeatedly mentioning false figure of 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendering to Indian forces.

Indian military was tested in 1962 when it was pitched against Chinese forces in Himalayan region and was trampled. It tried to show its prowess in Sri Lanka in 1987-88 by confronting LTTE but had to run home after bloodying its nose. The Indian sponsored LTTE was eventually eliminated by Sri Lankan forces in May 2009. In the two localized conflicts with Pakistan in Rann of Katch in April 1965 and in summer of 1999 in Dras-Kargil area, Pakistani forces had beaten Indian forces. Comparing the performance of UN missions in disturbed countries, Pakistani units have excelled and have earned the reputation of being the best among all nations in the world while Indian units do not figure out at all.

Performance of Indian security forces in combating insurgencies, separatist movements and freedom movements is also deplorable since they have not been able to smother any in spite of applying brutal force. In IHK, over 700,000 Indian forces are battling with ragtag freedom fighters since 1989. They have massacred well over 100,000 Kashmiris and have used rape, torture and guile as weapons of war but have still been unable to quell the movement. India’s lame excuse that the freedom movement was not getting quashed due to Pakistan’s support was also taken care of when Gen Musharraf allowed India to fence the Line of Control and banned all Kashmir focused Jihadi groups. Indian forces are now firing at unarmed teenagers. With such a poor track record, it is strange that the US is betting on India and preparing it as a counterweight against China.

26/11 was the biggest disaster after 9/11 since ten terrorists took the Mumbai city hostage and battled elite forces of Indian Army, coastal guards, paramilitary forces and police for 72 hours. Nine of the attackers were ultimately killed after Israeli and South African commandoes barged in, otherwise the saga could have prolonged. 166 people including the attackers died in the shootout. Complete chaos and confusion prevailed in the city during the siege and security forces were found running around helter-skelter in utter panic.

Instead of battling the terrorists, the media and political leaders trained their guns on Pakistan and held it responsible. In order to wash away the fear psychosis and to hide their embarrassment, the entire military might was deployed along Pakistan’s border and it started flexing its muscles. All this was done without having a shred of evidence against Pakistan. Instead of holding its security forces and intelligence agencies responsible for the debacle, Indian media undertook a frenzied campaign against Pakistan to malign its image and to prepare grounds to get ISI declared as a rogue outfit.

Taking advantage of widespread disorder in Mumbai city, Indian police officer Hemant Karkare was gunned down by RAW agents. He had netted the Hindu terrorist group involved in most terrorist attacks in India and had traced its linkage with Indian Army’s serving and retired officers including Lt Col Purohit. He had arrested the whole group and the case was under trial in law court. This discovery was just the tip of the ice burg. Many startling revelations would have surfaced had Karkare lived for some mort time. It was astonishing to note that all the Hindu terrorist groups in India, particularly those espousing Hindutva were patronized by Indian military intelligence, RAW and BJP. Western media is tightlipped over Hindu terrorism and extremism and rogue elements in Indian Army.

Attacks on GHQ and Mehran Base were executed by handful of terrorists but owing to swift and effective response of the security forces, the situation was brought under complete control within 18-20 hours. Some were overpowered while others were killed in action. These attacks did not disturb the routine life of Rawalpindi and Karachi nor caused any undue panic. Unlike the childish and panicky response of Indian media and its leaders, response of Pakistan leaders and media was dignified.

No finger was raised at India or any other country. Rather, Pakistani media took the ruling regime and armed forces to task and held them accountable for intelligence failure and lack of preparedness. With regard to 2 May stealth helicopters assault, it was carried out deceptively by an elite force of USA against most wanted man and not against Pakistani target. There was anger but no nervousness in Pakistan. The incident galvanized the nation to confront the American challenge, which till then was considered an ally.

India claiming to be a world power capable of taking on China and Pakistan at a time didn’t pick up courage to take part in war on terror or to spare troops for invasion of Iraq. Instead it opted for cowardly covert war against Pakistan and that too using Afghan soil. RAW claiming to be the biggest intelligence agency in the region couldn’t get hold of a single al-Qaeda operative wanted by USA. On the other hand, Pakistan was instrumental in breaking the back of al-Qaeda by arresting its over 600 leaders. Indian civil, military and intelligence persons are present in Afghanistan in very large numbers, but al-Qaeda and Taliban have hardly targeted them, giving strong reason to suspect that there is a secret alliance between them, but the US remains mum. Pakistan Army and ISI have lost over 3550 at the hands of militants but the two are still accused of their linkage with them.

There are 37 insurgencies raging in different parts of India fighting Indian security forces due to injustices and discriminatory policies of rulers. There are over 100 non-Muslim and Muslim terrorist groups in India. Restive regions provide a fertile ground to ISI to foment anarchic conditions and fragment India. How is it that the ISI has not contacted any of the anti-state group or added fuel to any of the insurgencies particularly Naxalite or Maoist insurgency which has become an existential threat to India?

Conversely, RAW is involved in Balochistan insurgency, FATA and Swat militancy, Karachi unrest, Balwaristan movement in Gilgit-Baltistan, Seraiki movement in South Punjab, and is linked with nationalist parties in rural Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is supporting TTP, Fazlullah group, BLA, BRA, BLF and is associated with militant wing of a political party. Yet it is ISI which is maligned and no finger has ever been raised against RAW.

India is least interested in al-Qaeda or Afghan Taliban and has no interest in curbing terrorism in Afghanistan. It will never ever antagonize China what to talk of going to war with it, but feels elated when it is called a bulwark against China or a world power. Its sole interest is to destabilize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan so as to become an unchallenged super power of South Asia. It is more concerned with IHK based Lashkar-e-Taiba which it projects as a bigger monster than al-Qaeda. If India is spending so much money in covert war against Pakistan, why can’t it divert part of it to fight Taliban and al-Qaeda that have become nightmares for USA and NATO, or to alleviate massive poverty and illiteracy in India?

India should be grateful to Pakistan since it is taking the brunt of terrorism for a decade and containing it. In case the terrorists succeed in gaining an edge over security forces, the natural course of their spill out is India. Since terrorism is a common threat to both India and Pakistan, it will be foolish on part of India to sink its head in sand like an ostrich and imagine that it will remain safe. Once terrorism over floods India, in no time it will get converted from India shining to India darkness. Wisdom and discretion demands India to come out of its fancy world of Mahabharata and become more levelheaded.

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Egyptian Military Power Grab


by Stephen Lendman


Last February, euphoric celebrations followed Mubarak’s ouster. Across the Middle East and North Africa, people rejoiced.

Activist Saed Karazon told AFP:

“What happened in Egypt is not only for the Egyptian people, it is for all Arabs. The whole Arab world is going to change.”

A month earlier, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia for Saudi Arabia following weeks of violent protests. A Tunis student said, “It’s wonderful. Two dictators have fallen in less than a month.”

In Cairo, Egyptians waved flags, held banners, and chanted, “Yesterday Tunisia. Today Egypt, and tomorrow Yemenis will break their chains.”

In fact, Yemeni and Bahraini “chains” brutalize street protesters daily – arresting, detaining, torturing and shooting them.

Through mid-November, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said 1,500 are imprisoned, 40 killed, 180 lawlessly sentenced by military tribunals, and 90 journalists targeted for doing their job.

On November 7, Yemen’s Jane Novak headlined, “Yemen: one thousand protesters in prison, many tortured,” saying:

The Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) said over 1,000 protesters “disappeared” incommunicado in prison.

HOOD Executive Director Abdul Rahman Barman said:

“(T)he number of imprisoned youths is on the rise, and the world must stand against the government for the sake of humanity. These youths are being tortured and attacked fiercely. Some leave government custody with their minds lost from the torture.”

Washington and key NATO partners say nothing about daily Yemeni and Bahrini atrocities, as well as others committed regularly by despotic Arab League allies.

At the same time, they rail against Syria and Iran. Wanting regime change, they replicated Libya’s model in Syrian cities. Perhaps Iran’s next. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus.

They also support Egypt’s military junta stranglehold on power, enforcing it by brute force. More on that below.

Since last winter, uprisings occurred in a dozen or more Middle East/North African countries. So far, Arab Spring hasn’t arrived. Sustained struggle continues.

At issue is jobs, decent pay, better social services, ending corruption and repression, as well as liberating democratic change in a part of the world where poverty, unemployment and despotism reflect daily life for tens of millions.

Since military junta power replaced Mubarak, thousands were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, and/or denied due process and judicial fairness in military tribunal trials.

Mubarak’s gone but nothing changed. In fact, things got worse, including extreme brutality against protesters demanding change.

Despite upcoming November parliamentary elections, democracy’s nowhere in sight. Military junta power’s entrenched under the hated emergency law, making political opposition illegal.

Thousands renewed efforts to replace it. In recent weeks, new Tahrir Square demonstrations “reclaim(ed) the revolution.” Anger rages against General Mohammed Tantawi’s led Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

People want power handed over to civilian rule. “Down with the rule of the military,” some chanted. Others said, “We are the people. We are the red line.”

Railroad worker Mohamed Abdel Azeem said, “We don’t need a guardian to tell us how to write our constitution. The army is the people’s institution, and (we) have the right to supervise it.” Still others shouted, “Down, down with military rule.”

On November 18, tens of thousands rallied on the “Friday of One Demand.” Egyptians responded to SCAF’s “supraconstitutional” principles, declaring junta power the guardian of “constitutional legitimacy.”

They give military officials final say on policy, even after civilian parliamentarians (including a junta appointed prime minister) and president are elected under a process many fear will be rigged to include only SCAF favorites, or at least a strong majority.

Liberal and conservative political groups alike, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), expressed outrage, describing what they call a power grab. MB’s Yasir Hamida said:

“My demand is that the document be cancelled. Enough. We are tired now. We thank the army, but it’s time to transfer power and let parliament start organizing a constitution and get ready for a civilian state.”

On November 18, New York Times writer David Kirkpatrick headlined, “Egypt Islamists Demand the End of Military Rule,” saying:

Anger followed “the military council spell(ing) out for the first time its intention to preserve a decisive role for itself in Egyptian politics far into the future, elevating itself above civilian control and imposing rules,” giving itself final say on policy.

According to Notre Dame Professor Emad Shahin:

“Each side is drawing a line in the sand over its future role in the political process.” Egypt’s military wants to retain power. Islamists and secularists want it checked.

Religious school teacher Mohamed Ibrahim said, “The people didn’t sacrifice hundreds of lives in the revolution so that the military would jump over their will. If they can do that, what is the point of parliamentary elections?”

On November 28, parliamentary elections will begin.  First, lower house People’s Assembly members will be chosen in three phases. The upper house Shura Council  will follow.

The manipulated process will last six months. A constitution will then be drafted, followed in 2013 by presidential elections.

The junta’s 22-article “charter of principles” preempts civilian rule. It lets newly elected parliamentarians select only 20 of the 100-member panel appointed to draft Egypt’s new constitution.

Others will be chosen by generals, junta connected judges and academic officials, and business representatives. In other words, everything will change but stay the same.

Notably, SCAF will retain power to propose and veto legislation, convene and adjourn parliament, appoint and replace the prime minister and cabinet members, keep its military budget secret, and have exclusive say on all military-related matters.

Last May, the London Guardian examined “The new Egypt: 100 days on. One article featured Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef, saying “Torture and imprisonment of Egypt protesters still rife.” At a time, people want change, they’re getting more of the same.

On November 18, Guardian writer Jack Shenker headlined, “Egyptians return to Tahrir Square to protest against military junta,” saying:

Rage was visible in Cairo, Alexandria, “as well as other towns in the Nile delta and upper Egypt.” Ten months after Mubarak’s ouster, people remain at square one, and nothing’s planned to fix things.

Providing billions of dollars in military aid, Washington says nothing about generals retaining power nor SCAF atrocities to grave to ignore.

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IsraHell Steps Up Police State Crackdowns


by Stephen Lendman

Israel never embraced democratic values. More than ever today that’s true. Many Jews understand. As a result, they’re voting with their feet and leaving.

Gideon Levy remarked that “(i)t’s really an irony of history, because Israel was established to become a shelter to the Jewish people. Now Europe becomes a shelter for the Jews living in Israel.”

So does America. New millennium exodus has a whole new meaning. Last year, Haaretz writer Bradley Burston headlined, “I envy the people who hate Israel, saying:

“….this is not the same country I moved to, so long ago. I learned when I first came that Israel was not the country I’d thought I was moving to.”

Now it’s worse than ever because “Israel at its highest level has taken an executive decision. Unable to beat the forces who want to see Israel as one of the world’s primary pariah states, it has resolved to join them” and succeeded.

With its paymaster/partner America, it’s out in front leading. Growing numbers know it, Jews and non-Jews alike. A 2008 Menachem Begin Heritage Center survey showed 59% of Israelis consider leaving by inquiring about foreign citizenship and second passports. Growing numbers hold them.

In 2005, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics said 650,000 Israelis away for over a year haven’t returned. Most were Jews.

Moreover, as greater numbers leave, most remaining are ideologically committed. Many of them are fanatics. Others are indifferent, aging, unable to leave, or aren’t sure where to go. Emigrating abroad isn’t simple. Cost is a factor. Uprooting takes a toll. So does adjusting.

Nonetheless, growing numbers leave because social injustice is official policy. So is state terror. Israel’s a regional menace, a belligerent modern-day Sparta, a rogue pariah endangering its own people like others. As a result, many Israelis fear living in the eye of the storm. Daily examples show why.

Targeting Free Expression and Silencing Dissent

On November 20, the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) headlined, “Joint Palestinian-Israeli ‘peace radio’ station shut down by Israeli authorities,” saying:

On November 19, Israel shut Palestinian-Israeli broadcaster Kol Hashalom (Whole Peace), claiming it operated without proper licensing – “despite the fact that the station broadcasts from the West Bank and is not under Israeli jurisdiction.”

Founded in 2004 by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups, it’s now closed unless efforts to resume operations succeed.

Israel’s Communications Ministry said:

“The Ministry carried out wireless supervisory activities in cooperation with the Israel Police against a pirate radio station, just as it carries them out against all other illegal stations.”

MK Deputy Speaker Danny Danon demanded the station’s shutdown. He’s one of growing numbers of Knesset hard-liners. He also advocates annexing the West Bank to punish PA officials for pursuing full UN membership.

Last summer, he invited Glenn Beck to appear before his Knesset committee and was involved in his “Restoring Courage” Jerusalem tour that spread the same kind of demagogic hate-mongering he does in America.

Shutting down Kol Hashalom is lawless. Palestine’s Communication Ministry licensed it. At issue is silencing peace advocacy. Israel won’t tolerate it. It never embraced peace and doesn’t now.

The entire process was stillborn from inception. Israel thrives on conflict. Enemies are needed to pursue it. None exist so Israel invents them. Palestinians and regional neighbors are targeted.

Kol Hashalom station manager Mossi Raz (a former MK) will appeal what he calls Israel’s lawless shutdown.

On November 19, the Palestine News & Information Agency headlined, “Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Concerned About Arrests of Journalists,” saying:

Concern was raised about more Palestinian journalist arrests in Jerusalem and the West Bank. RSF said Israel is taking “a tougher line….toward the Palestinian media.”

On November 16, Al-Quds TV presenter Isra Salhab was arrested. No explanation was given. A “closed-door” military court proceeding followed. It’s ruling was postponed several days.

On November 14, Israeli soldiers arrested Radio Marah presenter Raed Sharif in Hebron. No further information is available.

In the past week alone, Israel arrested and detained five Palestinian journalists in prison for doing their job.

On May 8, journalist Walid Khaled, editor of the Gaza-based Filisteen newspaper, was arrested and detained six months. In early November, a Salfit Israeli military court ordered a six-month extension. Earlier, he spent four years imprisoned.

The latest arrests came less than two weeks after Israeli commandos abducted five Freedom Waves to Gaza journalists, covering its mission to breach Israel’s siege and deliver humanitarian aid.

Last summer, RSF condemned Israel’s policy of arbitrarily arresting Palestinian journalists. They follow a troublesome pattern to silence dissent. It’s now more virulent than ever.

Punishing Palestinians for Being Arabs

On November 19, IMEMC headlined, “Report: ‘Palestinian Village Condemned To Live in Darkness,” saying:

After Amenzil village had solar panels installed, its residents had electricity for the first time. Nonetheless, “Israel issued a military injunction” to remove them.

Cooperatively with Nablus-based An-Najah University, the Spanish NGO Seeba installed them. Villagers finally enjoyed what most people take for granted. Israel claims construction permits weren’t issued.

Located in Area C, construction in all forms is subject to Civil Administration Authority approval. Israeli military commanders have final say. Several Israeli NGOs and the UN want the ruling voided. Spain’s using diplomatic channels to help.

Village council head Ali Hreizat said:

“(T)hese solar panels were the ray of hope to residents. We have been living here since 1948, and have nowhere to go.”

Amenzil is one of many so-called unrecognized villages. Israel denies them basic services, including electricity, water, roads, transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service, refuse removal and more because under its Planning and Construction Law their illegal even though Bedouin Arabs are Israeli citizens.

They’re internal refugees, forced from their homes during Israel’s “War of Independence” and prevented from returning. They’re also repressively mistreated, including by dubious zoning restrictions, prohibiting construction, agriculture, and other legal rights.

Moreover, many villages are destroyed, their residents displaced to make way for Jewish only development.

A Spanish official in charge of the solar panel installation said permission was requested to proceed. Israeli authorities never responded. The Israeli Civil Administration said Seeba may appeal, but “refused to present its case in front of the Appeals Committee.”

However, Israel’s military authority may reconsider the ruling, saying approvals “must be directed through legal channels.”

Given Israeli repression and protracted bureaucratic process, most likely months or years of trying will end up fruitless.

Hints of Possible War

Ahead expect Israel’s appetite for conflict perhaps to be satisfied. Attacking Iran repeatedly is suggested. In mid-November, Israeli Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz told a Knesset committee about possible “offensive action” if Gaza rocket fire continues.

In fact, Gazans respond defensively to repeated Israeli attacks and provocations. Inverting truth, Israel calls it terrorism. Israeli media suggested a possible major offensive. Perhaps Cast Lead II is planned. Israel’s been itching for more war. It could happen anytime.

Targeting Human Rights Groups

In response to Israel’s Knesset attempts to silence dissent, limit free expression, and wage war on civil society organizations, B’Tselem published a joint statement issued by 19 of them affected.

B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights/Israel, Adalah, Yesh Din, Rabbis for Human Rights, and others expressed solidarity with activists and organizations “subjected to threats and acts of violence” by a state claiming to be democratic. “These acts are intended to intimidate us all and silence our voices.”

Authorities committing daily repression won’t “refrain from inflicting bodily, even life-threatening harm on Palestinians and Israelis whose views and actions they consider objectionable.”

In fact, doing so is longstanding official policy. Today, it’s more ruthless and unrestrained than ever.

Democrats, anti-war activists, social justice advocates, and civil libertarians have no place in Israeli society.

No wonder so many Jews vote with their feet and leave.

Posted in Human RightsComments Off on IsraHell Steps Up Police State Crackdowns

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


U.S. teargas in Tahrir– headline. U.S. teargas in Palestine–circular file

Nov 20, 2011

 Philip Weiss


U.S.-made teargas canisters, Tahrir Square, Nov. 20, by Maggie Osama


Tahrir, Nov. 20, KuwaitNews

Egyptian forces have used U.S.-made teargas against peaceful protesters–CSI gas, made by Combined Systems Inc., in the U.S. These photos show as much, and Salon reports: “Egypt uses U.S. teargas on pro-democracy crowds…By Avi Asher-Schapiro”:

This is not the first time CSI ‘s products have been used against Egyptian citizens.  During Egypt’s January revolution,  CSI tear gas was employed by the Mubarak regime against demonstrators in Tahrir Square.

Once again, a mainstream reporter fails to connect repression in one part of the Middle Eastw/repression of Palestinians.

Adalah-NY documented Israel’s use of CSI gas in Palestine against peaceful protesters,specifically in Bil’in, with lethal consequences. And it showed that CSI’s HQ in Jamestown, PAflies an Israeli flag. Adalah also connected its use in Palestine to Egypt and Tunisia, in this op-ed piece and in this press release.

Activists and lawyers: House bill to investigate ‘terrorist’ ties of flotilla is ‘tool of intimidation’

Nov 20, 2011

Alex Kane

us boat gaza

(Photo: US Boat to Gaza)

Palestine solidarity activists and human rights lawyers are decrying a Congressional bill that would investigate whether organizations involved in last summer’s thwarted flotilla to Gaza should be designated as “terrorist” groups. Critics of the House of Representatives bill see it as the latest in a decades-long effort to intimidate Palestine solidarity activists in the United States.

Introduced to the House on October 6, the bill seeks to:

direct the Secretary of State to submit a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization

The legislation also demands that the State Department, in the same document, report on

Any actions taken by the Department of State to express support and gratitude for the principled stance taken by the Government of Greece to prevent the recent Gaza flotilla attempt to violate Israel’s lawful blockade of Gaza.

“It’s a tool of intimidation,” said Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who is involved with efforts to hold Israel accountable for flotilla-related human rights abuses. “It’s just one of the many ways in which there is an effort to suppress advocacy and dissent by international solidarity activists trying to advocate for Palestinian human rights.”

The bill is the first piece of legislation to target activists involved in the flotillas to Gaza aiming to break the blockade.  But it is hardly the first time the U.S. government at large has threatened to bring legal action against activists involved with sending boats to Gaza. As the second Freedom Flotilla tried (and failed) to depart from Greece and head to Gaza by sea, theObama administration repeatedly threatened to prosecute American activists involved by using the prohibition on “material support” to terrorists law. This was despite the fact that the cargo on the U.S. boat going to Gaza–3,000 letters addressed to the people of Gaza–was carefully chosen to avoid running afoul of the material support law.

Leading the charge to target groups like the US Boat to Gaza, which organized the American flagged Audacity of Hope, is Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In a statement posted to his website, Bilirakis explained:

Israel has been the victim of over 10,000 rockets launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza. The United Nations agrees that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza is legal and in accordance with international law. Any illegal attempts to provide aid and comfort to these bad actors must be investigated.

Bilirakis was one of 81 elected officials to visit Israel on an ethically-questionable trip paid for by an AIPAC-connected group last summer. In total, there are 15 co-sponsors to the bill, which is currently in the House committees on foreign affairs and the judiciary. At least 3 of the 15–Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Michael Grimm and Peter Roskam–also went on the AIPAC-connected trip. Phone calls to and messages left at the Bilirakis office, as well as calls made to co-sponsor Rep. Eliot Engel’s office, were not returned.

The Congressional members certainly didn’t learn facts on the trip to Israel. Their bill is laden with errors, as the Electronic Intifada‘s Ali Abunimah, who first reported on the bill, points out. The bill claims, among other falsehoods, that the Turkish organization IHH and the international Free Gaza Movement have been designated “terrorist” organizations by the CIA and the Department of Treasury. Abunimah writes:

The bill provides no evidence to back up these sensational and propagandistic claims. IHH is in fact not designated as a “terrorist” organization by any US government agencies. The claims in the bill are not based on US government or intelligence reports, but appear to come directly from unsubstantiated claims published by an Israeli propaganda and advocacy outfit calling itself the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. This group is closely connected with Israel’s military and intelligence establishments, the main sources for sometimes laughable anti-flotilla incitement and propaganda.

MJ Rosenberg, a blogger and former AIPAC staff member who is now highly critical of the group, explained in an e-mail to Mondoweiss that this bill was most likely written by the powerful Israel lobby group.  Rosenberg said:

I worked on Capitol Hill from 1975 through 1982 and again from 1986-1995. Plus, I worked at AIPAC from 1982-1986. In my experience every piece of legislation originating from Members of Congress that relate to Israel and/or Palestine are drafted by AIPAC and then handed out to favored members to call their own…In particular, any bill originating from a member of the House Foreign Affars Committee (which is packed with AIPAC cutouts) originates with and is drafted by AIPAC.

CCR lawyer LaHood said that Congress was hypocritical to introduce this bill when they have ignored Israel’s killing of U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, who was shot at point-blank range on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship during the 2010 Israeli Navy raid on the flotilla.

“Their focus is on whether human rights defenders should be labeled terrorists, rather than trying to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations,” said LaHood.

In an phone interview, Felice Gelman, an organizer with the US Boat to Gaza, also denounced the bill.

“This is just an effort to silence people who are trying to act in good conscience for justice,” said Gelman. “It’s all part and parcel of the willingness of people in Congress to support attacks on civilians.”

Bachmann comes to Manhattan for Zionist org’s Brandeis dinner

Nov 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

michele 1

Michele Bachmann

Zionist politics makes for such strange bedfellows. Michele Bachmann, the rightwing Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate, will be addressing the Zionist Organization of America in New York tonight, alongside Glenn Beck and Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s that all-important NY primary… And the new rightwing coalition across religious lines– Ileana Ros-Lehtinen too. Louis Brandeis after whom the dinner is named is rolling in his grave. Press release:

Urbandale, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann will address the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) at the 114th Anniversary Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner on Sunday, Nov. 20. During her speech, Bachmann will stress the significance of the U.S.-Israel relationship while advocating for stronger measures to prevent a nuclear Iran.

The ZOA is the United States’ oldest pro-Israel organization, and has worked to educate Americans about the importance of strong U.S.-Israel ties. Keynote speakers include Glenn Beck and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the dinner by video.

The following event, which occurs in Eastern Time, is open to credentialed media: Sunday, November 20, 2011

ZOA 114th Anniversary Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner 6:00 pm

Grand Hyatt New York 109 East 42nd Street at Grand Central Terminal New York, NY

‘In Hebron I felt that God had abandoned earth’

Nov 20, 2011


Some religious zealots, including the rightwing member of the Knesset, Danny Danon who addressed the crowd in Hebron yesterday, believe passages from Hayei Sarah establish Israel’s historical title to Hebron. At a time when radical religious extremism seems to threaten all hope of finding peace and resolution in Palestine and Israel, I find it difficult to express how moved I am to hear deeply religious voices who work tirelessly for peace. It is probably because I am a secular person that it took me a long time to really listen to religious voices in the activist community. That changed when I attended a Sabeel conference last year. Yesterday I visited +972 and clicked on a link that made me weep. Called WATCH: Alternative Jewish interpretations seek to counter settler takeover of Hebron, this is about Project Hayei Sarah.

Ben Murane:

“It’s supposed to be a holy city… a city given as a reward for truthfulness. And it’s because Hebron is supposed to be such a holy place that I am so disappointed… How does one behave in a holy place? In holy places we speak quietly, respectfully…

“[But] today there are few pilgrims in Hebron… Some 20 percent of it is under full curfew and military patrol… It’s a ghost town. The only layers of history there seem dry and ugly, just dust swirling in empty marketplaces.”

In a truly holy place, “witnesses are inspired to holiness themselves…. In Hebron I felt that God had abandoned earth.”

All people of faith who work tirelessly to heal the Holy Land have my thanks today. And thank you Mairav Zonszein for bringing these videos to my attention, and Breaking the Silence for offering tours of Hebron that open people’s hearts and minds.

Also, here is Rabbi Jill Jacobs’  impassioned plea for justice:

A group of Jews stands in a small park. Across from us two Palestinian children are playing soccer in the street. The ball rolls into the park. A member of our group kicks it back. ‘That’s lucky fur the children, the park is off limit to Palestinians…’ A row of closed storefronts stands where the lively Palestinian market used to be. The graffiti on the metal doors proclaims ‘death to Arabs’, and warns Palestinians that ‘the death chamber awaits’. Bizarrely, one mural shows a smiling Haredi man saying ‘keep smiling’…what a contrast to the Hebron of the torah. There, the city is  a place of compassion, a place where people of different families, tribes and backgrounds come together…it is a place where Abraham introduces himself as a  stranger, a resident alien, and who is welcomed by the residents of the city…a place where Abraham’s estranged sons, Isaac and Ishmael, come together to bury and to mourn for their father….Today, Hebron is just one extreme symptom of the broad systemic violations of human rights that are required to maintain Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is also a city that to both Jewish and Muslim traditions was once a shining example of human coexistence.  This week, as we read Parsha Havei Sarah, the story of Sarah’s burial in the city of Hebron, I hope and pray that we can all do our part to make Hebron once again a city of compassion, friendship, and coexistence.

Today, the sons of Isaac and the sons of Ishmael, recognized by all monotheisms as the Jews and the Muslims, respectively, still come together to mourn their father in Hebron. Housed within a half-mosque, half-synagogue compound, Abraham’s Tomb sits in a circular vault, surrounded by a synagogue window on one side and a mosque window on the other. Gazing through each of their windows at the tomb of their father, the two faiths awkwardly look at each other out of the corner of their eye, through a narrow, slanted, indirect, sidelong, askew line of sight. “How sweet and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

Even Goldberg acknowledges that a Jew can vote for the government while his Palestinian neighbor cannot

Nov 20, 2011

Philip Weiss


Have you noticed that all criticism of Israel on the part of our political leaders is now boiled down to the phrase, “The status quo is unsustainable.” Obama used to talk about the occupation. Now this vague “unsustainable” phrase overcomes Jim Crow, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, evictions, nonviolent resistance, the entire scene of Palestinian dispossession.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s review in the New York Times Book Review of Gershom Gorenberg’s new book, The Unmaking of Israel struggles through the talking points and ends with a similar openended vagueness.

On a recent visit to the West Bank city of Hebron, I met with a Palestinian resident who recently passed through Israel’s military justice system. His rights in this system were limited. This particular Palestinian lives on a street that he shares with Jewish settlers. The settlers, unlike the Palestinians, are full citizens of Israel; they can vote for their leaders, and have open access to the Israeli civilian judicial system. The Palestinians who live side by side with them are not allowed a say in choosing the government that rules over them. Gorenberg’s book makes clear that this is a situation that cannot go on forever.

I applaud Goldberg’s incisiveness about an unjust situation. But wait, hasn’t this been clear for a long time? Not just for “this particular Palestinian.” But for millions living alongside 500,000 Jewish settlers. And how long is forever? And how are Palestinians supposed to respond to this “forever,” which so far has lasted, with western aegis, since 1920 or so, even as the west upholds the right of self-determination?

I like this too:

“Most of Ofra [settlement] was built ‘with no legal basis’ on land privately owned by Palestinians.” Gorenberg notes that the settlers would not have succeeded had they not had the support of politicians like Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

How did it happen that a country of laws — Israel’s Supreme Court justices are renowned around the globe — came to be so lawless in one corner of the territory it ruled?

Settlers and supporters descend on Hebron to assert Jewish sovereignty

Nov 20, 2011

Ben Lorber and Alistair George


Settlers and supporters celebrate in front of shuttered Palestinian stores in Hebron’s Old City (with protection from the Israeli military). (Photo: Alistair George)

“So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites.” –Genesis 23:17-20

Over 1,000 American and international Zionists joined 700 extremist settlers in Hebron this weekend to celebrate the reading of this Torah portion detailing Abraham’s biblical purchase of Hebron land, as a means to assert sovereignty over the Palestinian residents of Hebron.


Settlers march in Hebron’s Old City (Photo: Alistair George)

On Friday, many Zionist visitors camped in tents on Israeli-controlled Shuhada Street. Inebriated from the Shabbat festivities, the visitors harassed local Palestinians throughout the night. On Saturday, soldiers stationed themselves through the streets of Hebron’s Old City, forcing the shutdown of Palestinian shops, while swarms of visitors were treated to an extensive settler-guided tour championing the Jewish roots of Old Hebron. In what was advertised by the Hebron Committee as “the most unforgettable Jewish experience of a lifetime”,  throngs of young, mostly American males clapped and chanted ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ (‘life to the people of Israel’) and other nationalistic chants, while  Palestinian residents were forced to the sidelines of their own streets and kept there by soldiers. Throughout the day, 7 international activists and 2 Palestinians were arrested.


Damage in a Palestinian store (Photo: Alistair George)

While a few visitors were respectful to Palestinian shop owners and residents, many were outright hostile. Mohammed Awawdeah owns a small shop in the old city, selling glass bottles filled with intricate colored sand patterns. Some of his bottles were smashed by a passing settler. “He came and broke my stuff,” Awawdeah says. “I told the police but they are not here for us, they are here for the settlers…I am not even angry for my stuff, I’m angry at the soldiers who let them do this”. The Israeli police have taken the details of the incident and said that they intend to carry out an investigation.

Hamday Dwaik decided to close his bakery in the old city, since his shop was targeted by settlers during the event last year. “The settlers don’t want me to open. If I open they will throw my products on the ground, no one will buy it”.


The Israeli military provided an escort for the settler march
(Photo: Alistair George)

Laila Slemiah, who works in Women In Hebron, a woman’s collective in the old city selling kiffiyehs and embroidery, was determined not to close her shop. “I know I won’t have any business today,” she said, “but I have to stay open. I’m not scared of them.”

Clashes were also reported between visiting Americans and international activists. One activist relates that “as we were walking, a group of young American Jewish boys got into an argument with us. They became threatening towards us, and one of them had an M16 around his waist. They told us they would break our camera, they told the nearby Palestinian shop owner they would burn down his shop, they told me I would be dead on the floor…”

As this event is touted by the Zionist community as a Biblically-ordained ‘return to the homeland’, an organization called Project Hayei Sarah has been founded in the U.S. and Israel, offering alternative interpretations of Abraham’s Biblical relationship to Hebron that challenge the attempted Zionist appropriation of this legend to legitimize territorial conquest. [It iscovered by Annie, in this accompanying post.]

Unprecedented Minneapolis forum of 4 Jews arguing about Israel is on-line now

Nov 20, 2011

Philip Weiss

A few weeks ago Sylvia Schwarz of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network did a post on a landmark event, a discussion about Israel/Palestine in Minneapolis among four Jews, including two from Establishment organizations. Well here’s the video, online at last, and in front of stained-glass windows, no less. Schwarz: “Can I thank the co-producers of the show for their hard work and mentoring?  Karen Redleaf and Eric Angell.” Part I is below. Can’t wait to hear it.

Activists disrupt Donald Rumsfeld speaking event in Plano, Texas

Nov 20, 2011


Disrupting Donald Rumsfeld

On the evening of November 18th I was slated to take part in a protest; the event was organized in response to Donald Rumsfeld’s book-talk in Plano, Texas at a local college campus and was established in a matter of days on short notice. Hours before the talk was set to begin I was emailed by local activists who were interested in coordinating a mic-check disruption during Donald Rumsfeld’s talk; the idea being that we would echo a series of facts describing Rumsfeld’s role in the non-existent weapons of mass destruction propaganda, the push for the occupation of Iraq which therein resulted in over 1M Iraqi deaths. Our aim was to call for a citizen’s arrest and for Mr.Rumsfeld to be held accountable for his role in a laundry-list of war-crimes against the people of Iraq (eg. On September 15, 2001, in a meeting at Camp David, Rumsfeld suggested an attack on Iraq because he was deeply worried about the availability of “good targets in Afghanistan.”) Rumsfeld not only supported the occupation of Iraq, he also sanctioned the use of torture and cruel, inhuman treatment, all of which breach the Geneva Conventions, and thus constitute war crimes. Bear in mind also that this is Fallujah Week.  Read more here.

And now more news from Today in Palestine…

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Imneizil demolitions: “Hanging between the ground and the sky”

The solar panels in the village  of Imneizil, near Hebron, became effective almost two years ago,  improved the living conditions for about four hundred inhabitants in the village, but recently  residents learned that the Israeli army issued a demolition order for the solar power installations. “When the electricity came, we could have light at night. So right now, we could sit with our friends in the night, and we can see each other,” said  25-year-old Nihad who has seen her life change since electricity become available in Imneizil. She talks about how the school now has access to computers and printers, and how radio and TV have connected the village to the rest of the world. Now they have washing machines, and refrigerators that make it possible to store food.

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RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — UNESCO could help restore the Palestinian Authority’s cultural presence in Jerusalem, the president of the Palestinian Committee for Education Culture and Science, Yahya Yakhlaf, said last week in Ramallah. But Yakhlaf, who used to be Minister of Culture and is a well known Palestinian novelist, stressed that Palestinian ambitions within UNESCO would remain merely cultural. “But we can achieve political goals through cultural means,” he added.

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Report: “Palestinian Village Condemned To Live In Darkness”

After the “Seeba” Spanish organization managed to install Solar Panels at a Palestinian village in the West Bank, known as Amenzil, and for the first time its residents managed to have electricity, Israel issued a military injunction ordering the residents to remove the Panels.

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Study: “Palestinian Businessmen Invested $2.5 B. In Settlements, Israel, In 2010”

An academic study conducted by a Palestinian researcher from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, revealed that the amount of investments by Palestinian businessmen men, in Israeli settlements, and in Israel itself, in 2010, mounts to $2.5 Billion.

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In addition to simply expanding illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, the Israeli government is ousting peaceful civil society institutions, apparently as part of a “Judiazation project in occupied Jerusalem,” as Rashad Shtayyeh, the activities coordinator at the Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem told Electronic Intifada.

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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem – Life on the Checkpoints

A few days ago, I posted a description of my recent visit to Jerusalem, and I was accused of anti-semitism by one irate reader. I guess that’s an occupational hazard whenever you write about Israel in anything other than glowing terms, although I did take the trouble to mention the things I admire about the country as well as some downsides.  My sister – who recently visited Palestine and wrote to UK Prime Minister David Cameron protesting about the treatment of villagers in the occupied territories by the settlers – sent me an interesting link to an Israeli site the other is run by a group of female Israeli activists who send daily reports from the numerous checkpoints between Israel and Palestine.

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The definition of chutzpah: Jerusalem mosque expanding illegally

Municipality fails to stop construction at Mount of Olives mosque despite evidence it has expanded to State-owned land. ‘PM’s Office much stricter when it comes to Jewish construction,’ Public Complaints Bureau chief says.

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Israeli Violence / Aggression / Provocations 

More than fifty settlers at midnight Thursday stormed the villages of Aqraba and Awdla, to the south east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and wreaked havoc in both villages.

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In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, seven activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were arrested documenting a citywide march by hundreds of Israeli settlers who inhabit the small, illegal settlement inside the old city.
Suspect in Peace Now Price Tag Attacks Arrested, Confesses; Court Grants Family Gag on Reporting His Identity, Richard Silverstein

Israeli media are reporting (Hebrew) that the police have arrested a suspect in the Peace Now price tag attacks and death threats against Hagit Ofran.  The suspect has confessed to his role in phoning bomb threats to the Peace Now office and vandalizing Ofran’s apartment building with graffiti wishing her dead.  But the family has secured a gag preventing identification of the suspect.  When he appeared in court, the father, who is a “senior civil servant” according to Haaretz, threatened the reporters and photographers there with jail if they published anything.  He then secured a gag from the court likely with the help of the suspect’s mother, who is a senior police official.

Political Detainees / Other Prisoner News
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces have closed down a workshop used to forge documents in a village near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, officials said Thursday. Authorities believe the lab was being used to forge documents in Aqraba village, said Luba Sumari, an Israeli police spokeswoman. Israel’s Shin Bet general security service assisted police in the investigation.

Relatives of a captive from Gaza told that he is suffering cancer
Israeli occupation authorities informed the family of Palestinian captive Hazem Miqdad from the Gaza Strip that their son suffers from cancer of the liver.

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Prisoner given wrong injection moved to hospital
Palestinian prisoner Riyadh Al-Amor, 42, was given wrong injection at the Ramle prison hospital that worsened his health condition, human rights sources said on Saturday.

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Nael al-Barghouthi, the veteran Palestinian prisoner freed in the recent prisoner exchange deal, has married fellow ex-detainee Iman Nafi’ in a ceremony held on Tuesday evening. At the head of a large procession, Mr al-Barghouthi made his way to the bride’s family home in the village of Na’lin where the marriage ceremony took place. The joyous occasion was attended by both families and friends of the bride and groom, including a number of other freed prisoners. The formal proposal was made by ex-prisoner Walid Hudli on behalf of al-Barghouthi; the bride’s family proudly announced their acceptance.

“Most students are from very poor families. We have a lot of children like this; it comes from living in poverty, under bombardment, with a lack of medicine. Children lose their hearing as a result of untreated illnesses. These children, especially the girls, find themselves written off. There’s no education or jobs for them. But our school provides training, and an opportunity for social contacts and life prospects. Just look at their faces!”

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Israel-Gaza tensions: Pilot program to expand Gaza exports falters

Israel promised earlier this year to allow Gaza to export garments and furniture after a five-year blockade. But delays are damaging sales – and hope.

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MADRID, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) –Real Madrid football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, donated the proceedings from the sale of his sport shoes to the Real Madrid Charity Foundation to support Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, the Arabic site of the Real ‘Classico’ network said Saturday. It said that Ronaldo has given away his sport shoes to the foundation, which will sell it in a public auction and will contribute the money to support Palestinian children schools in Gaza. The network said that the auction started at 700 euros before Ronaldo’s shoes were finally sold for 2400 euros.

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Solidarity / Activism / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Op-Ed in The Tennessean Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian Activists
The story of Palestinian nonviolent resistance is one that is rarely told in mainstream US media. On Tuesday, Nashville’s largest daily newspaper, The Tennessean, published an op-ed, “Two roads to justice meet in Palestine,” by Nour Joudah. Joudah’s op-ed brings attention to the Palestinian Freedom Riders and gives voice to the struggle of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. She highlights the similarities of Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israeli apartheid with the stories she heard growing up in Tennessee about African-Americans’ nonviolent protests throughout the Jim Crow South. For Joudah, the common theme tying these struggles together is the brave men and women who stand in defiance of gross discrimination and injustice. She ends her piece with a call to action, “To those who stood against injustice in the 1960s and who are proud of that moment in history, the time has come to raise your voices again, to demand justice for Palestinians. The ride to freedom is long and ever-evolving. But it is a ride that knows no geographical boundaries — whether in the Jim Crow South or Occupied Palestine.”

Al-Azhar to announce “al-Quds Document” sunday

A statement by Al-Azhar said that Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyeb will announce on Sunday “The Quds Document” which has been coordinated with the popular campaign against Judaization of Jerusalem.

Lebanese concert promoter Jihad el-Murr has filed a lawsuit against four groups over a boycott campaign they organized against the band Placebo in June 2010.
Restriction of Media
PARIS, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) – The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders Saturday expressed concern over what it described as a new round of Israeli arrests of Palestinian journalists in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the past few days. It said in a press release that the arrests suggest that “a tougher line is being taken towards the Palestinian media.”

National Press Club suspends journalist for asking Saudi prince a tough question, Ali Abunimah
Journalist Sam Husseini asks a Saudi prince a tough question and gets booted out of the National Press Club, showing the limits of what the “free” media are allowed to do in Washington.

While there are myriad stories recounting the assault against democracy in Israel, none is more important evident than the emasculation of the Israeli press.  While it has always been subject to censorship on matters related to national security, the pressure against honest, courageous reporting has mounted to alarming proportions.  In this light, one of Israel’s best known reporters with a decidedly right-wing (but anti-Bibi) slant, Ben Caspit, wrote this in today’s column:
Political Developments / Diplomacy
Hamas PM adviser states that Hamas will support Palestinian efforts to receive UN recognition; says goal of all Palestinian factions is a state on 1967 borders with capital in Jerusalem.

PA must end security coordination with Israel now
The PA should immediately revoke the scandalous Economic Protocol of Paris which made the very lifeline of the Palestinian economy subject to Israel’s whims and haphazard, sadistic fantasies.

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US threatens to cut off aid to PA if national reconciliation materialises
Zionist news sources said that the US administration sent a secret message to Ramallah which says that any plans to achieve unity with Hamas in the Gaza Strip means the immediate freezing of US funds.
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CAIRO, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) – On the eve of a meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal in Cairo, France expressed support for Palestinian reconciliation, the Egyptian Middle East News Agency reported late Friday. It quoted French foreign ministry spokesman, Bernard Valero, as saying that his country always encourages unity between the Palestinians and cooperation among them. He said France constantly encourages Palestinians to be united, stressing that reconciliation in the interest of the Palestinian people.

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ROCKLAND, Maine (Ma’an) — The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah showed inflexibility over Israel’s settlement program and will have to make compromises for the sake of peace, the Obama administration’s former Mideast envoy has said. George Mitchell, who resigned in May as US President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, said Tuesday at the University of Maine that the Palestinian side placed too much emphasis on settlements.
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Other Palestine News
BETHLEHEM, November 19, 2011 (WAFA) – Yhe United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) awarded Palestine the Vettor Giusti best tourism posters award, the Ministry of Tourism said Saturday. UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai announced during the organization’s general assembly meeting that the winning poster went to the Palestinian tourism ministry’s poster on Jericho, which said “Jericho: City of the Moon – 10.000 years of Civilization.”
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Other Mideast News

11 Iraqis Killed On Prayer Day
At least 11 Iraqis were killed in the latest violence. Another 23 were wounded as well. Demonstrations for and against granting region status to more areas in Iraq took place in Samarra and Baghdad. Also, the fate of Camp Ashraf residents could soon be decided.

US Military Denies Shooting Iraqi Civilians; 12 Dead Across Iraq
Overall, at least 12 Iraqis were killed and 24 more were wounded in the latest reports of violence. However, U.S. military officials are denying one incident in which witnesses claim that U.S. soldiers fired on civilians in Yusufiya. In political news, one lawmaker came out in support of semi-autonomy for Basra, while the vice president denounced plans to expand Iraq’s prison system.

Bahrain: Teen killed when police car hit oil slick (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities said Saturday a police vehicle skidded on an oil slick poured by anti-government protesters, killing a teenage demonstrator.

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Thousands rally in Bahrain against island’s rulers (AP)

AP – Thousands of Shiite-led protesters calling for greater rights have streamed into an area outside the capital Manama.

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Cairo protests spread to cities of Alexandria, Aswan and Suez, leaving at least two demonstrators dead.

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Saif al-Islam captured in Libya’s south 
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, captured after three months on the run, he was disguised as a Tuareq hiding within the Tuareg near Ubari. He was reportedly scared and down to his last few thousand dollars in cash when he was detained in Libya’s southern desert. It has emerged that revolutionary forces from the town of Zintan had been pursuing his trail for some days, and finally caught up with his convoy at around 4am local time, Saturday. Gaddafi was then taken by air back to Zintan, pending transfer to Tripoli. Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught reports.

U.S. Group Offered to Aid Qaddafi, Documents Show

Confidential documents show how a colorful partnership of Americans saw lucrative possibilities in the power struggle that would end Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s erratic reign.

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Palestinian rights group ‘fact-finding’ in Libya

A Palestinian human rights group opened a fact-finding mission in Libya on Thursday, tasked with investigating abuses by the country’s late leader Moammar Gadhafi, the new Libyan government and NATO forces operating in the country.

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Kuwait’s ruler orders ‘stricter’ security

Sheikh Sabah denounces protests as a threat to “security and stability” after brief storming of parliament chamber.

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UAE: Activists Planning Hunger Strike

Five activists jailed seven months ago for “publicly insulting” United Arab Emirates officials plan to begin a hunger strike on November 13, 2011. The activists said the hunger strike will continue until authorities release them unconditionally and end all judicial proceedings against them. (Abu Dhabi) – Five activists jailed seven months ago for “publicly insulting” United Arab Emirates officials plan to begin a hunger strike on November 13, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The activists said the hunger strike will continue until authorities release them unconditionally and end all judicial proceedings against them.

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Western Zionist “quietly talking” to Syrian opposition


For the past several months Canada has been quietly speaking with pro-Zionist  Syria’s opposition, the Vancouver Sun reported earlier this week.

“We have right now a very good relationship with the Canadian government,” Syrian National Council member pro-Zionist Osama Kadi told the Canadian newspaper Thursday. “We have met with the minister of foreign affairs many times and he has showed a very positive attitude toward the Syrian National Council.”

This has been going on at least since August, when Canada’s Ambassador to Turkey Mark Bailey hosted a reception for SNC members to introduce them to representatives from European missions, said Kadi, who is also president of the Syrian Canadian Council.

“They were so positive to us,” Kadi said from his current residence in London, Ontario. “Many ambassadors were there and they had some questions and we briefed them on what’s going on.”

An official with Canadian Foreign minister John Baird’s office said Canada has “opened our doors in Ankara to the SNC.”

The official added that “Canada stands with the Syrian people in their efforts to secure freedom and democracy.”

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Nawaz Sharif–Zardari selling out Pakistan’s sovereignty



FAISALABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-N President Nawaz Sharif Sunday accusing President Asif Ali Zardari of selling out country’s sovereignty, said the present regime wanted to put Pakistan’s army under the US control.

In his address to a public meeting at Dhobi Ghat where PML-N supporters turned up in a huge number, Nawaz Sharif said: “The letter written and sent to Mike Mullen with the help of Pakistan Ambassador in US Hussain Haqqani, sought to put Pakistan army under the US control”.

He reiterated the call for launching an investigation into the memogate scandal within a couple of days.

The PML-N President warned that the inquiry be completed within 9 days or else his party would approach the Supreme Court.

“We won’t be part such assemblies where the government refuses to listen to our concerns,” Nawaz Sharif said.

He asked as to what kind of government it was whose knees trembled when the US executed an armed operation in Abbottabad.

Expressing shock on the President and Prime Minister’s response, he said President Zardari in an article appeared in a US newspaper was all praise for the attack while the PM called it a ‘great victory’.

Talking about his rule in late 90′s, Nawaz Sharif said he responded to India’s five nuclear blasts with six in Pakistan. “The green passport earned a great honor that day.”

Nawaz said just one phone call from the US sucked all air from President Pervez Musharraf whereas he had been contacted five times by the then US president but he stood firm to his ground.

He said it was his firm stance that made Pakistan a nuclear state.

“Can anyone muster that much courage today?” he challenged.

Nawaz Sharif also criticized Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan, saying the latter wanted the Kashmir issue to be put on a back burner. “We cannot put Kashmir on a back burner, because this issue is linked to Pakistan’s sovereignty,” he asserted.

He regretted that the country was facing unprecedented corruption today, saying he had have never seen so much corruption in his entire life.

Nawaz Sharif claimed that the country was on a path of progress during his previous rule but the journey was not allowed to be completed.

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