Archive | December 16th, 2011

Newt Gingrich’s Brilliant Insight about Palestinians


by John Spritzler

U.S. presidential aspirant, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently declared that Palestinians are an “invented” people. This is a brilliant insight that lays the basis, finally, for a real solution to the Middle East conflict. Gingrich simply noted the well-known facts that Palestine, though referred to in old maps, was once part of the Ottoman Empire but not a separate nation, that after WWI and the end of the Ottoman Empire Palestine became merely “Mandate Palestine” under British rule and still not a formally separate and independent nation, and that so-called Palestinians speak Arabic, not Palestinianese, which means they are part of the Arab-speaking people (Arabs), who liv in many nations and certainly do not need one more named “Palestine”; thus there is no nation of Palestine and hence no “Palestinian” people.


The solution to the Middle East conflict lies in applying Gingrich’s brilliant insight to New Englanders inside the United States. Is New England a nation? Of course not. It never was. The phrase “New England” is just an invention, an informal way of referring to those Americans who happen to live in the so-called “New England” states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Just as “Palestinians” were merely subjects of the Ottoman Empire and never a real people called “Palestinians,” New Englanders are really just Americans and were never a real people called “New Englanders.” So-called “Palestinians” don’t speak “Palestinianese”; they speak Arabic, like all other Arabs. Likewise so-called “New Englanders” don’t speak “New Englandese”; they speak English, like virtually all other Americans.

What this means is that we can solve the Middle East conflict by doing successfully in New England what was attempted unsuccessfully in Palestine, in other words move Israel from Palestine (where it only creates trouble) to New England, and move most of the non-Jewish “New Englanders” out of the newly created Israel and let them live in America, with all the rest of their fellow Americans. Since “New Englanders” are just an invented people, they have no grounds for objecting to this.

We can create a Jewish state in New England that will enjoy real security because this time the neighbors of the relocated Israel will be Americans, who are not anti-Semitic.

Fortunately, we can pretty much predict how this plan will work out because we have the experience of the attempt to do it in Palestine to learn from. The first thing to do is, as in 1947 in Palestine, have the United Nations declare that New England is a Jewish state, and have Jews in New England declare that region to be the Jewish state of Israel, the state of the Jewish people (only), and a state in which the sovereign authority is “the Jewish people” rather than all the people who are citizens of the state. The wording for this declaration can be taken right from the current Declaration of the State of Israel written in 1948.

The UN resolution should, of course, say that non-Jews in N.E. are allowed to remain there and be citizens of Israel. They will not, however, enjoy equal status with Jews under the law, and will have to accept the fact that they will be living in a state that does not even purport to represent them or their well-being, because they are not Jewish.

Of course, some of the non-Jews in N.E. may not take kindly to this, because for some mysterious reason they, unlike other Americans, will be discovered to have been covertly, innately and irrationally anti-Semitic all along (who knew?) They will argue against the plan to turn New England into Israel, with phrases about equal rights under the law and religious discrimination being unconstitutional and other nonsense. Unfortunately, some of these anti-Semites will resort to terrorist violence against turning New England into Israel. And since non-Jews in N.E. are a majority of the population (for the time being) their violence will have to be dealt with firmly. Israel will have to form a military to drive these terrorists, who deny Israel’s right to exist, into America (say upstate New York), which is, after all, where they belong since they are, of course, Americans, not “New Englanders.” “New England” is not a nation, just an invention, remember? (I cannot thank Newt Gingric enough for this insight!)

What about all of the property in N.E. belonging to these anti-Semites who are now refugees in upstate New York? Well, war is war; this property–land, houses, movable property, businesses, all of it–should be confiscated by the state of Israel for the use of newly arriving Jews to their new state. Some would say this is a bad idea because when the Israel in Palestine did this it caused a lot of trouble. But the only reason this idea didn’t work in the Middle East is because Arabs are all anti-Semites; it will work in America because Americans (with the strange exception of New Englanders) are not anti-Semites.

Furthermore, when the non-Jew refugees demand to be allowed to return to their towns in N.E. where they used to live, they should be refused entry into Israel (we don’t call it New England anymore) just as present-day Israel refuses to allow Palestinian refugees re-entry to their homes and villages. The reason in both cases is the same: the refugees must not b allowed to return to their homes inside Israel because if they did then the population of Israel would no longer be majority Jewish, which would make Israel no longer a Jewish state. And we all know that the Jewish state of Israel has a right to exist. Right?

If the “New Englander” refugees insist that they have a right of return under article 13b of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says everybody has a right to return to their country, they should be told, “Sorry, it’s not your country anymore.” Because of their anti-Semitism, they will not agree, but surely the majority of Americans, who are not anti-Semitic, will agree, no?

We know that not all of the anti-Semitic “New Englanders” will leave N.E. Some will stay. But many of those will have temporarily moved from their home town in N.E. to another town in N.E. to escape the violence (in some cases massacres of non-Jews, if the history in Palestine is any guide) that will have led to the flight of most non-Jews. Such persons should be declared “present absentees” on the grounds that though they are present inside Israel they were absent from their town of birth on a certain day (to be identified in a new law called the Absentee Property Law), and all of the property formerly owned by “present absentees” should become the property of the state of Israel to be used for the welfare of Jews, naturally. This new Absentee Property Law will be easy to write; it can be copied directly from the one already in effect in Israel today, where it classifies a quarter of a million non-Jewish people as “present absentees”–a status that can never change. Again most Americans, not being anti-Semites, will support the wisdom of this law no doubt.

There is the possibility that the non-Jew anti-Semitic “New Englander” terrorist refugees in upstate New York will threaten the very existence of the state of Israel. To prevent this, Israel will have to occupy upstate New York and impose a military dictatorship over the anti-Semitic terrorist refugees, just as Israel has been forced to do in the West Bank and Gaza regions of Palestine. Nobody, especially peace-loving Jews, wants to impose a military dictatorship on anybody. But, alas, military occupations are unfortunate necessities in a world populated by anti-Semitic terrorists, and as disagreeable as such occupations are, surely good Americans, being strongly opposed to anti-Semitism and supportive of Israel’s right to exist, will not object. Right?

Posted in USAComments Off on Newt Gingrich’s Brilliant Insight about Palestinians

Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,

The items below are more or less divided into Palestine — Israel—more or less, because the final of the 8 items, ‘Today in Palestine,’ includes both.

I don’t normally harp on a subject, but tonight is an exception.  Item one is another depiction and reaction to the killing of Mustafa Tamini, this time by someone who was standing next to him when he was killed.  I found this description to be powerful in its simplicity and feeling.   Mustafa was not the first nor will he be the last to be killed by IOF soldiers.  And while most killed by the IOF are Palestinians, there have also been internationals (Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, for instance) and those who were badly injured but still live, as Tristan Anderson. And there have also been some Israelis who were badly injured.  The IOF nevertheless targets Palestinians more readily than others.

Item 2 describes the protests of a West Bank village that has a truly horrendous struggle not only against the IOF but also against the colony that is stealing its lands, Kedumim.  From personal experience, I can tell you that its inhabitants—all or most are fundamentalist idealists—are not pleasant people to deal with.  The report, however, deals less with them than with the reason for the protests.

Item 3 combines 2 reports, both from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.  The first is the weekly report about Israel’s crimes against human rights perpetrated on Palestinians during the period from December 8 through the 14th, 2011.  The second relates that Israel has placed barriers demarcating a supposed border 3 miles out to sea from the Gaza coast.  According to international law a country’s territorial waters extend 22 kilometers (or 14 miles) from the baseline of a coastal state  (  Thus what Israel is doing is illegal.  But who will stop Israel?  That is the question, notwithstanding PCHR’s request of the international community to pressure Israel into allowing Gaza fishermen to fish!

The following 3 items are about Israel, and mainly reflect the undemocratic direction that Israel is pursuing.  The first of these (item 4) deals with the supposed release of the additional 500 or so Palestinian prisoners agreed upon in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.  The release is scheduled to take place on this coming Sunday, but won’t if the Israel Law Center has its way, probably not ever.  In any event, apparently over 60% of those that Israel plans to release are prisoners who have already almost completed their term of interment.  Most are not, apparently, hard core prisoners.  Still, their families would like to have them home no less than Shalit’s family wanted their son home.  Let’s hope that the release does take place.  And as for ‘blood on one’s hands’ (the principle that those who do not want Palestinians released appeal to), few Palestinians can compete with Israelis as Ariel Sharon, et al.

Item 5 reveals that Israel’s Justice Ministry plans to propose a bill that restricts media on what it can report about police investigations and court cases.  Just another step in keeping the public ignorant and in lock-step with the government.

Item 6 is about the probable closure of Channel 10, one of 3 Hebrew Israeli news channels.  Presumably the closure is a vendetta by PM Netanyahu for an investigative report that Channel 10 did on his travel expenses.

Item 7==a pleasant piece of news for a change—returns to Palestine, relating that Iceland has decided to recognize Palestine as a state on the 1967 line.  The 1967 line is not a border (Israel has avoided designating borders, largely because of its expansionist visions).  The 1967 line  merely represents the 1949 armistice line, which left the West Bank in Jordan’s hands, Gaza in Egypt’s.  In 1967 Israel took the WB from Jordan and has been steadily expanding  and colonizing the WB since.  What Iceland’s (and those of other countries) recognition of Palestine will mean in the long run I don’t know.  But one thing is certain: Israel won’t like it.

Item 8 , Today in Palestine, contains quite a bit that you have already had from me or other sources. This is especially true for the first section.  But there is also much that will most likely be new to you.  So I include it, with the hope that you will at least glance through the summaries.

That’s it for tonight.

All the best,



  1. Forwarded by the JPLO List

December 12, 2011

Words From The Man Who Stood Next to Mustafa Tamimi as He Was Shot

copied from my +972mag article here

Ibrahim Bornat, artist and activist from Bil’in, was standing next to Mustafa Tamimi when Tamimi was shot in the head with a tear gas canister at close range by an Israeli soldier (Bornat can be seen standing directly next to Tamimi in these now-iconic photos). Ibrahim is himself no stranger to the resistance. Since 2000, he has been in the hospital 83 times for injuries sustained by the Israeli military during demonstrations, and has been arrested five times. Here is his testimony about his experiences when Mustafa was critically injured on Friday, December 10.

Mustafa and I were alone, it was just the two of us, with the rest of the protesters quite far behind, and we were chasing the jeep and telling it to leave. We got separated from the rest, because the soldiers threw almost 50 tear gas canisters at once, so the whole protest was pushed back. The tear gas went over our heads and we got closer to the soldiers, shouting at them that they had thrown enough. The jeeps turned around to leave as they were shooting gas behind us. One jeep, however, lingered and seemed to be waiting for us to get closer. As we reached the jeep, the soldier opened the door and shot two rounds of tear gas. I think I saw this soldier’s face, but Mustafa definitely saw and whoever he is, Mustafa knows best.

 Mustafa pushed me down, and one canister that was aimed for me flew over my head. The second one hit Mustafa, but I didn’t know it hit him at first because I thought ‘for sure they wont shoot at us from so close’. I thought he had just ducked down, and then I thought that maybe he had just passed out from the gas, because there was gas all around him. I went to him, laying face down on the road, and I turned him over and pulled the cloth off his face.

Of what I can say about it, it is worse than words can say. The whole half of his face was blown off, and his eye was hanging out, and I tried to push his eye back up. I could see pieces of the inside of his head, and there was a pool of blood gathering under him. His whole body was trembling. It started from his feet, then up to his arms, then it reached his chest, and then his head, and then a gasp came out and I’m sure at that moment he died. He gasped, and let out a bunch of air, and I knew at that moment his soul had left. I have seen many people, not a few, die in front of me, and I know death. Maybe later on they revived his heart, but I knew that his soul had left.

 I ran back to get people, because we were far away, but there was no ambulance around, so the people around gathered him and put him in a service [a communal taxi] and tried to leave. The soldiers stopped the service and tried to arrest Mustafa, but when they saw that he was on the brink of death, they began to act as if they were humanitarian, to revive his heart. But what is ‘humanitarian’, to shoot someone to kill, and then to try to help him? These were the same soldiers from the jeep that shot him. They shot him, then say they want to help him. What they really did is prevent him from leaving. The body lay on the ground for half an hour. They wanted Mustafa’s ID, and they also wanted the ID of his mother, of another family member, and of Bassem Tamimi’s wife, because these people wanted to go out with him too. But I don’t know why they wanted the passport of a dead person! They were doing some kind of medical treatment while he was lying on the ground, but this was no hospital, and what he needed was to be taken to a hospital. He should have been flown out in that moment! There is nothing you can do for him on the street there.

I was with the family the whole night afterwards, especially with his father, who is very sick and on kidney dialysis. Mustafa’s family believed there was still some hope, so I did not want to tell them that I knew he was already dead. His father is very sick, and kept falling asleep and waking up again, and we didn’t tell him much at first, only that Mustafa had been shot but that, God willing, he would be okay. There are some things that are hard and give you no hope, and then there are some things that are hard, but there is something nice about them. Martyrdom is something that is hard, but it is also honorable, and that gave his family a lot of comfort.

I knew Mustafa as a brother in the resistance. We were close in the resistance to the occupation. Anyone who comes out with me in our resistance to the occupation is close to me, as close as my mother, brother, or father, whether they be Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, or international. He was free, and a person who is free fights the occupation. That’s the thing I can most say about him- he was freedom.

We defend ourselves through strength, through courage, through our right to this land, through steadfastness. The occupation, to defend itself, has to kill people. But we defend ourselves with our right. This is my philosophy.

2.  Forwarded by the JPLO List


JPLO Note: I was present at three such demonstrations during the past 3 months and confirm the veracity of this report. The military uses the excuse of even one stone rolling down the road to launch a full-scale attack on the demonstrators even advancing into the village, something like a pogrom. I spoke to the soldiers but they do not understand Yiddish and in English they are deaf. There is a documentary film about this struggle and others that is coming out soon.


West Bank village steps up protests against Israel’s theft of land

Ben Lorber


Palestinians in Kufr Qaddoum demand access to their farmland, October 2011.

(Wagdi Eshtayah/APA images)

December 13, 2011

For approximately five months, the residents of Kufr Qaddoum have united to demonstrate against the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim and the Israeli military’s closure of their village’s main road. Kufr Qaddoum, a West Bank village so old that, according to legend, Abraham was circumcised there with an axe, has since 1976 been plagued by Kedumim, a 3,000-inhabitant Israeli settlement that now surrounds the village on five hilltops. Kufr Qaddoum’s main road, which passes through Kedumim to link the village to Nablus, was closed by the Israeli military in 2003.

“The people of Kufr Qaddoum used this road long before the settlements came,” said Murad Shttaiwa, spokesman for the demonstrators. “Before 2003, we could drive through the settlement with no problems. Between 2004 and 2005, after the road was closed to cars, we walked through the settlement with no problems.”

In 2005, the road became closed to foot traffic as well. Before the new, indirect route to Nablus was constructed in 2008, “we used to walk and drive down unpaved dirt roads around Kedumim, but the settlers would still throw stones at cars and people,” Shttaiwa explained. “We would not react to it … for three years, we used to travel on a road made for animals.”

Now that Kufr Qaddoum’s main road is closed to villagers, a 13-kilometer straight journey to Nablus has turned into a 26-kilometer detour through a busy West Bank artery. “Three people have actually died trying to get through the main road,” Shttaiwa said, “because they were ill in ambulances, and the soldiers wouldn’t let the ambulance through.”

Taking the closures to court

When the road was first closed in 2003, villagers organized a single demonstration. “It was very peaceful,” Shttaiwa said. “The people left work and came, took their cars to where the barrier is [on the road], and then just sat and talked. We spoke with the soldiers and the soldiers stated to us that the road will eventually be opened.”

When the soldiers’ promise failed to materialize, however, villagers took the issue to court in 2004. After five years of waiting, in November 2010 Kufr Qaddoum finally received a positive response from the Israeli court system, authorizing its Palestinian villagers to use the road again. At that time, however, the Israeli military groundlessly claimed that the road is “unsuitable” and “unsafe” for human traffic. After all legal appeals failed, villagers decided to organize weekly demonstrations in July 2011.

Since then, Kufr Qaddoum has consistently held one of the most tight-knit, well-organized and well-attended Palestinian-led demonstrations against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

Hundreds of villagers, united with international activists and flanked by gas-masked media teams, walk down the main road towards Kedumim week after week, demanding the right to movement. “I’m very happy that a lot of people from the village are coming out for the demonstrations,” said Shttaiwa. “Even during Ramadan we thought people would fall back from protesting, but they still came out in numbers. Even during harvesting, they did not fall back, they still came out in numbers — after the harvest, they would put away their equipment and come out for the demonstrations.”

Funeral for the occupation

At the front line of the demonstration, villagers often stage a telling spectacle. A week before Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s president, gave a speech to the UN in September, villagers held a mock funeral for the occupation on 16 September, carrying a coffin draped with an Israeli flag.

A video of the demonstration, produced by the International Solidarity Movement, shows villagers setting the coffin ablaze moments before a phalanx of Israeli soldiers opened fire with tear gas (“Kafr Qaddoum September 16 2011,” 16 September 2011).

Later in September, villagers burnt an effigy of Benjamin Netanyahu after holding a mock trial condemning the Israeli prime minister for war crimes (“Kufr Qaddoum demands access,” International Solidarity Movement, 30 September 2011).

Demonstrations in Kufr Qaddoum have been accompanied by everything from a donkey painted with an Israeli flag to a live band from the Netherlands.

As demonstrations show no signs of losing steam, the Israeli military has escalated its attacks on Kufr Qaddoum. A recent report by the Palestinian news agency WAFA indicated that 12 persons — including five Palestinian children — were attacked with heavy tear gas and stun grenades during a weekly demonstration (“Israeli soldiers suppress Kufr Qaddoum weekly anti-settlements march,” 4 November 2011).

“Even though the demonstrations and the barriers are 500 meters away” from the village, explained Shttaiwa, “the soldiers will get closer and closer … [on 11 November], the soldiers got so close they were right outside my house, and the tear gas got inside the house, so my two-year-old son smelled it, and came up to me and said ‘Daddy, my eyes hurt!’”

Aggression gets worse

The military enters the village, in Shttaiwa’s words, because “the protests are getting stronger and stronger, and they want to stop the protests, so they are becoming more violent and more aggressive.” The Israeli military is also conducting frequent night raids into the village. Four days before a protest on 21 October, the army entered the village at night and arrested nine people (“Permission to enter their own lands: Kufr Qaddoum rampaged again by military,” International Solidarity Movement, 21 October 2011).

Though protests focus on the closure of their main road, the villagers of Kufr Qaddoum resist an occupation which touches on all aspects of their lives. More than half of the village’s land, approximately 11,800 dunams (one dunam equals 1,000 square meters), is situated in Area C of the West Bank — an area under the full administration of the Israeli army. Under the carve-up of the West Bank made by the 1993 Oslo accords, Area C includes all Israeli settlements and most of the Jordan Valley.

That means villagers need permission to access their own land from the Israeli District Coordinating Office. Olive harvesters, therefore, are unable to prepare their trees for the harvest throughout the year, and are only given a few days to complete the harvest itself.

Eyal Ha-Leuveni, a researcher with Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, told The Electronic Intifada that it is “very difficult” for Palestinians who own land around the Kedumim settlement to go through the permit process. “First you have to prove your ownership of the land, and this depends on your family history — if one family member was involved in a crime, likely no family member will get a permit,” Ha-Leuveni said. “The permit process can take years, and in the meantime you get a temporary permit, which is very insecure.”

In addition, Palestinian farmlands in Area C are often stolen by settlers. In March 2008, a legal battle, waged by lawyers from Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din on behalf of Kufr Qaddoum residents, helped expose the method of land takeover characteristic of Kedumim and other settlements across the West Bank (“Court case reveals how settlers illegally grab West Bank lands,” Haaretz, 17 March 2008).

Kedumim’s local council members would map the “abandoned lands” around the settlements, even if they were outside the council’s jurisdiction, with the aim of taking them over. The council would “allocate” the lands to settlers, who would sign an official form stating that they have no ownership claim; and that the council is entitled to evict them whenever it sees fit, in return for compensating them solely for their investment in cultivating the land.

Kedumim’s former security chief, Michael Bar-Neder, testified that the land “allocation” was followed by an effort to expand the settlement. Bar-Neder said that once the settlers seized the lands, an application would be made to the military commander to declare them as owned by the State of Israel, since under an Israeli “law” covering the West Bank, anyone who does not cultivate his land for three years forfeits ownership of it (“Court case reveals how settlers illegally grab West Bank lands,” Haaretz, 17 March 2008).

It is important to emphasize that Israel’s “laws” regarding the West Bank lack any legitimacy as all Israeli settlements are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. In violation of international law, Israel has seized West Bank land, in the words of Ha-Leuveni, “first by military orders, then by state land, then by private acquisition.”

The area where Kedumim now sits, said Ha-Leuveni, “is land that was first taken by military orders, where the army claimed the land was needed for military needs. Israel abandoned this justification in the 1980s, but it did not return any of this land to Palestinian owners.”

In a process that accelerated throughout the 1980s, West Bank land transferred from military to state ownership. “All the policy of declaring state land,” added Ha-Nuevi, “is an Israeli invention. There are large parts of the ‘state land’ of Qedumim that were owned or at least cultivated by Palestinians before Israel called it state land.”

According to a July 2010 report on Kedumim by B’Tselem, “construction of approximately 59 [Kedumim] units deviated from the ‘state lands’ allotted to the settlement; two permanent structures and 12 caravans were erected on private Palestinian land; and a new neighborhood, comprising some 30 caravans, was built west of the settlement, deviating from the allotted ‘state land.’” (“By Hook and By Crook: Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank,” B’Tselem, July 2010).

In addition, Israel plans to erect a wall between Kedumim and Kufr Qaddoum, which, according to a 2005 report by The Economist, would grab another 5,000 dunams more than the 5,000 Kufr Qaddoum has already lost (“Life in the armpits of Palestine,” 7 April 2005).

Shttaiwa estimated that Kufr Qaddoum has already lost 58 percent of its land to Kedumim, and will lose 80 percent upon completion of the wall. Contrary to the Kedumim security officer’s statement, quoted in The Economist, that “not one centimeter of Qedumim is built on land known for sure to be private,” a 2009 B’Tselem map details that much of Qedumim is built entirely on privately-owned Palestinian land (“Private Palestinian land in the built-up and municipal area of Kedumim,” B’Tselem, 2009).

Illegal appropriation of Kufr Qaddoum land to the settlement

This process of illegal appropriation has plagued Kufr Qaddoum since the establishment of Kedumim in 1976. “Every year the settlement has expanded,” Shttaiwa told The Electronic Intifada. “Since the settlement came it has been expanding, as well as stealing more and more land. Over the years they have also attacked people harvesting their olives, thrown stones at them, and stolen their olives. It has gotten worse in recent years.”

Settler violence, Shttaiwa explained, increased after the first intifada, in which Kufr Qaddoum played a minimal role. “At the beginning we had no problems … [but] now these settlers are known to be pretty violent,” he said. “In the first intifada they killed a male from here and injured another one as well. After the second intifada, they began attacking olive trees.”

Two years ago, settlers spray-painted “This is Israel” and other graffiti upon the burial stones of a Kufr Qaddoum cemetery.

In testimony given to B’Tselem last year, farmer ‘Abd a-Latif ‘Obeid said that over the years, Kedumim settlers have intentionally sabotaged his olive harvest, dumped burning refuse onto his land, and stolen more than fifty dunams to build greenhouses and a park (“Testimony: Israel seizes land and hampers access for farmers near the Kedumim settlement,” B’Tselem, 21 June 2010).

“We’ve been suffering from this situation since 1984,” he states in the report. “All the land seizures, the settler attacks, and the need to coordinate entry are aimed at expanding the Kedumim settlement, which already has a large amount of land, and at taking, little by little, the rest of our land. They force us to neglect our land so it will be easier for them to annex it to the settlement.”

In addition, Kufr Qaddoum suffers from the socio-economic effects of occupation. A 2007 report by the Jerusalem-based Land Research Center estimates that, since 2002, 75 percent of Kufr Qaddoum’s residents became unemployed after construction of Israel’s wall in the West Bank and closure of Kufr Qaddoum’s main road shut out many possibilities for income generation in Israel and Nablus (“Closing of Israeli roads in Kafr Qaddum village,” Land Research Center, 7 February 2007).

Now, almost half of Kufr Qaddoum’s residents depend on foreign aid for living, and emigration has reached a record high of 10-15 percent of the total population.

“Everyone is affected”

The demonstrations in Kufr Qaddoum are a long-overdue response to the suffering the village has endured for decades. The whole village comes out to demonstrate — college students who are tired of paying 20 shekels ($5) a day to get to take an extended detour to school in Nablus; farmers who are tired of living in fear, tired of seeing their olive trees burnt, their land stolen, their livelihoods ruined; villagers who demand the right to move freely down a road that is their own.

“In Kufr Qaddoum and throughout Palestine,” Shttaiwa explained, “we do not have demonstrations for the sake of the demonstration itself. None of us likes to be dead, or likes to smell tear gas, or likes to damage his house. We only want our rights. We always say to the Israeli army, ‘give us our rights and we will not go for demonstrations. Leave our land and we will not go to demonstrations.’ That is our message in Palestine.”

Ben Lorber is an activist with the International Solidarity Movement in Nablus. He is also a journalist with the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem. He blogs at



Palestinian Centre for Human Rights  LTD(non-profit)

(a)    [PCHR_e] Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (08- 14 December 2011)



Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

•      4 Palestinians (two resistance activists and a man and his child) were killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

–       The two activists were extra-judicially executed by IOF.

•      21 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children and 5 women, were wounded by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

•      IOF have continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

–       A Palestinian civilian was killed and 5 others, including two children, were wounded.

•      Israeli warplanes launched a number of air strikes against the Gaza Strip.

•      4 houses were heavily damaged.

•      IOF conducted 44 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the Gaza Strip.

–       IOF arrested 26 Palestinians, including 5 children.

–       The detainees include Dr. Ayman Daraghma, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

•      Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the OPT and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

–       Israeli soldiers arrested 4 Palestinian civilians, at various checkpoints in the West Bank.

 •      Israeli has continued efforts to create a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.

–       Jewish extremists set fire to a mosque in West Jerusalem.

–       IOF transformed Shu’fat checkpoint into an international crossing.

–       IOF closed Bab al-Maghariba Bridge, but reopened it later.

–       IOF demolished a house and a barbershop in Beit Hanina village.

•      IOF have continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

–       IOF confiscated 150 dunums [1] o agricultural land in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem.

–       Israeli settlers escalated attacks against Palestinian civilians in the northern West Bank.


Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (08 – 14 December 2011):


During the reporting period, IOF killed 5 Palestinians, including a child, and wounded 26 civilians, including 10 children and 5 women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF killed 4 Palestinians, including a child.

On 08 December 2011, IOF extra-judicially executed two Palestinian resistance activists in the center of Gaza City.  An Israeli warplane fired a missile at the car in which the two activists were traveling.  Additionally, 4 civilian bystanders, including a woman, were wounded.

On 09 December 2011, a Palestinian civilian and his child were killed and 11 others were wounded, when Israeli warplanes bombarded a training site of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) in the west of al-Nasser neighborhood in the north of Gaza City.  As a result of the attack, two neighboring houses were destroyed over their residents.  Five members of the victims’ family (3 children and two women) were among the wounded.

On 11 December 2011, 3 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded when Israeli warplanes bombarded a house belonging to a Palestinian resistance activist in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.

On 13 December 2011, two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded by Israeli soldiers stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the northern and central Gaza Strip.

On 14 December 2011, a Palestinian civilian was wounded by Israeli soldiers stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Gaza City.

On 09 and 10 December 2011, Israeli warplanes bombarded space areas in the west of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, but no casualties were reported.


The full report is available online at:


Public Document

For further information please visit our website ( or contact PCHR’s office in Gaza City, Gaza Strip by email ( or telephone (+972 (0)8 2824776 – 2825893).


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

(b)   Press Release

(c)    Ref: 142/2011

Date: 15 December 2011

PCHR Condemns Placing Large Floats 3 Miles from Gaza Seashore to Tighten the Siege Imposed on the Gaza Strip

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the placing of large floats by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) 3 miles from the Gaza Strip seashore, beyond which Palestinian fishermen are banned from sailing.  This measure serves to institutionalize the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and enhances IOF’s control over the Gaza Strip’s regional water.  PCHR warns that this measure will lead to more attacks by IOF against Palestinian fishermen, depriving them of their means of subsistence, under the pretest of sailing beyond the sea floats.

PCHR has obtained affidavits from a number of Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, in which they expressed concerns that such Israeli measures would tighten the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip and restrict their work by limiting the permissible fishing area to only 3 nautical miles.

According to Mr. Mohammed Subhi al-Hissi, Head of the Union of Fishermen in Gaza City, the Israeli naval forces started to place large floats to serve as border signs, above which are lights and devices believed to be photographing and monitoring devices, at a distance of 3 nautical miles from the Gaza Strip seashore.  The Israeli naval forces warned Palestinian fishermen through leaflets not to sail beyond such border signs, otherwise, they would be subject to shooting, detention and confiscation of fishing tools.  Al-Hissi warned of the repercussions of this measure on the fishing industry in the Gaza Strip, which is the sole source of income for hundreds of fishermen and their families.

It should be noted that IOF have imposed a long term closure on the Gaza Strip since 1991, under which they have deprived Palestinian fishermen their right to fish Gaza’s waters.  They also decreased the permissible fishing area in the Gaza Strip’s seawater from 20 nautical miles, as agreed under the Palestinian-Israeli Oslo Accords, [1] to 6 nautical miles in 2008, and to 3 nautical miles in 2009.  During the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in the period 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009, IOF imposed a total closure on the Gaza Strip, completely preventing Palestinian fishermen from fishing.  Following the offensive, IOF imposed a partial closure on the Gaza Strip preventing Palestinian fishermen from fishing beyond a distance of 3 nautical miles.

In light of the above:

1.      PCHR condemns placing such large floats 3 miles from the Gaza Strip’s seashore, banning Palestinian fishermen from fishing beyond them.

2.      PCHR calls upon the international community to exert pressure on IOF to open the fishing area up to 20 nautical miles.

3.      PCHR condemns attacks by IOF against Palestinian fishermen, and believed that such attacks are part of the collective punishment measures against the Palestinian civilian population, including denying them of their means of subsistence, which is prohibited under the international humanitarian law and human rights law.



4 Jerusalem Post Thursday, December 15, 2011 18:10 IST

 Photo by: Channel 10

 Petition filed to delay new prisoner release


Israel Law Center wants more time for citizens to contest prisoner release in second stage of Schalit deal.

In a High Court petition filed Thursday morning, the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) asked justices to delay the second stage of the Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange deal. A total of 550 Palestinian security prisoners are set to be released on Sunday, according to a list published on the Prison Service website.

Thursday’s petition comes after the High Court decided not to accede to requests by  terror victims in October to interfere in the release of 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners as part of the first stage in the government-brokered deal to free kidnapped soldier Schalit. Terror victims had complained that the government had not given them sufficient notice that terrorists convicted of murdering their family members were among those scheduled for release, but the court said it would not delay the deal after the state argued the timeline for the first stage was critical.

However, in its petition the Law Center now argues that as Schalit has now been returned safely to Israel, the court must allow for a “full democratic and public process” to take place and order the government to establish criteria determining which security prisoners should be released. According to the petition, although Israel is committed to honor the Schalit deal, there is nothing to prevent the government from delaying the second phase of prisoner releases in order to establish such criteria.

“Shalit is free, There is no immediate threat to life. It’s crucial that the democratic process is thoroughly played out. The citizens victimized by these terrorists must be able to bring their claims before the court,” said Law Center director attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner.  “In a democratic state, all citizens who oppose the government’s policy must be given adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard by neutral judicial officers.”

The petition argues that the rights of terror victims and their families could be harmed if they are not given sufficient time to contest the release of specific prisoners, and Darshan-Leitner noted that the Prison Service website published the list of prisoners to be released on Wednesday, ahead of their release on Sunday.

“It takes time for the families to be notified and the cases be brought to court. Not allowing an adequate opportunity is a travesty of justice,” she said.

In addition to the Legal Center,  terror victims Michael Norzich and Dr David Bauer also chose to be named on the petition. Norzich’s brother Vadim was murdered by a Palestinian lynch mob in Ramallah in 2000. One of the Palestinians convicted of carrying out that murder, Abed Alaziz Salaha, was released during the first phase of the Schalit deal.

Bauer, a US citizen living in Israel, was injured together with his son Jonathan in a Fatah suicide bombing in Jerusalem’s King George Street in 2002. The attack killed three and wounded 86 others. One of the men responsible for that bombing, Fatah terrorist Darwish Ghazi Darwish Dahdar, is  among those set to be released on Sunday as part of the second phase.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Bauer said that  in line with strict US anti-terror legislation, which stipulates that foreign terrorists suspected of harming US citizens outside U.S. soil can be subject to prosecution in the US, he and other terror victims have informed US attorney-general Eric Holder that several people convicted of killing and harming Americans may have been freed without the required public debate.

Bauer said he hoped the petition will “let Israel know that it is not the only country affected by the prisoner releases.”

“Several people who carried out our attack are still free,” he added.

5 Jerusalem Post Thursday, December 15, 2011

 Photo by: Courtesy of Knesset

 Justice Ministry to propose bill that limits media


Initiative nicknamed the ‘concealment bill’ aims to restrict the ability of the press to cover police investigations and court cases.

The Justice Ministry plans to propose a bill that will severely limit the media’s ability to cover police investigations and court cases, The Jerusalem Post learned on Thursday.

The initiative will amend the penal code to include a punishment of one year in prison for anyone who publicizes materials and testimonies pertaining to criminal investigations. The proposed ban on publishing these materials will not have a time limit, and would apply to all cases, including those about public figures.

The initiative, which the Hebrew-language press has nicknamed the “Concealment Bill,” has yet to be submitted to the Knesset, but the Justice Ministry confirmed that it has been approved by both State Attorney Moshe Lador and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman.

An official ministry statement explained that Lador has said more than once over the past year that he plans to fight leaks about investigations. Therefore, the Justice Ministry along with the State Attorney’s office, Public Defender’s office, Ministry of Public Security and the Israel Police worked on legislation on this issue.

The bill will ban publicizing materials from an investigation without permission from a judge and will forbid government workers to release such materials. In addition, those involved in the case – suspects and lawyers – may not give materials from investigations to the press, and photographs and videos of “law enforcement actions” relevant to the case may not be printed.

The Justice Ministry emphasized that the ban is on materials from an investigation and not content, meaning that, theoretically, verbal leaks would not carry a prison sentence. However, as the bill has not been finalized and there are differences of opinion on this matter, the ban may be expanded to include all information from investigations.


6. Haaretz Editorial Thursday, December 15, 2011

The reality show of Israeli democracy

Even a Channel 10 reality show plays an important role in defending democracy. Reality shows’ other role is even more important: to pay for a strong, independent news organization that is not dependent on political patrons.

Haaretz Editorial

Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu Tel Aviv Knesset

Yoaz Hendel, the head the National Information Directorate at the Prime Minister’s Office, joined up to defend his employer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over the expected closure of Channel 10. “Not every reality show on Channel 10 is defending democracy,” he said Tuesday evening at a conference at the Jabotinsky Institute in Tel Aviv. Hendel used the word reality, which has taken on lots of dubious meaning over the years, in an attempt to play down the station’s importance.

But Hendel is wrong: Even a Channel 10 reality show plays an important role in defending democracy. First, the broadcasting of the show itself allows the viewer to choose it and not a different one on a different channel at the same time. In this way, and without any connection to the program’s quality – after all neither Netanyahu nor Hendel are television critics – viewers’ ability to choose a station and watch “Survivor” is an exercise of cultural pluralism.

Reality shows’ other role is even more important: to pay for a strong and independent news organization that is not dependent on political patrons, as are the Israel Broadcasting Authority and Educational Television. A news organization can feel secure to broadcast significant investigative reporting about the government – including the prime minister’s trips abroad – without fear that this will lead to its closure.

It seems the prime minister and the eight coalition members in the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee were thinking about these two aspects – cultural pluralism and criticism of the government – when they voted against postponing Channel 10’s debt payments. The committee members’ cries of joy after they won a majority – bringing closer the firing of hundreds of employees – betrayed their true motives. Most of the hands raised with the aim of closing the station were raised as part of the antidemocratic legislative campaign engulfing the 18th Knesset, which mars the face of the legislature.

The overriding goals of the current Knesset session, with the prime minister’s support, remain silencing the pluralistic discussion and revenge against anyone who dares criticize the government. Channel 10 meets those criteria extremely well.

7. Haaretz Thursday, December 15, 2011

Latest update 17:36 15.12.11

Iceland formally recognizes Palestinian state within 1967 lines

Palestinian Foreign Minister says move has ‘great meaning’; declaration comes a little more than 2 weeks after Cyprus said it would establish formal ties with PA.


Tags: Palestinian state Middle East peace


Iceland on Thursday formally recognized Palestine and was to establish diplomatic relations with the state, two weeks after its parliament voted in favor of the move.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, who was visiting the North Atlantic country for talks with his counterpart Ossur Skarphedinsson, welcomed the decision saying it had “great meaning” and went further than previous declarations of solidarity with Palestine.

According to the decision, Iceland recognizes an independent and sovereign State of Palestine within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders.

The two ministers also discussed the Palestinian bid to join the United Nations and how to restart the peace process in the Middle East, Reykjavik said.

Late last month, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Cyprus recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

While European states are by and large less inclined to formally recognize a Palestinian state outside of peace talks with Israel, a growing trend to upgrade Palestinian missions to embassies has emerged.

Prominent European states who have already announced this upgrade include France, Spain and Ireland.

However, with its move, Cyprus decided to break ranks, sending Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a letter from Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, in which he reportedly recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

According to the WAFA report, Christofias wrote in his letter to Abbas of the “historic deep relations” between Palestine and Cyprus, stating his hope that a peace agreement would be reached which would ensure an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Recent moves by Cyrus and Iceland to recognize a Palestinian state come in the wake of a more substantial amid South American countries.

Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and Uruguay have also recently recognized a Palestinian state along the pre-war borders. Chile and Peru have given their recognition to a Palestinian state as well, but without specifying borders.

8.  Today in Palestine for December 14, 2011


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Settlers attack Israeli military base and set fire to Jerusalem mosque

Dec 14, 2011


Settlers / Right-wing extremists

Settlers break into Israeli military base, sabotage property
IMEMC 13 Dec — Israeli sources reported Tuesday that a group of extremist Israeli settlers of the Hilltop Youth settler movement infiltrated, on Monday at night, an Israeli military base near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, sabotaged property and vehicles, and hurled stones at the soldiers, wounding a senior officer … The settlers also blocked a main road in the area and hurled stones at Palestinian cars causing damage to a number of vehicles. Israeli media sources stated that the attacks seem to be motivated by Israeli intentions to dismantle some random settlement outposts in the West Bank by March of next year.
In related news, the Israeli Police apprehended 17 extremist settlers who barricaded themselves, on Monday, at the site of the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.  They settlers hung banners with photos of the right-wing Jewish leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who called for the “Jewish state to expand beyond the Jordan river into the state of Jordan and all the way to Iraq.” According to Israeli Yedioth Aharonoth, the settlers entered a closed military zone behind the border fence with Jordan, and barracked themselves in the site, very close to where Jordanian soldiers are stationed. The site, 10 kilometers away from the West Bank city of Jericho, is one the most sacred sites for Christians after the Nativity Church in Bethlehem and the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
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Jerusalem: Rightists clash with police
Ynet 14 Dec — Right-wing activists clashed with police forces in Jerusalem Wednesday during arrests made against suspected “price tag” act perpetrators. The ensuing riot saw the suspects damage several police cruisers, shattering the windshield of one and slashing the tires of another … Meanwhile, right-wing leaders were irked by Knesset Member Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who earlier slammed the IDF’s lenience toward the settlers who raided an IDF base in the West Bank overnight Tuesday. Ben-Eliezer called the group “a bunch of criminals” and said that the troops should have fired at them.
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Right wing Israelis torch Jerusalem mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Right wing Israelis set fire to a mosque in Jerusalem overnight, Israeli police said. “During the night, there was an attempt to set fire to a disused mosque in the city center,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “Police also found graffiti on the walls. The police have opened an investigation.” Vandals sprayed the Star of David and racist graffiti including “Muhammad is a pig” and “A good Arab is a dead Arab” in Hebrew on the mosque’s walls. They also sprayed “price tag” on the building
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Jewish settlers set Jerusalem mosque, West Bank cars on fire
…Settlers from Tappuah settlement in the northern West Bank attacked a house that belongs to Mohammad Mousleh in the nearby Palestinian village of Yasouf while setting his car on fire, according to local sources. They said settlers attempted to set the entire house on fire by opening a gas cylinder and igniting it, but residents were able to put off the fire before gutting the entire house. The settlers had also written “price tag” slogans on the house. In addition, settlers set fire to a Palestinian-owned car at the entrance of Hares, west of Salfit, and wrote “price tag” slogans on it. Settlers also set fire to a water tank and a vehicle in Doma, a village south of Nablus, and attempted to arson other cars in the town, according to local sources. The settlers wrote graffiti on several houses in the village, reading “a gift from Yitzhar [Israeli settlement] to the Arabs.”
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Israel responsible for settlers’ attack on church, says official
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 13 Dec — Member of the Revolutionary Council of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), Dimitri Diliani, Tuesday held Israel fully responsible for the settlers’ attack on a church near the Jordanian border, under the watch of Israeli soldiers. Diliani said in a press release that the Israeli army evacuated the church at one o’clock in the morning, after more than four hours spent by the settlers in damaging the church and its contents. The attack on the Orthodox church of St John the Baptist, located a few kilometers east of Jericho, came after strong opposition from Jordan against demolishing Magharbe gate ramp in East Jerusalem.
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West Bank road sees repeated stone attacks
Ynet 14 Dec — Palestinian residents of northern West Bank villages claim settlers regularly pelt their cars with stones as IDF fails to put a stop to attacks … Palestinians residing in northern West Bank villages do not understand the fuss over recent violenceby the Hilltop Youth. For them it’s a daily struggle. Palestinian cars driving on the road near Yitzhar and Havat Gilad suffer regular stone attacks. Abu Zitun was forced to pay NIS 2,000 to repair his minibus. “I’m afraid to go on that road now and do a detour to avoid it,” he said. He noted that while Palestinian vehicles driving on the “Gilad artery” get pelted with stones, cars with Israeli license plates are never attacked.
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Neyanyahu: Jewish extremists not a terror group but will be given military trial
Haaretz 14 Dec — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved Wednesday a series of steps that would crack down on Jewish extremists responsible for recent violent attacks on IDF soldiers and other targets, but rejected a recommendation to label them a “terror group.” Netanyahu approved issuing administrative detention orders for the Jewish extremists, as is usually done with Palestinians suspected of being a security risk. Moreover, the prime minister approved trying the Jewish activists in military courts, which would effectively expedite their sentencing and make their punishment more severe.
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Rioting Jews to be tried in army courts like Palestinians
JPost 14 Dec — Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu provided security forces and police with several new legal tools on Wednesday designed to enable them to stamp outradical nationalist attacks. According to one of the recommendations Netanyahu accepted a day after the vandalism and rock-throwing incident at an IDF base, Jews rioting in the West Bank will now be tried in military courts like Palestinians … The new steps include: • immediately issuing administrative detention orders against rioters. • increasing the number of Jews barred from entering the West Bank. • giving the IDF the authority to detain Jewish rioters, and not having to wait for the police to do so. • adding investigation teams from the Shin Bet, police, IDF and State Attorney’s Office to deal with these incidents.
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Gov’t mulls deeming far-Right violence ‘terror’
Ynet 14 Dec — Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman holds special meeting following escalation in far-Right violence, as gov’t explores legal options against offenders … The meeting’s participants stressed that the group in question was a small one, and that their actions – which must be dealt with harshly – do not represent the settlers’ community. Such measures, however, are bound to meet legal scrutiny, since no one knows at this point if the violent acts are instigated by one specific group or are the work of individuals.
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IDF worried about settler informants in its ranks
JPost 14 Dec — The IDF is looking into the possibility that soldiers might have tipped off settler activists who stormed the Efraim Regional Brigade base late Monday night. The IDF has launched an internal investigation into the series of incidents that took place on Monday night including the settler crossing of the Israeli-Jordanian border fence, the stoning of Palestinian cars near Kedumim and the raid on the Efraim Regional Brigade base and subsequent attack of IDF soldiers.
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Does Baruch Goldstein’s rabbi want violent settlers shot? / Larry Derfner
972mag 14 Dec —  Wel-l-l… Amazing headline in The Jerusalem Post today: “West Bank rabbis: Allow live fire at stone-throwers.” Mind you, the whole country is outraged today at the spectacle of that mob of settler youths attacking that army base in the West Bank, throwing stones, hitting a commander in the head, but now West Bank rabbis, of all people, are calling to shoot them? Sure looks that way: “Anyone who faces a danger, including being pelted by stones or other dangers, must be allowed to open fire against attackers without having to worry about being tried or having their weapon confiscated,” read a letter from the rabbis to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak.
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B’Tselem: Extremist Jews should be dealt with as criminals
TEL AVIV (WAFA) 14 Dec – B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territory, stated that the phenomenon of violence by Israeli citizens in the Occupied Territory must be dealt with through the criminal justice system, Wednesday said a press release published on the Center’s website.
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IDF to apply fire protocol to Jews?
Ynet 14 Dec — Army to revisit procedure following violence directed against Ephraim Brigade. ‘A soldier must have no doubts as to how to act when a Jew comes to throw a concrete block on his head,’ military source says … The army is considering taking a firmer hand against rioters targeting the IDF.  Among the options being explored is the use of crowd dispersal means such as shock or gas grenades, water canons and in cases of mass riots more advanced tools such as odor and noise weapons. The IDF is also revisiting fire protocols in cases where soldiers’ lives may be in danger which involve the hurling of stones or glass bottles. IDF forces refrained from using weapons in previous clashes with Jewish rioters and physically blocked the assailants … A soldier guarding an entrance to a base is required to follow the fire protocol when suspicious figures approach the base, but this is based on the assumption that any such suspect is a Palestinian terrorist. “Tuesday’s event undermines this perception,” the officer said.
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Chief rabbi: Rightist violence springs from ‘genuine pain’
Ynet 14 Dec — In weak condemnation, Shlomo Amar says settlers who raided IDF base ‘hurting their rabbis, teachers’; police chief vows to bring those who are ‘igniting the country’ to justice … Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said Israel Police has “taken off its gloves in the battle against the criminal phenomenon in which mosques and state symbols are targeted.” While visiting a police station in Lod Wednesday, Danino said the police force would use all the means at its disposal to curb right-wing violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.
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MESS Report: Today they are outraged, tomorrow they will forget / Amos Harel
Haaretz 14 Dec — When the wave of condemnation passes, everything will be just as it was before: authorities will continue to act forgivingly toward the extreme right, and IDF officers will continue to tread carefully when it comes to settler violence.
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Rabbi Ronsky warns of “brothers’ war”
Ynet 14 Dec — Israeli religious leaders fear that a civil war is only a matter of time, following Monday night’s settler violence in the West Bank. Israel‘s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger on Tuesday strongly condemned the attack on the Ephraim Brigade commander near the outpost of Ramat Gilad, which left him and his deputy injured.
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Jewish rock-throwers are more equal
Haaretz 12 Dec —  It is easy to imagine what would have happened had Palestinians invaded an Israeli military base and vandalized vehicles, burned tires, thrown rocks at the brigade commander and injured his deputy. It would have ended in death, injury or arrest for many of them. But the perpetrators of this week’s incident were Jews, not Palestinians, and they threw rocks at both soldiers and Palestinians.
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Palestinian police fire on illegal Israeli pilgrims
NABLUS (AFP) 13 Dec — Palestinian police shot at a group of Israelis illegally visiting a West Bank religious site, injuring one, Palestinian security officials said Tuesday. The police opened fire after shouting warnings at the small group of Israeli worshipers who had entered Joseph’s Tomb near the northern West Bank city of Nablus overnight, said the officials. The Israeli military said it had no comment on the incident. Israeli public radio said the group was composed of seven ultra-Orthodox Jews, who entered the site without the required coordination with the Israeli military.
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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

Israeli forces demolish old buildings near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Israeli bulldozers demolished on Tuesday morning three old buildings on the outskirts of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, known as Wadi al-Makhrour, after claiming they were built on Israeli land. The mayor of Beit Jala, Raji Zeidan, said the buildings were recently refurbished. The buildings, according to Zeidan, belong to Fuad Qasasfa, Khadir Salamah, and Abed Audah. He also highlighted that several landowners in the area recently received warnings from the Israeli authorities warning them that reclamation of land is prohibited. On Monday, the parish priest for Beit Jala, Ibrahim Shomali, said the situation for residents of Beit Jala, which is predominantly Christian, was deteriorating fast due to Israeli measures … Shomali was speaking to reporters about Israel’s plans to confiscate land belonging to the Cremisan vineyard to make way for its wall.
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Life next to the separation wall with Israeli soldiers on the roof / Mikaela Levin
AIC 14 Dec — The Hassan family was only allowed to come back to their house in 2010. For five years, after the Israelis built the separation wall right through one of the walls of their home [see photos], they were forbidden to enter. They waged a long legal battle to show that the property was theirs. They won and today eight members of the family live in the three-storey house. But they still can’t access their own roof– Israeli forces constructed a surveillance tower on Hassan’s roof and visit it at least once a week. While the Hassan family offers an extreme example, the wall has affected, to some extent, all of the 4,000 Palestinians that live in the village of Nazlat ‘Isa, which is 15 kilometers northeast of Tulkarem. The space between the barrier and the houses in Nazlat ‘Isa is very narrow. In some parts, only two people fit.
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Palestinian village struggles against ‘quiet transfer’ / Emma Mancini
AIC 14 Dec — Like other Palestinian villages, Al Aqaba is endangered–95% of its buildings are under demolition orders, including the kindergarten and the mosque. After 1967, Israel declared the area a closed military zone and began using it for training, entering the village, occasionally, to “practice.” Residents say that it is part of a plan to conduct a “quiet transfer” of the local Palestinian population … “The oldest house in Al Aqaba dates back to 1930 [18 years before the state of Israel was established],” Sadiq continues. “Nevertheless, Israeli authorities accuse every single family of the village of building their homes illegally. So, they carry out demolitions. This year they destroyed Salam Street twice, in April and in September.” 95% of the buildings in the village are under demolition order. Among them the health center, the kindergarten and the mosque.
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Israel reopens access ramp to Al-Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Dec — Israel on Wednesday reopened a controversial wooden access ramp to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, just over 48 hours after it was closed on safety grounds in a move which had sparked Muslim anger. “It was opened this morning,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP. “It has been opened as normal for visitors, both Christian and Jewish.” He said no work had been carried out to stabilize or alter the ramp, but pointed out that a fire engine had been stationed nearby and other unspecified safety precautions put in place.
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Israeli mayor ‘willing to cede land beyond wall’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem said Tuesday that lands outside of the area allocated for Israel’s West Bank barrier could eventually be abandoned to the Palestinian Authority, Israeli media reported … Lands “owned” by the municipality, a unilaterally declared Israeli administration, but which fall on the opposite side of the wall could be handed back, while those inside the wall should be annexed, he said.
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Restriction of movement

Video: Testing boundaries: We don’t have a problem with you, we have a problem with students
14 Dec — Mohammad’s story isn’t necessarily heartbreaking. He is a 19-year old, outstanding student from Gaza who wants to study mechatronics (an emerging discipline that combines mechanical engineering with computer science and other fields) so he can join his father’s business. Until now there hasn’t been a mechatronics program in the Gaza Strip. Al Azhar University opened a pilot program this year, but Mohammad prefers to study at Birzeit University in the West Bank, in a program that already has an established reputation. The Israeli army’s district coordination office (DCO) for Gaza rejected Mohammed’s application to study in the West Bank. It has nothing to do with Mohammed himself. He is not accused or suspected of committing security offenses. It’s not personal, it’s just that no students from Gaza are allowed to travel to the West Bank to study. Again, this is not a heartbreaking story, just another small dream crushed by movement restrictions.
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Israel to allow 600 Christians from Gaza to travel to Bethlehem, if they’re between 35 and 40
PNN 15 Dec — Khlil Faraj, the director of the Civil Coordination Office in the Gaza Strip, confirmed that an Israeli government contact said they would allow 600 Christians from Gaza to go to Bethlehem to participate in Christmas ceremonies. Faraj told PNN that the one condition Israel imposed was that the travellers must be between 35 and 40 years, the first time such a specific age limitation has been in place. The Palestinian side rejected the condition.
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Run for Silwan marathon highlights checkpoint system from Bethlehem to Wadi Hilweh
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 14 Dec —  The Run for Silwan marathon was held on Monday, 19 September, and saw participants follow a route starting from the Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance to Bethlehem, past the Old City and ending in Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan. The marathon drew local and international media attention in its highlighting of the Israeli militarization of Palestinian land and its impact on local children.
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Detention / Prisoner swap

Israel detains Hamas lawmaker in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Israeli forces on Wednesday detained a Palestinian lawmaker in Ramallah. Hamas MP Ayman Daraghmah was detained after soldiers ransacked his home, a Ma‘an reporter said. Daragmeh was released in 2010 after spending 20 months in jail in Israel. Over 20 lawmakers are imprisoned in Israel. Most of them are held in administrative detention, without charge or trial.
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Israeli soldiers hold Palestinian responsible for any attacks against them
HEBRON (WAFA) 14 Dec – Israeli soldiers Wednesday held a Palestinian, Eyad al-Halayqeh, from the neighborhood of Wadi al-Sheikh north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, responsible for any attacks against them in the neighborhood. Al-Halayqeh said Israeli soldiers raided his home at dawn Wednesday. They forced him to stand outside in the cold, searched his home and threatened to kill him and his children, all under the age of three, claiming that a number of youth threw rocks at their vehicles along the road near his house.
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Israeli forces detain 7 across West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained seven people across the West Bank overnight Tuesday, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that four men were detained in the Ramallah area, one near Qalqiliya and two in Beit Ummar, Hebron.
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Second phase of prisoner swap underway
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Dec – The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said Wednesday that the Israeli prison service has notified the detainees who will be released in the second phase of the prisoner swap deal.The society has released a list naming detainees it says will be freed … The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday that the remaining prisoners would be freed on Sunday if the Supreme Court rejected any petitions against the release. A high-ranking source told the newspaper that the Israeli government selected which prisoners would be released in coordination with Egypt. None of the prisoners to be freed has been convicted of killing Israelis, the official said. The list will not include any Hamas or Islamic Jihad affiliates. Most detainees set for release are affiliated to Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the official told Haaretz, adding that minors and women would be among those freed.
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Israel Prison Service posts list of 550 inmates to be freed in Shalit deal
14 Dec Pursuant to the Government of Israel’s decision from October 11, 2011, to approve the proceedings of the agreement for the liberation of abducted soldier Gilad SHALIT, held by Hamas,550 prisoners will be released on Sunday ,December 18th,2011 according to the second stage of the agreement. The prisoners are  as detailed in the following list. The Ministry of Justice will operate an information center as of today and until the date of execution of the agreement, where information regarding prisoners on the list can be obtained and applications to the MOJ  Director General can be submitted [Click on green Excel icon to see the list]
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Separated as prisoners, reunited in Gaza on release / Pam Bailey
EI 14 Dec — …While imprisoned, Israeli authorities did virtually everything to obliterate the detainees’ moorings to reality and their connections to their culture, families and fellow prisoners — from prohibiting visits for months at a time, to forcing repeated moves to disrupt any new-found friendships, to imposing solitary confinement, sometimes for years at a time. Some prisoners crack. One freed prisoner I met during my recent trip to Gaza had been isolated for 15 years; he seemed unable to sustain a conversation with anyone else, instead muttering softly to himself virtually nonstop. But what also stands out despite these unimaginable hardships is prisoners’ tenacity in finding small, yet powerful ways to resist and hold on to their sense of identity and purpose. This is the story of Samer Abu Seir and Loai Odeh — two men who met in prison and have remained friends ever since — but they speak for so many others.

Gag order lifted years after undercover Hamas arrest
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Israeli censors have finally lifted prohibition on publishing the arrest by undercover forces of a Hamas member allegedly involved in the capture of a soldier. An undercover Israeli force seized Mahawash al-Qadi in 2007 on suspicion of “indirect involvement” in the capture of Gilad Shalit, who was exchanged in October for several hundred Palestinian prisoners … Haaretz says the arrest on Sept. 7, 2007 inspired Hamas to move Shalit to an alternative location, perhaps fearing al-Qadi would reveal the place he was held after a 2006 cross-border raid. He was released on Oct. 18 as part of the prisoner swap mediated by Egypt.
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Gaza man shot by soldiers ‘critically wounded’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — A man in his 20s is in critical condition after being shot by Israeli soldiers east of Gaza City on Wednesday morning, medics said. Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma‘an the man was shot in the thigh while hunting for birds in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood.
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Activists: Soldiers open fire toward Gaza demo
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Israeli forces fired toward Palestinian protesters on Tuesday during a demonstration against land confiscation near the Israeli border, activists said. Saber Zaanin, local coordinator, said activists and internationals were fired upon while heading toward the destroyed Dumra village north of Beit Hanoun, inside Israel’s buffer zone. Israeli forces fired at them and tanks headed toward the wall. International solidarity activists got on a farming plow, which was pushed inside the buffer zone by 200 meters, he added. Zaanin pointed out that the activity is a message for the people in Nabi Saleh that they “are not alone facing Israel and its walls”, and that the “seeds of resistance planted in the buffer zone area are for peace.”
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New report documents children under fire in Gaza
13 Dec — Twenty-eight cases of children being shot at by the border fence between Israel and the Gaza strip whilst gathering building materials like gravel, or working by the fence, have been documented by Defence for Children International in their latest report ‘Children of Gravel’. The shootings reportedly took place between March 26 2010 and October 3, 2011, according to Defence for Children International (DCI)-Palestine Section . According to DCI, the Israeli soldiers often fire warning shots to scare off workers by the border. Their report also states that ‘these soldiers sometimes shoot and kill the donkeys used by the workers, and also target the workers, usually, but not always, shooting at their legs.’
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Hamas’ Gaza anniversary draws tens of thousands
GAZA CITY (AP) 14 Dec – Tens of thousands of Gazans turned out Wednesday for an anniversary rally of the ruling Hamas, a demonstration of strength for the Islamic militant movement ahead of Palestinian general elections tentatively set for the spring … The crowd faced a huge stage in the shape of a ship, meant to symbolize the Palestinian journey of return to all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, including what is now Israel.
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Hamas frees 75 prisoners to mark anniversary
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The Hamas-run government in Gaza on Tuesday released 75 prisoners to mark the Islamist movement’s 24th anniversary. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the prisoners had served at least two-thirds of their sentences and displayed good behavior in jail.
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Israel govt adviser doubts Hamas control over Gaza
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 13 Dec — The Gaza Strip’s governing Hamas are incapable of curbing smaller Palestinian militant groups in the territory, a senior Israeli official said Tuesday. The remarks by Strategic Affairs Ministry director Yosef Kuperwasser followed exchanges of fire across the Gaza border for which Israel, in line with long-standing policy, held Hamas responsible, though other factions were involved. Referring to Hamas’ seizure of Gaza in 2007 from forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, Kuperwasser told an Israeli security conference the group “is not capable of implementing this responsibility”.
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Egypt deports 17 Palestinians
RAFAH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Egyptian authorities on Wednesday deported 17 Palestinians who were in the country illegally, Egyptian security sources said. Security officials at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza told Ma’an that 17 Palestinians were detained on the road to Cairo and sent back to Gaza. In some cases, the migrants’ visas had expired while others had entered Egypt through underground tunnels, the officials said.
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Bell peppers exported from Gaza for the first time in years
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — The first two truckloads of bell peppers was set to be exported from Gaza to Europe on Wednesday through the Kerem SHalom crossing with Israel, in addition to four truckloads of strawberries.  Israel allowed 210-220 trucks loaded with aid and necessities to reach the Strip. It is bound for the trade, agriculture and transportation sectors, Palestinian officials said.
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Growing wall of steel fences off Egypt
NETAFIM, Israel (AFP) 12 Dec — Far from the uproar of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Israel has been doubling its efforts to erect a giant, impenetrable security barrier along its 240-kilometer border with the Egyptian Sinai … “In a month’s time, we will have built 100 kilometers of the barrier which by the end of 2012, will extend some 240 km along the border,” a senior military officer in the southern command told AFP. When completed, the fence will stretch the entire length of Israel’s desert frontier with Egypt, starting from the Red Sea resort town of Eilat in the south and ending at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza.
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Egypt investigates Sinai ‘abduction’, army denies
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Egyptian authorities have opened an investigation into a family’s claims that their son was abducted by Israeli forces in the Sinai desert, security officials said Tuesday. Egyptian authorities are investigating the abduction of a member of Hamas’ security services in the Sinai and are making inquiries with Israel to determine how it happened, according to an Egyptian security official. A close friend of the Gaza man, who asked not to be identified, told Ma‘an that Israel’s secret service had telephoned the family to notify them of the incident and instructed them to hire a lawyer. After four days, the family still had not heard from the man, the friend said. An Egyptian military source, meanwhile, said the security forces had received no information about Israel detaining a Palestinian in the Sinai. Egyptian intelligence in Sinai do not transfer prisoners to Israel, he said. Earlier Tuesday, however, the Palestinian Authority liaison department confirmed that a Gaza resident had indeed been detained by Israeli forces, but declined to provide further details. … An arrest of a Palestinian in Egypt by Israeli agents would be the first known case of its kind.
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Extrajudicial killings

Masked in Gaza: the untold story of Palestinian ‘militancy’ / Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle 13 Dec  — Essam Al-Batsh and his nephew, Sobhi Al-Batsh, are the latest in a long line of reported Palestinian ‘militants’ killed by Israel. The civilians were both targeted while driving in a car in downtown Gaza on December 8. According to an Israeli army statement, “(They) were affiliated with a terrorist squad that intended to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers via the western border” (Reuters, December 8). Another ‘militant’ had been killed two days earlier …Israel’s excuses actually tell nothing of the history behind the phenomena of ‘militancy’. To know why some young men in Gaza decide to mask their faces and carry arms, they need to abandon the media’s reductionist characterization of Gaza’s armed struggle. This goes back much earlier than Hamas and Fatah, the 2006 selections, the 2007 siege or the 2008-09 war. The phenomenon began shortly after the Nakba – The Palestinian ‘Catastrophe’ in 1948, which saw the destruction of Palestine and the erection of today’s Israel.
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The tale of the targeted killing / Uri Misgav
Ynet 13 Dec — Op-ed: Operational strategy vis-à-vis Gaza doesn’t work and is unfair, immoral; there must be another way … The targeted killing is here again. Reality as we know it is so convenient. The language is familiar: The “target” is always a “senior member of a military wing.” They have many senior members – apparently it’s an army of generals. He is always taken out moments before launching a terror attack (“a ticking bomb”) or moments afterwards (“retaliation”). It always follows an “imminent threat” and an “operational opportunity,” and the consequences be damned. There is no resisting the temptation of the “targeted killing,” even if the target’s focus is a little murky. A “surgical strike” may be executed at the heart of a residential area or on a school’s doorstep, and we’ll leave the innocent casualties to the surgeons at the Shifa Hospital. Just as long as the IDF “settles the score,” as if this was a dusty noontime western and not the defense force of a sovereign state, which is supposed to consider the overall interests of its citizens.
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Activism / Solidarity

Another attempt to silence us – night raid in Ni‘lin / Saeed Amireh
12 Dec — I have spent the last 3 months in Europe, travelling to speak at numerous events about Palestine, about our suffering, about our dreams and our hopes. I have learned so much and I have seen wonderful things. But the most important thing that I have experienced was how it is to sleep in safety and without fear and stress for 3 months. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Last Friday, 9.12.2011 after a long and arduous trip, I managed to come back to Palestine – to my lovely village Ni‘lin … Two days later, on Sunday, 11.12.2011 at 1am, while I was sleeping at my family house, the Israeli occupation soldiers invaded my uncle’s house, which is close to my family house. Another group of the Israeli Occupation forces invaded the house of my other uncle and they forced him to come  with them to my family house – I have no idea why?!? Then, they started bashing the door of my family house and shouting at us to open the door. I was sleeping when my elder brother woke me up: “The soldiers are trying to break the door!” At first I didn’t understand. It all felt so strange.
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West Bank village steps up protests against Israel’s theft of land / Ben Lorber
EI 13 Dec — For approximately five months, the residents of Kufr Qaddoum have united to demonstrate against the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim and the Israeli military’s closure of their village’s main road. Kufr Qaddoum, a West Bank village so old that, according to legend, Abraham was circumcised there with an axe, has since 1976 been plagued by Kedumim, a 3,000-inhabitant Israeli settlement that now surrounds the village on five hilltops. Kufr Qaddoum’s main road, which passes through Kedumim to link the village to Nablus, was closed by the Israeli military in 2003 … Shttaiwa estimated that Kufr Qaddoum has already lost 58 percent of its land to Kedumim, and will lose 80 percent upon completion of the wall. Contrary to the Kedumim security officer’s statement, quoted in The Economist, that “not one centimeter of Qedumim is built on land known for sure to be private,” a 2009 B’Tselem map details that much of Qedumim is built entirely on privately-owned Palestinian land (“Private Palestinian land in the built-up and municipal area of Kedumim,” B’Tselem, 2009).
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Political news

Poll: Most Palestinians want elections in May
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — The results of an opinion poll released Wednesday show that the vast majority of Palestinians in the occupied territories support holding elections in May, state media said. Some 85 percent of Palestinians support the current election schedule, according to the Arab World for Research and Development poll cited by Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s news agency in Ramallah. Conducted between Nov. 22-24, the poll showed that Palestinians continue to place the highest importance on achieving national reconciliation, with 96 percent saying it was at least somewhat important. The poll also showed that President Mahmoud Abbas, who has promised not to run for any future term, would beat Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister in Gaza whose government was dismissed by Abbas….
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Zahhar: No elections in May
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar said Tuesday it was unlikely that elections would be held in May as scheduled. In an interview with Egyptian media, Zahhar said a unity government and security committee needed to be formed to ensure a transparent vote, Cairo-based Al-Ahram reported.  He questioned on what basis elections could be held as neither of these prerequisites had been met, according to the newspaper report citing the Middle East News Agency.
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Video: Reactions to Palestinian flag at UNESCO
BBC 13 Dec — Nice video of flag going up
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Mideast Quartet holds separate talks with Israelis, Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Dec — Representatives of the international peacemaking Quartet were holding separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials on Wednesday, diplomats said, with no breakthrough in sight. The envoys, representing the United Nations, Russia, the United States and the European Union, met the Palestinian team headed by Mohammed Shtayeh on Wednesday morning at the UN headquarters in East Jerusalem, they said. They were expected to hold talks with the Israelis at the same place in the early afternoon.
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Israeli repression / racism / sexism

Israel’s AG seeks to keep press from reporting criminal investigations
Haaretz 12 Dec — Proposal would contradict fundamental principles of democracy, says attorney representing Haaretz and other media outlets protesting the proposal — Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein plans to impose a wide-ranging gag on media reports of criminal investigations, including those of public officials. Weinstein, who will hold a hearing Wednesday to allow the press to respond to the proposal, has informed the media that he is seeking to pass a law that would ban the public disclosure of any information from ongoing police investigations – whether or not a suspect has been indicted.
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Israel earns another failing score on freedom of religion index
Haaretz 14 Dec — CIRI ranks Israel on par with Afghanistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia; indicates severe and widespread governmental restrictions on religious freedom … [Rabbi Uri Regev, president of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality remarked] “What causes this shameful situation is the practice of [political parties] buying power in exchange for capitulation to religious coercion, while ignoring the wishes of the majority of people in both Israel and the Diaspora….”
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Israel Adhan ban stirs internet outcry
PressTV 14 Dec — The Facebook page of Anastassia Michaeli, an Israeli MP and a member of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party, has been inundated with thousands of comments, links and audio/video files of Adhan after the Israeli official submitted a motion to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, urging a ban on the calls to worship at mosques. The Facebook users have cautioned that this is just the beginning of the storm and that in case the broadcast of Adhan is prohibited, the call to prayers will be heard from all over the occupied territories, IRIB reported on Tuesday.
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Haredim call Beit Shemesh girls ‘prostitutes’
Ynet 14 Dec — Not giving up: After two months of relative calm in haredi-religious tensions in Beit Shemesh, a number of extreme ultra-Orthodox men have resumed their protest against a national-religious elementary school for girls, which they claim has brought “immorality” to the heart of a haredi neighborhood.
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Small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocks Israeli women from voting in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) 14 Dec  — A small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews has prevented some women from voting in local elections in Jerusalem. It’s the latest step by the extremely pious Jews to try to force their practices on others. Israel’s Channel 2 TV video showed the men screaming at a few dozen women, demanding that they leave a voting station Wednesday. Then the men pushed them away. The incident happened soon after Jerusalem’s secular mayor, Nir Barkat, left the station after speaking out against gender discrimination.

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Approval given for profits from ‘Free’ School


The Breckland Free School in Brandon, Suffolk, has awarded a £21 million contract to Swedish for-profit education company IES UK.

The decision to appoint a for profit provider to set up a ‘free’ school in Brandon, Suffolk, is a clear signpost of the direction of travel of Michael Gove’s ’supply side revolution’. Privatisation and deregulation, not system wide school improvement, appear to be the destination.
Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) is a successful profit making company. Their turnover is 680 million SEK, roughly £60 million.

The Adam Smith Institute, which believes that schools should be run for profits, produced a report called ‘Profit Making Free Schools – unlocking the potential of England’s Proprietorial schools sector’ in which they look at the profits made by IES and the other major Swedish education company Kunskappskolan.

It reports that IES had a profit margin of 8.8% in 2009/10. This means that they made a profit of over £5 million.

Approval given for profits from ‘Free’ School

Daily Telegraph article – Profit needn’t be a dirty word when it comes to education

Free school £21m private contract plan

Nick Clegg versus the profit motive

Montgomery Primary school strikes against academy proposal

Teachers, support staff and parents picketed Montgomery Primary school in Birmingham on Tuesday morning against the proposal to turn their school into an academy.
60 people joined the picket line. NASUWT, NUT and GMB members were on strike and the school was closed.

The parents at the meeting took the opportunity to get organised. A leaflet has already been distributed at the school gates in several languages. Other initiatives include a ballot to be conducted at the gate as they did at Colley Lane primary, a lobby of the next governors meeting and a public meeting.

Montgomery Primary school strikes against academy proposal
Teachers protest against Sparkbrook school turning into academy
Solid strike against academies in Birmingham


Downhills Primary : Michael Gove accused of ‘undemocratic and aggressive’ treatment of school

The Labour MP David Lammy has accused the education secretary, Michael Gove, of an “undemocratic and aggressive” attempt to overhaul the management of the primary school he attended as a child.

Downhills primary schoolin Tottenham, north London, faces being converted to academy status by January under government plans to tackle struggling schools. The school would be taken out of the local authority’s hands and reopen under new management by September.

Michael Gove accused of ‘undemocratic and aggressive’ treatment of school
Downhills parents and staff are fighting back
Anti-academy Downhills Primary School campaigners could launch judicial review

OASIS – Academy chain accused of mismanaging budget

The second biggest academy provider stands accused of mismanaging the budget of one of its schools, leading to class cancellations and staff redundancies.Some 13 staff, or a third of the workforce, will lose their jobs at the MediaCity Oasis Academy in Salford.
Academy chain accused of mismanaging budget

OASIS MediaCity Academy on strike against Xmas sackings
Picket lines appeared outside Oasis Academy MediaCityUK again this week as teaching staff continue to oppose forced redundancies imposed by the `Christian’ school just before Christmas.

Anti Academies Alliance Annual General Meeting

Saturday 14th January, 1pm – 4pm
Chancellors Room, Hugh Parry Hall 19-26 Cartwright Gardens London WC1H 9EF
Introduction by : Melissa Benn, author of School Wars & Alasdair Smith, national secretary Anti Academies Alliance
There will be sessions on Forced academies, Labour and academies and ‘Free’ schools.

Click here for more details and to register

New Briefing – Why you should say no to ‘Free’ schools

Click here to download a PDF of the Briefing
Briefing: Why you should say no to ‘Free’ schools

Other news

Clear as mud: academies left in chaos over budgets

Michael Gove scraps limits on grammar school growth
School strike on the cards against academy proposal
Another private school wants to run a ‘free’ school

More news stories here

Anti Academies Alliance Financial Appeal
The Anti Academies Alliance has launched a Financial Appeal to help build the opposition to Academies and ‘Free’ Schools.
Read our Appeal, and download the leaflet, here

Having trouble keeping up with the news on Academies and Free Schools?
You can follow the Anti Academies Alliance on
Facebook –!/pages/Anti-Academies-Alliance/178831804728?ref=ts

Twitter –

Summary of Twitter news –

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Racist Zio-Nazi Jewish at work

Zio-Nazi PM approves series of steps to crack down on Jewish right-wing extremists that recently attacked Zio-Nazi soldiers, carried out ‘price tag’ attacks.

Zio-Nazi Benjamin Naziyahu approved Wednesday a series of steps that would crack down on Jewish Nazi extremists responsible for recent violent attacks on Zio-Nazi soldiers and other targets, but rejected a recommendation to label them a “terror group.”

Naziyahu approved issuing administrative detention orders for the Nazi Jewish extremists, as is usually done with Palestinians suspected of being a security risk. Moreover, the prime minister approved trying the Nazi Jewish activists in military courts, which would effectively expedite their sentencing and make their punishment more severe.

Naziyahu also gave Zio-Nazi soldiers the authority to carry out arrests in the West Bank and to increase the number of activists from the extreme right that could be removed from the West Bank.

In addition, Zio-Nazi regime will expand Gestapo Shin Bet and Nazi Police investigation teams, and the State Prosecution and the Zio-Nazi will receive more resources for investigations.

Zio-Nazi Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that Naziyahu has rejected recommendations by Zio-Nazi security forces to define Jewish extremists in the West Bank as terrorists.

“Whoever lays a hand on IDF soldiers or Israeli policemen will be harshly punished,” Naziyahu said but assured, “These people are a small group that does not represent those living in Judea and Samaria – people loyal to the state and its laws and who condemn such behavior.”

Earlier Wednesday, dozens of Zio-Nazi Jewish right-wing activists clashed with police officers in Jerusalem, amid attempts to arrest suspects linked to recent so-called price tag attacks.

Clashes in Jerusalem followed a series of recent violent events involving Zio-Nazi Jewish extremist Jewish activists. Also on Wednesday, a mosque of historical significance in the capital was set alight overnight in another apparent “price tag” attack.

Arsonists set fire to a deserted mosque in central Jerusalem, with damage mainly consisting of the blackening of walls and graffiti reading “Price Tag,” and anti-Islamic phrases.

Earlier, fears that the Zio-Nazi Forces was about to evacuate an illegal outpost triggered several violent incidents targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.

Two trucks and a car were torched in the Palestinian village of Duma near Nablus, with the inscription “camaraderie Mitzpe Yitzhar” spray painted nearby.

In another incident, rocks were reported to have hurled at Palestinian vehicles passing through the Tapuach and Rechalim Junction; a young Zio-Nazi Jewish woman was arrested in relation to the attacks.

On Tuesday, dozens of Zio-Nazi Jewish right-wing activists infiltrated Zio-Nazi base in the West Bank, with others assaulting the vehicle of a top military officer, who escaped with minor injuries.






by Philip Giraldi

One might regard the pledges made to Israel and its friends in the United States by aspiring presidential candidates as pro forma and vaguely amusing, but that would be a mistake. Policy commitments, even if they are lightly entered into, are a serious matter with real-world consequences. At the moment, the obligation to Israel goes far beyond the willingness to give Tel Aviv billions of dollars in aid and unlimited political cover each year. Every Republican candidate but one has affirmedthat Jerusalem is the undivided capital of a“Jewish state,” the precise formula demanded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and each has affirmed his or her eagerness to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would end forever any chance of actual peace talks with the Palestinians and would also invite a violent reaction against Americans in many parts of the Muslim world. Michele Bachmann has even found a private “donor” willing to pay for the move. Newt Gingrich, who would shift the embassy to Jerusalem within his first two hours as president and who has also promised to name John Bolton as his secretary of state, has meanwhile discovered that the Palestinian people do not actually exist, which certainly solves the problem of the two-state solution or any solution at all. They were invented by hostile Arabs and are out to destroy Israel.

Mitt Romney and Gingrich might well take the prize for lack of any connection with reality with their demand that U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman, who is Jewish, be fired for suggesting that some anti-Semitism might be the result of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Romney has also criticized President Barack Obama for “insulting” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, surely one of the most interesting inversions of truth and fiction ever to occur. Not to be outdone, Rick Perry has promised to increase assistance to Israel, calling it “strategic defensive aid” that benefits the United States.

While this kind of ignorant crackpottery is unfortunately what one expects, there might be worse to come. As part of the pro-Israel package, the same presidential hopefuls have made clear their willingness to go to war with Iran on behalf of Israel even if Israel is the initiator of the conflict, while the media and the  Republican Party have together conspired to keep any contrary opinions on that issue marginalized and nearly invisible.

As Washington has demonstrated itself unwilling to negotiate with Iran over outstanding issues and has refused every attempt by the Iranians to compromise, there can be only one outcome to the game that is being played, and that is war. And the characteristically chickenhawk Republicans are ready to rock and roll based on the pseudo-information about the perfidious Persians. Gingrich again leads the charge, calling for a stepped-up program of sabotage and assassination inside Iran coupled with a covert operation to shut down the country’s main oil refinery, which will supposedly lead to “regime change.” Newt also suggested that the United States and Israel join together in “joint operations” to attack the Iranians. Perry and Rick Santorum also agree that it is time to order military strikes, while Mitt Romney is keen on indicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for “the crime of incitement to genocide.”

The overly ambitious and ethically challenged wannabes who pass as statesmen in today’s United States fail to appreciate that the feckless promises made in their lust for high office could produce a catastrophic result. War is serious stuff, as the past 10 years have surely taught us, and Iran, which has had seven years to prepare for an attack, is a much larger and tougher nut than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Numerous commentators have observed how fuel prices would soar because of threats to close the Straits of Hormuz. Many in the Pentagon, including current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Secretary Robert Gates, oppose such a conflict in recognition of the fact that Tehran would have the ability to hit U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. As the subsequent involvement of Hezbollah from Lebanon is a near certainty, the strike against Iran would quickly escalate into a regional war and would spin out of control.

No matter how one feels about Iran’s government and its ambitions, everyone should be taking notice of what is happening to fuel the drive to war. The drumbeat is incessant, fed by weekly warnings from leading Israeli politicians and truculent editorials and poorly informed op-eds in leading American newspapers. On Dec. 9 and 11 alone, the Washington Post ran three op-eds and a lead editorial all calling for more pressure on Iran. The op-edby Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute accused Tehran of building a nuclear weapon that could be ready by January 2013. Thiessen also charged Iran with complicity in al-Qaeda attacks, which most observers would find ridiculous.

The American people are being told over and over again that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, that Tehran is threatening U.S. soldiers, and that Ahmadinejad has pledged to wipe Israel off the map.Though  all those assertions can be challenged and even debunked, the case is being made that Tehran’s perceived intransigence is irreversible, and this is making war inevitable. A majority of Americans already believe that Iran has a nuclear weapon and that it poses a threat to the United States that should be dealt with, using military force if necessary.

Pushing back against the tide of conformity on the Iranian menace is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Paul’s crimes against the status quo consist of saying that he would eliminate all foreign aid, of which Israel is the principal beneficiary, and that he would not go to war with Iran for Israel because Israel, with its large nuclear arsenal and sophisticated military, is quite capable of making its own decisions relating to its security. Paul is also willing to talk with the Iranians instead of constantly threatening them. Those positions, which appear to be reasonable enough, arouse an almost palpable anger among some pundits. Paul was the only leading Republican excluded from last week’s Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) presidential debate, where many of the positions in support of Israel made by leading Republicans and related above were actually spelled out. RJC Executive Director Matthew Brooks explained that Paul was “far outside of the mainstream of the Republican Party and this organization.”

Over at Red State, “mikeymike 143″ wrapped the message of hate in vitriol, declaring that Paul was an “anti-Semite loser” and that his “followers are the dirtbags of society. Conspiracy loons, antiwar leftists, and anti-Semites. That is why the Republican Jewish Coalition banned him and his Paulbots from the presidential debate they moderated.” Eric Golub of the Washington Times ramped it up a notch more, writing that “Ron Paul supporters are angry at his exclusion … despite Dr. Paul himself not publicly even caring. Supporters of the Klan do not get angry when they are excluded from NAACP banquets. Go on Ron Paul message boards, read the anti-Semitism, and then understand why nobody wants these miscreants anywhere near respectable events.”

Well, if that is the case, count me as a miscreant. Apparently objecting to the billions of dollars in foreign aid lavished on Israel and refusing to go to war on her behalf is enough to cast one out into the wilderness, but there is even more. Josh Block, a former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), sent out a messageon a neoconservative journalist listserv called“The Freedom Community” describing as anti-Semitic anyone who is anti-Israel or who does not agree that “Iran with a nuke is a problem.”Criticizing Israel or questioning the Iran nuclear narrative therefore makes one an anti-Semite, a conclusion that certainly simplifies thinking about the Middle East. It also makes the broader arguments being made by the friends of Israel come full circle. Any questioning of the United States’ relationship with Israel is anti-Semitism. Any change in how Washington hands out tax money that would in any way reduce aid to Israel is anti-Semitism. Any criticism of Israel’s policies with its neighbors is anti-Semitism. Any questioning of Israel’s “right” to start a regional war with Iran that will inevitably drag the United States in is also anti-Semitism. I’m sure that the picture is clear. Claims of anti-Semitism fit every situation where Israel is even peripherally involved. The slightest suggestion of anti-Semitism is the ultimate weapon, intended to end every debate and to ease the way into yet another Middle Eastern war that the United States does not need to fight, cannot afford, and from which it will likely reap the whirlwind.

Posted in IranComments Off on THE INEVITABLE WAR WITH IRAN




Army deserters killed 27 soldiers in southern Syria on Thursday, an activist group said, in some of the deadliest attacks on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the start of an uprising nine months ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the clashes flared in the southern city of Deraa, where protests against Assad first erupted in March, and at a checkpoint east of the city where all 15 personnel manning it were killed.

It did not say how they broke out, but the high casualties among security forces suggested coordinated strikes by the army rebels who have escalated attacks in recent weeks, raising the spectre of Syria slipping towards civil war.

The United Nations says 5,000 people have been killed in Assad’s crackdown on protests inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world. Assad has denied any orders were issued to kill demonstrators and says gunmen have killed 1,100 of his forces.

But a report published by Human Rights Watch on Thursday, based on interviews with dozens of defectors, said army commanders have ordered troops to use “all means necessary” to halt protests, often giving explicit instructions to open fire.

One special forces soldier said his brigade was told to “use as many bullets as you want” on protesters in Deraa in April.

A sniper in the city of Homs said his commanders ordered that a specific percentage of demonstrators should die. “For 5,000 protesters, for example, the target would be 15 to 20 people,” he told Human Rights Watch (HRW).

HRW identified 74 commanders who ordered, authorised or condoned killings, torture and unlawful arrests during the anti-government protests. “These abuses constitute crimes against humanity,” it said, calling on the United Nations Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Assad, 46, whose family is from the minority Alawite sect which has held power in majority Sunni Muslim Syria for four decades, faces the most serious challenge to his 11-year rule.

Rami Abdulrahman of the British-based Observatory said fighting broke out on Thursday around dawn in two districts of Deraa city and a joint army-security checkpoint near Musayfrah, about 25 km (15 miles) to the east.

Army rebels have stepped up their campaign against security forces in the last month, ambushing military convoys, opening fire on an intelligence centre on the outskirts of Damascus and killing six pilots at an air base.


The bloodshed prompted the head of the main Syrian opposition group to call on the rebels forces’ Free Syrian Army to restrict operations against Assad’s military to defending protests. “We want to avoid a civil war at all costs,” Burhan Ghalioun of the Syrian National Council told Reuters last week.

But his influence over the insurgents appears limited.

One Free Syrian Army officer, speaking before Thursday’s clashes, said the rebels were justified in targeting Assad’s forces and said Ghalioun’s comments betrayed “a lack of knowledge of the military basis of this regime”.

“Anyone who bears arms against civilians, either army, security or shabbiha (pro-Assad militia), and kills civilians – we will respond and inflict whatever damage we can,” said Major Maher Ismail al-Naimi.

“In our view, that does not mean the revolution is abandoning its peaceful nature,” said Naimi, who deserted from the Republican Guards. He is now the spokesman for the Free Syrian Army but said he was giving his personal opinion.

“This is a defensive strategy against a regime which has deployed special forces across the country, artillery, tanks and machine guns to kill civilians and defectors.”

In Istanbul, a former ambassador-turned-dissident announced the formation of an opposition group named the National Alliance of Revolutionary Forces in Syria.

Mohammad Bassam Imadi, Syria’s former envoy to Sweden who resigned his post two years ago and left Syria earlier this month, said the group would work together with the Syrian National Council in a bid to overthrow the government.

“We constitute the majority of the revolutionary and political groups inside Syria. We have managed after a long time and a lot of effort to unite all these groups under one umbrella,” Imadi told a news conference.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry said Imadi had been dismissed and had his assets frozen last year after he was investigated for fraud and “using his authority for material gain”.

Activists said Assad’s forces combed the streets of eastern Damascus suburbs before dawn on Thursday, hunting for defectors and trying to break the opposition’s “Strike for Dignity”.

In the city of Hama, stormed by the army 24 hours earlier, they said the army took over a children’s hospital and snipers could be seen on the top of government buildings.

The official SANA news agency said one member of a “terrorist group” was killed and three others wounded as they planted bombs in a villa they had robbed in Damascus province.

The United States and France, which blame Assad’s forces for the violence, have urged the U.N. Security Council to respond to the rising death toll.

“This cannot go on,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York. “In the name of humanity, it is time for the international community to act.”

Syria’s foreign backers Russia and China have blocked Western efforts to secure Council condemnation of Damascus. Its closest regional ally Iran promised support for Syria’s economy, ravaged by the unrest, Western sanctions and an Arab League decision to halt business with the central bank.

Despite the worsening economic crisis and a growing number of desertions, mainly among Sunni conscripts, Assad still has the loyalty of most of the army. Unlike in Libya, the rebels have secured neither high-level defections from the military or government, nor do they fully control any territory.  (Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by David Stamp)

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