Archive | October 26th, 2010





Reports: US Military Aid to Pakistan Conditional on North Waziristan Invasion

October 26, 2010

by crescentandcross Quantcast

Though no conditions were formally attached to the newly announced $2 billion in additional US military aid to Pakistan, diplomatic sources are reporting that the new aid is conditional on the Pakistani government launching their long-promised North Waziristan invasion in a timely fashion.

The US has been pressing for Pakistan to escalate its war in the tribal area for years, with North Waziristan almost always at the center of the targets. Previous offensives have displaced massive numbers of civilians, but netted few militant leaders.

Pakistan has committed large numbers of soldiers to the tribal areas at US behest, and launched a number of offensives, including in South Waziristan and Malakand. The invasion of North Waziristan, which is targeted almost daily by US drone strikes, remains the illusive “next step” for officials, however.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, however, insists Pakistan won’t be rushed on the offensive, and that they “have our own sense of timing.” Starting an offensive right now might be difficult, as the region will become virtually impassable when the winter begins.

North Waziristan will also be a difficult target, as Pakistan’s government continues to have peace deals with a number of the groups in the region which the US would presumably insist on them attacking. In the South Waziristan offensive Pakistan first burned its bridges with the groups it had peace deals with there, but repeating this in North Waziristan could spark a new flurry of attacks across the region, and the Pakistani troops are already stretched to the limit.






‘I do not support U.S. gov’t war guarantees or military aid to any country’ — John Dennis

Oct 25, 2010

John Dennis

Over the weekend we ran a post criticizing the Israel-Palestine stance of John Dennis, an antiwar Republican who is challenging Nancy Pelosi from the left in her San Francisco district. John Dennis had this response today:

Matthew Taylor’s blog post referenced statements I made in a debate this past spring. In it, I attempted to make a nuanced point about how to handle U.S.-Israeli relations in the likely event that foreign aid for Israel continues. His blog post misinterpreted my statements and doesn’t represent my record and beliefs.

For the record, I do not support U.S. government foreign aid to any country. I do not support U.S. government war guarantees or guaranteed military support for any country. My read is that the U.S. government does not have the constitutional authority to give foreign aid or military assurances to any country. This works well for me, because I also happen to think that aid and/or assurances are not prudent for all parties involved.

I am a committed non-interventionist running for federal office. The Constitution and the writings of the founders, I think, support a non-interventionist foreign policy. I am also an advocate of peaceful solutions to conflict and disagreement. I would like for nothing more than the people in the Middle East to live in peace.

However, I cannot run for elective federal office and concurrently be a political activist. Should I now, or in the future, become an elected official, I would best serve my district and my oath to the Constitution by staying committed to non-interventionist principles.

I appreciate all fair attempts to keep anyone running for office on his/her toes. I welcome the chance from Mondoweiss to clarify. 

I am also willing to debate my opponent, Nancy Pelosi, on this matter. I am happy to take any questions on this or any other matter from the media or the constituents of the 8th Congressional District of California.

In this case, as much as I appreciate the blogger’s challenge, a fairer, more interesting and far less provocative discussion might have come by simply asking me to clarify my statements.

In liberty, 


Resolved: Noah Feldman should be open about his views on the two-state solution

Oct 25, 2010

Ibn Tufayl

The apparent collapse of the two-state-solution is thundering through intellectual circles. Folks are trying to come to terms with the new terrain. And right on time, Harvard Law School staged a debate between Duncan Kennedy and Noah Feldman– formerly of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, last week.

Justice for Palestine at Harvard Law School Presents:

Faculty Debate:

Israel/Palestine: One State or Two?

Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, HLS & Noah Feldman, Bemis Professor of International Law, HLS

Moderated by Prof. David Kennedy, Faculty Director of the Institute for Global Law and Policy

Tuesday, October 19th, 5-6:30pm, Pound 102, HLS

The Obama administration’s goal is to save the two-state solution. But is the two-state solution, as currently understood, worth saving? Is it too late for that? Is it really more realistic than the one state solution? Are the Israeli and Palestinian elites willing to do what it takes for a two-state solution?

The HLS classroom, Pound 102, was overflowing. Duncan Kennedy was fabulous. There wasn’t even room to stand. A couple of hundred people attended. Now, parse this email statement today, from Justice for Palestine at Harvard Law:

Hi all, we finally have a recording of Prof. Kennedy’s portion of the event. Given speakers’ wishes a complete recording is not available.


It’s really unfortunate of Feldman to not allow his portion of the debate online.

Here’s what the Brangelina of Harvard Law School (Feldman and wife Jeannie Suk) did permit to be recorded: pap.

Comedy tonight– Jenin Freedom Theatre benefit in NYC!

Oct 25, 2010

Philip Weiss

 Oh boy, I’m late; this event is starting in the next hour in New York. Some funny folks on hand, and moving performers. Get out there! At NYTW, which once couldn’t find room for Rachel Corrie. Times are changing. Enjoy yourself… 

Tickets still available! 










79 East 4th Street NYC 10003 


Tickets $35/$20 Students

David Frum’s world is scary

Oct 25, 2010

Philip Weiss

He and his wife got off an Air France flight out of Paris in 2004, she relates, because they saw two guys who “looked… to be of Arab descent” and who “elaborately” prayed to Mecca in the departure hall.

Cut, cut, cut the budget (just don’t touch Israel)

Oct 25, 2010

Alex Kane

If the GOP’s electoral wins next week are enough to take over Congress, one thing they’ve pledged to do is “stop out-of-control spending,” as their “Pledge to America” policy blueprint says. But don’t even think about touching the over $3 billion in annual aid the United States gives to Israel.

Politico‘s Laura Rozen reports, via the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that House Republican whip Eric Cantor “would propose separating U.S. aid to Israel from the foreign operations budget, which the GOP may vote to defund”:

Cantor, of Virginia, said he wants to protect funding for Israel should that situation arise.

“Part of the dilemma is that Israel has been put in the overall foreign aid looping,” he said when asked about the increasing tendency of Republicans in recent years to vote against foreign operations appropriations. “I’m hoping we can see some kind of separation in terms of tax dollars going to Israel.”

Cantor’s statement was a sign that the Republican leadership was ready to defer to the party’s right wing on this matter. Some on the GOP right have suggested including Israel aid in the defense budget, and a number of Tea Party-backed candidates have said they would vote against what is known in Congress as “foreign ops.”

The Republican Party (as well as some Democrats) wants to decrease Social Security benefits, among other austerity measures, in their effort to reduce government spending. But government funding of an illegal and racist occupation? Keep the cash flowing.

This post originally appeared on Alex Kane’s blog.  Follow him on Twitter here.

One good reason Iranians might hate us

Oct 25, 2010

James North

The Central Intelligence Agency used to be proud of its role in the 1953 coup in Iran, in which the democratically-elected nationalist leader, Mohammad Mossadeq, was overthrown, and the repressive Shah restored to power. Especially back in the 1950s and ‘60s, CIA officials oozed with smug self-satisfaction as they leaked accounts of their derring-do to sympathetic journalists.

Even years after the 1979 revolution in Iran raised some doubts about the wisdom of American policy, a sycophantic history (The Very Best Men, by Evan Thomas) still celebrated the 1953 coup as a story of “romantic intrigue, timing, and luck.” Thomas’s hagiography stuck to the CIA’s fanciful adventure story; its legendary operative, Kermit Roosevelt, President Theodore’s grandson, was a Lawrence of Arabia figure who almost single-handedly changed Iran’s history, keeping the country from falling to the Soviet Union.

Before the United States is maneuvered into supporting an Israeli attack on Iran, we should know more of the truth about why the Iranian people might be suspicious of the West.


Ervand Abrahamian, an Iranian of Armenian background who is a distinguished professor at the City University of New York, is an indispensable guide to his land of origin. His recent A History of Modern Iran is scholarly but still highly readable. In it, he briskly dispenses with the CIA’s self-serving account: “The 1953 coup has often been depicted as a CIA venture to save Iran from international communism. In fact, it was a joint British-American venture to preserve the international oil cartel.”

Oil had been discovered in Iran earlier than anywhere else in the Middle East. It started to flow in 1912, exported by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a monopoly enterprise that was in fact entirely Anglo, and 51 percent owned by the British government. (Anglo-Iranian eventually became the core of British Petroleum, which, after certain acquisitions, today calls itself BP – although its toxic spill in the Gulf of Mexico may prompt it to run away from this latest name.)

Another valuable guide to the true history of Iran and the West is Stephen Kinzer’s All the Shah’s Men (2003). Kinzer points out that for almost four decades, BP’s predecessor “enjoyed a fantastically lucrative monopoly on the production and sale of Iranian oil” – until the rise of Mohammad Mossadeq and the nationalist movement. Kinzer explains that Anglo-Iranian paid low royalties to Iran’s government, and then used “accounting tricks” to cheat the country even more.

The British managers enjoyed a life of colonial ease in enclaves in Abadan, the oil port on the Persian gulf. By contrast, Iranian oil workers lived in giant halls, built by the company, described by one witness as “housing up to 3,000–4,000 people without walls of partition between them. Each family occupied the space of a blanket. There were no lavatories.” Even after decades, the British had barely trained any Iranian technicians, so the industry remained dependent on expatriates.

Mohammad Mossadeq was an enlightened landowner and an international lawyer who had studied in Europe, and a principled man, who had refused to serve under Reza Shah, the army general who founded the purportedly several-thousand-year-old dynasty in 1921. By the late 1940s, Mossadeq, who was already in his late 60s, found himself at the head of a nationwide nationalist movement that confronted Anglo-Iranian Oil and also promoted social reform. In 1951, the Iranian parliament, democratically elected, voted to nationalize the oil industry.

Professor Abrahamian describes the British reaction: Mossadeq was described variously as “fanatical,” “crazy,” “erratic,” “slippery,” “unbalanced,” “demagogic,” “absurd,” “childish,” “tiresome and single-minded,” “inflammatory,” “volatile and unstable,” “sentimentally mystical,” “wild,” “wily Oriental,” “unwilling to face fact,” “dictatorial,” “xenophobic,” “Robespierre-like,” “Frankenstein-like,” “unprepared to listen to reason and common sense,” and “swayed by martyrdom complex.”

But the British had a big problem; Harry Truman was still in the White House, and he did not agree with their colonial policy. In fact, he called them “block-headed.” Kinzer’s book includes a touching photograph of Truman meeting Mossadeq in the United States in 1952, their broad, genuine smiles a suggestion of a history that might have been. Once Dwight Eisenhower replaced Truman, the new hardline Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, endorsed the British imperialist view, and Mossadeq was toppled on August 19, 1953.

A careful reading of history proves that the CIA’s version is mostly myth. Mossadeq’s government fell mainly because the British had imposed a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil starting back in 1951, and British warships blocked exports. Most of the third world was still under formal colonial rule then, so Iran had to stand alone. Economic warfare, not the cunning Kermit Roosevelt outfoxing flustered and foolish Iranians, was decisive.

The genuine version of history also undermines – or rather profoundly qualifies – the conspiracy theories that circulate in the Mideast and elsewhere, which perversely endorse the CIA’s own version by blaming everything on the supposed superspies at the Agency. There was unquestionably a Western conspiracy against the Iranian people and their right to control their own national resources, but it mainly took the less dramatic but more effective guise of economic strangulation.

The CIA’s version of events usually stops after the coup – with a supposedly “liberated” Iran. The spy agency understandably does not want to dwell on the coup’s consequences: the restored Shah’s repressive rule, which led – just 25 years later – to the profound and anti-American revolution.

Nor does the romantic version inquire into what happened next to Mossadeq and some of his supporters. Sixty military officers who had stayed loyal to Mossadeq – the elected prime minister – were executed. Hussein Fatemi, his patriotic foreign minister, was also judicially murdered, for “treason.” Mossadeq himself was put on trial. He told the judges, “My only crime is that I nationalized the Iranian oil industry and removed from this land the network of colonialism and the political and economic influence of the greatest empire on earth.”

Even though he was already 71 years old, he was sent to prison for 3 years, and then confined under house arrest in his home village for the remaining 11 years of his life.

Israel begins work on 600 new homes in West Bank settlements

Oct 25, 2010


And other news from Today in Palestine:


Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing   
Israeli ministers back new Jerusalem bill
TEL AVIV (Ma’an) — Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday backed a bill to define Jerusalem as a national priority area, Israeli press reported.  Among other financial benefits, the proposal would give priority to construction in Jerusalem, including in occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli news site Ynet said. Further, the bill’s creators said it would lead to an increase in the number of Jews in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of their state, Ynet reported.

New units to be built in East Jerusalem
Palestinian officials said Israel’s announcement of construction of 240 new units in East Jerusalem was a further blow to renewed peace talks.  Israel’s Housing Ministry announced Oct. 15 that among 3,500 tenders throughout Israel, 240 were approved for units in Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, in northeastern Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.  “The Netanyahu government is determined to thwart any chance of resuming direct negotiations,” Sa’eb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator said in response.

Five east J’lem Arab homes get illegal building notices
Municipality says the notifications “are completely standard administrative duties,” not demolition orders. The Jerusalem municipality posted court notices on five apartments in the Al Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon. According to a municipality spokesman, the court notices were not demolition orders, but rather typical administrative decisions to notify residents that they will be summoned to a court hearing about illegal construction on their apartments.

Israel issues 7 stop work orders in Bethlehem area
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s Civil Administration issued seven stop work orders to home and barn owners in the Bethlehem district village of Al-Maniya.  One of the homeowners concerned, Na’eem Muhammad Rashayda, said the structures in question are unfinished and are being built on land categorized as Area C, under full Israeli planning control.

Israelis ‘building 600 new homes in West Bank’
Work has begun on up to 600 new homes in West Bank settlements since Israel lifted its curb on such construction, a senior settler official said.

Violent clashes in Bustan zone following Israeli threats to raze homes
Violent clashes broke out in Al-Bustan neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem after a large number of Israeli troops and policemen handed some citizens demolition orders issued against their homes.

Clashes erupt again in flashpoint Jerusalem district (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian youths and Israeli police clashed on Sunday in a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighbourhood after city officials served home demolition orders on residents, witnesses said.*

Extremists Settlers Assualt Arab Students In Safad
On Friday midnight, a group of extremist settlers hurled stones at students dorms, at the Academics College of Safad, in the Galilee.

Settlers Attack Dozens of Protestors, Spray Them With Wastewater
A group of fundamentalist Jewish settlers attacked on Saturday a group of nonviolent protestors who demanded Israel to reopen the Al Shuhada Street, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The settlers hurled stones at the protestors and sprayed them with waste-water.

Settlers Flood Palestinian Village With Sewage, Palestine Monitor
Beit Ummar is just one of hundreds of villages in Palestine under constant harassment from Israeli settlers. They have suffered the loss of their land, limited access to their own water supply, rocks smashing their windows, midnight arrests, tear gas, rubber bullets, and daily Israeli military aggression. The most recent insult: settlers’ feaces covering the vineyards of Beit Ummar.

Gaza’s Greek Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Bishops, following a meeting in the Vatican, have urged Israel to stop displacing Palestinians, saying that religion is not a basis for settlement building. The Bishops were attending a summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The statement will strike a chord in Gaza, which has one of the oldest Christian communities – the Greek Orthodox Church. It is just one of several Christian communities in the Gaza Strip that are less obvious than their counterparts in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from Gaza.

Children the New Target in Silwan Ethnic Cleansing Campaign, Palestine Monitor
“I asked them to give me a minute to wake him up. But they didn’t wait, they came in and took him”, said Mahmoud Mansour as he explained how the Israeli police arrested his son. Mahmoud is the father of 12-year-old Imran Mahmoud, the boy who was caught on video being forcefully hit by the car of David Beeri, head of the settler organization, Elad, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Less than ten days after Imran was critically injured by the hit-and-run, the Jerusalem police arrested him on charges of throwing stones.

Otherwise occupied / Travels with an uncle;  Raja Shehadeh: An attempt to revive landscape, names and social contacts, Amira Hass
On the plane on my way back from Istanbul, an acquaintance surprised me when he asked, in the midst of our chat, “And do you have a second passport?” The question, he explained, was the result of our shared fear of a deterioration in the political situation whose outcome is difficult to imagine.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

‘PA minister hindering boycott of settlements’ goods
Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection blames National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libda for giving vendors irregular permits to carry settlement-produced goods.,7340,L-3973879,00.html

Popular committee: 3 hurt in Bil’in rally
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in said Friday that three were injured, including a child, during its weekly anti-wall demonstration, a statement read.  Those injured had inhaled tear gas fired by Israeli forces, the statement read. Demonstrates condemned Israeli policy and the persecution of anti-wall activists, notably Abdullah Abu Rahma and Adeeb Abu Rahma.

Predawn Raids in Beit Ummar, Palestine Monitor
“They came in five jeeps,” said Mous Abu Maria, the organiser of the Beit Ummar weekly protest. “Then they started to push the door.”  The Israeli troops woke Abu Maria up at 3 am this morning. When Abu Maria opened his door, the soldiers demanded the IDs of him and his wife, and then told the family to evacuate the house. Abu Maria protested in the pre-dawn cold – his seven month old daughter Refe was sick.  “We don’t care,” the military commander said. “Get out of the house.”

TheElders join weekly protest against Palestinian evictions in East Jerusalem’s #SheikhJarrah neighbourhood

Dozens hurt at Ramallah-area demonstrations
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces dispersed two protests in the West Bank village of Nil’in and Al-Mas’ara on Friday.  A 65-year-old French activist was shot in the head with a stun grenade, onlookers in Al-Mas’ara said.  There were also reports of arrests but they could not be immediately confirmed.

People made sick with tear gas at An-Nabi Saleh; Al Ma’asara; Bil’in
Today in the village of An-Nabi Salah, the weekly non-violent demonstration took place against the illegal settlement Hamish. Unlike other villages taking part in non-violent resistance, many women, young girls and children participate in the protest. Today, there was a child demonstration. A commemoration also took place in order to remember the massacre during the second Intifada in a village where the children went to school.

Weekly anti-Wall Protest Update
Oct 23, 2010– The weekly anti-Wall protests took place across the West Bank, with an escalation of repression by the Occupation Forces, particularly arrests, during the annual olive harvest.

Weekly Repression Update 18-25 October 2010

Miriam Margolyes goes to Palestine
Much loved Jewish actress and ActionAid Ambassador Miriam Margolyes recently visited ActionAid projects in the West Bank.  Miriam has been an ActionAid supporter for over 20 years and is dedicated to seeing both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her Jewish heritage encouraged her to look deeper into the issues in the Middle East and 15 years ago, she went to Palestine for the first time.

Police repress convergence on UK weapons factory
As Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza on 13 October, activists converged on Brighton, United Kingdom for the annual mass action against the local EDO/ITT factory that produces components used in weapons by the Israeli Air Force, amongst others, to devastating effect.

It was my hope that I would never have to write this post. My public silence on the issue at hand until now was my way of protecting the image of a man so great, a man who has been the inspiration to millions of activists throughout the world.  I tried to keep to myself what I am about to tell you all, hoping it would never happen. But, it is happening, it’s official, Pete Seeger will be taking part in a Virtual Rally For A better Middle East. The event is sponsored by an organisation known as the Arava Institute. One of the major players is the Jewish National Fund.

#BDS: Guns N’ Roses: An Opportunity to Untie your Hands
Dear Guns N’ Roses,  The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was dismayed to read reports that you are considering performing in Israel later this year [1].  PACBI, supported by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society and, in particular, by almost the entire community of Palestinian cultural workers [2], views such a performance in Israel as a form of complicity in whitewashing Israel’s occupation, apartheid and war crimes.  More importantly, your upcoming performance would violate the appeal of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement [3] which urges people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Legal Memorandum by Professor Karma Nabulsi on Israel’s Accession to the OECD
Memorandum presented by Dr Karma Nabulsi, University of Oxford, to OECD member-states about their legal obligations during Israel’s accession process (May 2010)   Dr Karma Nabulsi is Fellow of St Edmund Hall and lecturer at Oxford University

A Collection of Videos from Palestine

Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Israeli military prevents UN from building new schools in Gaza; 40,000 students without schools
Nearly two years after the devastating Israeli invasion of Gaza that left 1400 dead and over 30,000 families without homes, many of the schools that were destroyed in the invasion have yet to be rebuilt. Now a United Nations effort to rebuild schools in Gaza has been cut short by the Israeli military, which refuses to give the UN permission to build several schools.

Breaking The Siege: A Promise, Palestine Monitor
150 vehicles and $5 million of aid successfully entered Gaza on Thursday, without the tragic cost of the May Flotilla. Viva Palestina’s Amena Saleem told us that organisers are delighted with the outcome, but disappointed with the Egyptian authorities.

Israeli Soldiers Continue Their Facebook Displays
The Israeli Walla News website published on Sunday several pictures published by Israeli soldiers on Facebook showing “memories” while humiliating Palestinians during the war on Gaza.  The Website said that the pictures show Palestinian detainees in degrading positions as the soldiers posed next to them.  The pictures were taken inside Palestinian homes that were broken into by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip.  One of the pictures shows two soldiers pointing their guns at the head of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian, another picture shows a soldiers writing “We will be back” and drawing the star of David at the wall of a Palestinian home.  A third picture shows a soldier carrying his gun near a Palestinian woman inside her kitchen.

Photos show Israeli troops abusing Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AP) — A group of Israeli reservists critical of the military’s treatment of Palestinians has released new photos that appear to show Israeli soldiers abusing Palestinians.  One picture shows a soldier holding an assault rifle to the head of a blindfolded Palestinian man. Another shows a soldier spray painting “Be right back” on the wall of a Gaza home.  Breaking the Silence said Monday it published the pictures on its Facebook page to rebut the military’s contention that improper conduct by soldiers is an aberration.  It was impossible to confirm the authenticity of the photos, but they resemble others that have surfaced in recent months. The military said it knew of the photos but had no immediate reaction.

First Day Of School For Bedouin Children In Bamboo Schoolhouse
It is the first day at school for the Palestinian Bedouin children of the Jahalin community, in the Judean Desert. But this year is different: they’ll be studying in a schoolhouse made of bamboo.

Israeli Injustice System

IDF prosecutors chided for using testimony of mentally disabled Palestinian witness
Account by young man puts resident of Palestinian West Bank village of Na’alin behind bars for nine months for a crime he did not commit.

Violence, Aggression and Detainees

Safed clash stirs fear among Arab students
Police boosts security following weekend incident between haredim, Arabs. ‘Several female students asked if it was safe to go to school,’ says Arab students’ representative at city’s Academic College.,7340,L-3974260,00.html

Israeli Troops Invade Hebron & Neighboring Towns
On Monday mornin, the Israeli military invaded the towns of al-Samu’, Halhol, Beit al-Rosh, Sa’er, Beit Kahel and the al-Fawar Refugee Camp near Hebron, in the southern West Bank. The military conducted inspections of Palestinian vehicles and demanded identity cards of all passengers, apparently in search of persons who were ‘wanted’ by the military.

Israeli Military Abducts 4 Palestinians, Burns The Holy Quran In Qalqilya
In monday morning, Israeli soldiers burned and tore up the holy Quran, during the invasion of the town of Jayyus, east of Qalqilya,and kidnapped 3 palestinians, 2 of whom work in the institutions of the Palestinian’s Authority.

Army Abducts Two Palestinians, Invade Homes In Hebron
On Saturday morning, the Israeli army kidnapped two Palestinians in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and broke into houses of members of the National Committee Against Settlements.

Relatives: 3 detained in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the Jayyus village in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya on Monday morning, relatives said.  Relatives said The forces also detained Wajdi Hussein Bayda, 30, and Khaled Jamil Salim, 31, were both detained from the village after Israeli forces raided the area.  The 11-year-old daughter of the third Palestinian detained, Ismail Bayda, 31, said troops entered the family home at 1 a.m., and that she saw forces blindfold her father then lead him away.

1 detained from checkpoint
JENIN (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained Muhammad Hammam Younis Samoudi, 20, from Jenin, while he was passing the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus.

IOA refuses to release Palestinian prisoner after serving his term
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is refusing to release Palestinian prisoner Shadi Abul Hussein despite ending his seven-year sentence on 31/8/2010, a Palestinian human rights group said.

Court Decides To Keep Sa’adat in Solitary Confinement For an Additional Six Months
An Israeli court decided to keep the imprisoned Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in solitary confinement for an additional six months. Ahmad Sa’adat will remain in solitary confinement until April 21, 2011.

War Criminals

Bulldozer driver testimony underscores lack of transparency in Corrie trial
Haifa, Israel – The bulldozer driver who struck and killed Rachel Corrie in March 2003, in Rafah, Gaza, testified for the first time Thursday in the civil lawsuit filed by the Corrie family against the state of Israel, but did so under extraordinary protective measures that continue to underscore the lack of transparency in the investigation as well as the trial process.

The Courtroom Security Fence, Palestine Monitor
HAIFA: Journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists were blocked from entering the Haifa courtroom yesterday. From behind a “make-shift curtain,” the driver who killed Rachel Corrie repeatedly contradicted his earlier testimony and affidavit.  Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein holding the photograph contradicting key witness testimony: “The more we hear their witnesses the more we are getting that someone is trying to white wash what happened.”  “He was lying,” Hussein Abu Hussein said. “The more we hear their witnesses the more we are getting that someone is trying to white wash what happened.”  Abu Hussein stood on the sixth floor of the Haifa courthouse, in front of his clients Cindy, Sarah and Craig Corrie. Seven years ago, their fourth family member was killed under the blade of a massive military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. They hired Abu Hussein to represent them in a civil suit to uncover the truth of Rachel Corrie’s death.

‘Even if the Israelis confess, I don’t expect any justice from them’
Maysa Samouni, whose husband Tawfiq, 21, was killed and baby daughter Jumana, now two, was injured in the building struck by missiles on 5 January, 2009, was unmoved yesterday by the progress of the investigation into the attack.

Gaza flotilla was ‘Turkish provocation’, Livni tells enquiry
Turkey exploitation of a diplomatic vacuum was behind the decision to launch aid convoy raided by Israel, opposition leader says.

Dayan: Stop probing troops for Cast Lead
Maj-Gen says soldiers who forced boy to open bags thought to contain explosives are ‘not criminals’,7340,L-3974487,00.html

Israel’s Arab Helpers

IDF planning for potential PA ban on West Bank raids
While officially the PA is responsible for security in the cities defined as Area A in the Oslo agreements the IDF carry out arrest raids there almost every night.

PA security militias transfer detainees to underground cells in Jericho prison
Ex-detainees released recently said that dozens of Palestinian prisoners was transferred by the Palestinian authority’s security apparatuses to underground cells in Jericho prison.

Hamas MPs in Jenin call on Abbas to release ex-detainees in Israeli jails
Hamas lawmakers in Jenin appealed to Mahmoud Abbas to immediately release ex-detainees Alaa Abu Khadeer and Firas Jarrar from his jails.

Hamas slams PA officers for visiting Rabin center in Tel Aviv
Hamas strongly denounced PA security officers for visiting Rabin center in Tel Aviv, saying the security apparatuses in the West Bank stooped to a serious level in its relations with Israel.

Palestinians in Europe: Abbas should be stripped of powers
Palestinians in Europe said Mahmoud Abbas should be stripped of powers over statements he made announcing plans to back down on rights of Palestinians in return for state based on 1967 borders.

Egypt arrests 55 Sudanese migrants en route to Israel
Migrants were found in the back of a truck, which was stopped in a tunnel connecting Egypt’s mainland with the Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas, Learning From the Occupiers

Gaza govt to raze ‘illegal structures’
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza government announced Monday that it has given directives to its interior ministry to raze what it has termed illegal structures on public lands and enforce previous orders to arrest those trading the land.  Head of the ministry’s land department Ibrahim Radwan said those in violation of the order had been given a deadline which has now expired and that officers would maintain permanent checkpoints, supported by police, on public lands to prevent “any violation.”

Political Development.

Report: Mash’al says ready to accept 2 states
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Hamas chief Khaled Mash’al says his group is willing to accept any peace agreement achieved between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as long as it enjoys a Palestinian consensus, Israeli media reported Thursday.  In an interview with Newsweek magazine, which was not online late Thursday, Mash’al reportedly predicted that the inception of a Palestinian state was not something that could happen in the foreseeable future, and urged Washington to “hear from us directly.”

Israel can’t use Bible to justify claims, Mideast synod says
(JTA) — A meeting of Mideast bishops declared that Israel cannot use the Bible to justify territorial claims to land in Israel.  The final statement of the two-week Synod of Bishops of the Middle East in Rome that ended Saturday blamed Israel for the conflict between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.  It rejected the use of the biblical position of the Promised Land to justify Jewish settlement of the West Bank.  “Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” the bishops said.

Israel slams ‘political attacks’ by Catholic bishops
JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday slammed critical remarks made by Middle East Catholic bishops after a meeting chaired by Pope Benedict XVI as “political attacks” on the Jewish state.  “We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement.  “The synod was hijacked by an anti-Israel majority,” he added.

Deputy FM: Anti-Israel bishops have hijacked the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI and Middle East bishops demand that Israel accept U.N. resolutions calling for an end to its occupation of Arab lands.

Other News

JTA: Cantor proposes separating Israel aid from foreign ops budget
House Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) tells JTA in an interview that should Republicans take the House of Representatives next month, he would propose separating U..S. aid to Israel from the foreign operations budget, which the GOP may vote to defund:  A Republican Congress would seek to remove funding for Israel from the foreign operations budget, a GOP leader said. U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip and the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, told JTA that a GOP-led House would seek to defund nations that do not share U.S. interests, even if it meant rejecting the president’s foreign operations budget. Cantor, of Virginia, said he wants to protect funding for Israel should that situation arise. “Part of the dilemma is that Israel has been put in the overall foreign aid looping,” he said when asked about the increasing tendency of Republicans in recent years to vote against foreign operations appropriations. “I’m hoping we can see some kind of separation in terms of tax dollars going to Israel.”

U.S. firm to build Israeli troop carrier
JERUSALEM, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Israel’s Defense Ministry has awarded the U.S. arms and aerospace giant General Dynamics a contract to build some 600 Namer (leopard in Hebrew) armored personnel carriers (APC) over the next eight years, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported Sunday.  The blocky-looking turretless vehicle is based on the Merkava MK4 tank chassis. It was developed after the 2006 Lebanon War, and, after numerous deadly Hezbollah Sagger anti-tank rocket attacks against the Israeli troops, who were then ferried in older, more lightly-armored, Vietnam-era M-113 APCs, the report said.

Foxman: US must stop Palestinians from declaring state
Anti-Defamation League head says “pipe dream” of declaring statehood without making concessions or sacrifices must be given up.

Saudi prince: Israel is America’s sewer in Mideast
Riyadh’s former ambassador to Washington accuses Obama Administration of ‘failing to curb brutal Israeli policy of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and killings’.,7340,L-3974268,00.html

History students fight to use textbook presenting both Israeli and Palestinian narratives
Sha’ar Hanegev High students demand to meet head of the Education Ministry’s pedagogical secretariat who banned the school from using the book.

‘We yeshiva students barely study’
Special: In courageous monologue, young haredi man reveals truth behind yeshiva student stipends. ‘The State gives us funds, so why should anyone work? The seculars’ money is ruining our society’.,7340,L-3974053,00.html

Rise in Arab National Service volunteers
Directorate says six times more Arabs joined service in past five years, despite leaders’ objections.,7340,L-3974580,00.html

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Sabotage: Netanyahu’s New Bag of Tricks, George S. Hishmeh
While all the world was watching, silently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has by all measures managed to sabotage the U.S. – sponsored ‘peace talks’ with the Palestinians, led by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.  Although most governments and many international organizations, particularly the United Nations, seemed handcuffed, the right-wing Israeli government has meanwhile lost significant support at home and abroad for its extremist views and subsequent shortsightedness.

Forget the Details, its all about the Land, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict may seem unbelievably complicated to most – an endless web of historical narratives, emotional claims and bitter pasts – but it all comes down to a simple premise: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is about land, plain and simple. Israel wants the rest of it and the Palestinians won’t go down without a fight in trying to keep the tiny sliver that remains. All of Israel’s hair-splitting in between – insistence on a Jewish state, more security at its borders, the threat of Hamas in Gaza – these are all minor details that divert attention away from its main goal, which is grabbing as much Palestinian land as possible before a final settlement is reached.

Chas Freeman, II, Max Ajl
A couple days ago I pointed out that Chas Freeman’s much-circulated Tufts speech, when parsed carefully, still endorsed an embrace of empire. An embrace of empire when the global North overlaps with “white” people and its victim, the global South, are “brown” people means that the latter group will die and suffer. I concluded perhaps too vehemently that a policy that inexorably leads to the murder of brown people is “racist.” But Gabriel Ash of Jews Sans Frontieres very helpfully pointed out that the terms need clarification. Chas Freeman is not a bigot. He does not run around spitting at Arabs, supporting anti-miscegenation laws, or garbed in a white-hooded cloak. He is of American Indian ancestry. He probably is very lightly, if at all, prejudiced in his personal life. I’m sure he considers African-Americans worthy of full citizenship in America, doesn’t like the Minute Men carrying out vigilante border-keeping on the US-Mexico frontier, and supports affirmative action. He is not, as Gabriel pointed out, afflicted with “racism, the theory and conscious belief of racial superiority, exclusivity and primacy, and the practices that follow intentionally from applying these beliefs.” Instead, he almost certainly accepts “racism, a system of assumptions, habits of mind, knowledge, etc., that supports unequal relations of power between racially constructed groups and that helps to both naturalize and invisibilize the domination of one group over another.”

It’s the Occupation, Stupid, Robert A. Pape
Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves Islam isn’t to blame — the root of the problem is foreign military occupations.

Rosen: ‘rogue apartheid Jewish state is not viable in current form’, Philip Weiss
Nir Rosen, to Scott Horton, on the costs of the Iraq war:  As for America’s security posture, I don’t think the Middle East should be viewed through the prism of alleged American “interests.” And I don’t think imposing its will on weaker countries increases American security. Even the weak find ways to resist. America is more insecure when it creates more enemies it didn’t need to have and meddles with the internal affairs of other countries. Certainly the Middle East was more stable before the war. America’s security posture in the Middle East involves colonial and post-colonial relations. American influence there is embattled and changing. The war in Iraq may come to be seen as a turning point, part of a decline in American influence in the region. But there are other things happening at the same time. The Saudi regime is unsustainable and the Egyptian regime is disintegrating. These two countries are pillars of the American regional architecture. And the third pillar, Israel, is not viable in its current form as an increasingly rogue apartheid Jewish state. Finally, the American military is exhausted and losing its conventional skills after nearly ten years of occupation while the power of asymmetrical tactics against a conventional behemoth has been demonstrated.

Can I Be on Abe Foxman’s Hit List?
Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and others are on the defensive now that the hate-monger Abe Foxman and his Anti-Defamation League have listed them as anti-Israel.  The groups respond with all the right comments about the plight of the Palestinians. These groups represent a wide collective of Jewish and non-Jewish pro-human rights groups. They recognize the Nakba (ethnic cleansing of Palestinians between 1947-49), the apartheid wall, and BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions). But like many on the ‘left’, they’re afraid to stand up to the more powerful (like ADL, AIPAC, Democratic Party, etc.) and say ‘Screw You’.

The Legacy of Mubarak, Ali Younes
Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, former Air Force General became president of Egypt after the assassination of President Mohammad Anwar Al Sadat by Muslim extremists on 6 October 1981. President Mubarak, as a result, became the longest serving president of Egypt since Mohammad Ali Pasha, who ruled Egypt from 1805-1849.

One on One – Clovis Maksoud
The veteran diplomat and scholar discusses life in the center of Arab regional politics and East-West issues.


Hariri hails Catholic bishops’ call to end Israeli occupation
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri hailed Sunday a call by Catholic bishops for the international community to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, while Israeli officials reacted angrily to the appeal. The “participation [of Christian thinkers] in challenging the Zionist project is a necessity for Muslims not to be left alone in this confrontation.

ITU decries Israeli breaches of Lebanese telecom sector
BEIRUT: The press office of Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas issued a statement over the weekend about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference condemning Israel’s violation of Lebanon’s telecoms sector, saying that the sector has been and is still being subjected to Israeli interference, reported As-Safir newspaper over the weekend.


Sunday: 6 Iraqis Killed, 21 Wounded
The Iraqi Supreme Court ordered parliament to reconvene despite the failure of party leaders to form the new government. Meanwhile, six Iraqis were killed and 21 more were wounded in and near Mosul. Oddly, no other reports surfaced.

Iraq ‘exaggerates and politicizes’ its oil wealth
Iraq’s bragging about its oil riches, future production and plans cannot be taken seriously, according to a former oil minister.  Isam al-Jalabi, an oil expert with international status, urged the Iraqi government to stop politicizing its oil wealth and tell Iraqis the truth about its oil plans.  “You (the government) should stop politicizing oil and gas contracts … your (oil and gas projects) are not worth the paper they are written on. Your projects have no economic feasibility and are promoted merely for political purposes,” Jalabi said in an interview.\2010-10-21\kurd.htm

Iraqi leaders not following US advice on gov’t:?
American influence has so dwindled in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington’s advice for forming a government.

Iran, Iraq leaders discuss boosting ties (AFP)
AFP – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad telephoned his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani and discussed boosting relations between the two neighbours, state media reported on Monday.*

Iran’s role in Iraq
The leaked documents reveal Iran’s extensive role in Iraq, with thousands of reports of Tehran funding and suppling Shia militias. Many of these reports implicate members of Iran’s intelligence services, accusing them of building bombs and even manning checkpoints in Baghdad.

US State Dept. will hire another 7,000 security contractors in Iraq
Corbin stated that State Department will hire another 7,000 security contractors once Congress comes through with a 2011 budget, in which State Department has requested USD 2.6 billion for operations in Iraq.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Growing in Iraqi Forces
With insurgents still a threat in Iraq and American forces about to leave, growing numbers of Iraqi soldiers and police officers are becoming dependent on alcohol and drugs.

Frost over the World – Iyad Allawi
The former Iraqi president and leader of the coalition that narrowly won the parliamentary elections held in March joins Sir David from Baghdad to talk about the ongoing electoral deadlock in his country.


Baghdad to investigate role of Blackwater in deaths
The Iraqi government says that it will investigate whether employees of the Blackwater security company were involved in hitherto undisclosed killings that emerged from the Wikileaks documents.

Iraqis respond to WikiLeaks files
The official reaction from the Iraqi government to the release of WikiLeaks files about the country has been measured in tone. But many members of the Iraqi public say the leaked documents reflect what they had long suspected was the truth. Rawya Rageh reports from Baghdad.

What did the US think of Nouri al-Maliki?
The leaked documents allege that Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki operated a “detention squad,” a group of Iraqi army soldiers responsible for rounding up his political opponents. They also reveal that US troops worried he would be perceived as using his position for sectarian power grabs, and show him as a frequent target for assassination attempts.

Leaked Iraq war files portray weak, divided nation (AP)
AP – The enormous cache of secret war logs disclosed by the WikiLeaks website paints a picture of an Iraq burdened by persistent sectarian tension and meddling neighbors, suggesting that the country could drift into chaos once U.S. forces leave.*

Files show al-Qaeda’s grip on Iraq
Leaked documents show how al-Qaeda arrived in Iraq after the US military overthrew Saddam’s government.

Brit soldier ‘killed Iraq girl aged eight as she played’
A British soldier shot dead an eight-year-old Iraqi girl as she played in the street, it was claimed yesterday.  The explosive allegation was made at a press conference about the secret “war logs” from the US military released by the whistleblowing Wikileaks website. Lawyer Phil Shiner said the murder happened while soldiers were handing out sweets to children.

Iraq war logs: Operation Steel Curtain and its 25 ignored civilian casualties
Military trumpeted Husaybah campaign as victory over foreign fighters but didn’t mention the innocents lying in the rubble.  In press releases and other public statements on their major offensives in Iraq, US officials consistently downplayed the numbers of civilians they killed – or denied killing any at all. The secret reports from the frontline that form the bulk of the leaked war logs routinely follow this policy, giving totals of EKIA (enemy killed in action) but providing no evidence of attempts to check whether the bodies are those of insurgents or unarmed civilians.

Iraq war logs: Battle for Samarra killed dozens of innocent people
Blow-by-blow files say nothing about 48 or more civilians killed in Operation Baton Rouge against insurgent strongholds.  Laden with heavy weaponry the AC-130 gunships were ready, the 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry was poised for attack and, sitting in front of their computer screens, US intelligence officers were about to record an extraordinary blow-by-blow account of the biggest US offensive since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Iraq war logs: Apache attack’s child victims speak out
Cockpit video of gunship attack that killed 19 and gravely injured two children was first major leak of Iraq war material.  On a hot July day in 2007, taxi driver Salah Mutasher Toman swept his two young children into the passenger seat of his white minivan. He bade his brother, Sabah Toman, farewell and started making his way home, a short drive across the neighbourhood, through militia-held territory.  The area had echoed with explosions that morning. A fight had been brewing. But that was nothing new in Baghdad during that particular bloody summer. Salah planned on bunkering down with his family for the day to ride out the routine of heat and violence. He didn’t get further than 400 metres before his van was blown apart by a hovering American helicopter. Salah died, along with six other people in his van. His son Sajad and daughter Duah were gravely wounded.

Rights lawyer comments on torture claims
Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer, talks to Al Jazeera about WikiLeak’s revelation that US forces in Iraq turned a blind eye to prisoner abuse. He says the US is beyond the reach of any external repercussions because it’s not a signatory to the Rome treaty which formed the International Criminal Court.

Torture, killing, children shot – and how the US tried to keep it all quiet
The largest leak in history reveals the true extent of the bloodshed unleashed by the decision to go to war in Iraq – and adds at least 15,000 to its death toll.

Kucinich on WikiLeaks: ‘American people have a right to know’
from Headlines by Muriel Kane
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) responded to the WikiLeaks release on Friday with a statement saying, “We need a true accounting of the war in Iraq. The American people have a right to know how many innocent civilians were killed in a war based on lies.” “We must remember that the Iraqi people are still grieving […]

Amnesty International:  USA must investigate detainee abuse claims in Wikileaks files
Amnesty International calls on the USA to investigate how much US officials knew about the torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces after new evidence emerged in files released by the Wikileaks organization.  Amnesty International today called on the USA to investigate how much US officials knew about the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held by Iraqi security forces after new evidence emerged in files released by the Wikileaks organization on Friday.

Spiegel: WikiLeaks logs may reveal war crimes
In its early analysis of the Iraq war logs released by whistleblower site WikiLeaks on Friday, the German paper Der Spiegel pointed to several accounts of what it calls “dubious attacks” by US Apache helicopters that may have amounted to war crimes.

WikiLeaks Exposes Rumsfeld’s Lies (The Daily Beast)
The Daily Beast – Recent revelations by Wikileaks show how top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world. Ellen Knickmeyer on the carnage she saw as Baghdad bureau chief.*

The Secret Iraq Files
It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint – revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat. This special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq.

WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs Expose U.S.-Backed Iraqi Torture, 15,000 More Civilian Deaths, and Contractors Run Amok
The online whistleblower WikiLeaks has released some 390,000 classified U.S. documents on the Iraq War — the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history and the greatest internal account of any war on public record. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the violence, torture, and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. Despite U.S. government claims to the contrary, the war logs show the Pentagon kept tallies of civilian deaths in Iraq. The group Iraq Body Count says the files contain evidence of an additional 15,000 previously unknown Iraqi civilian casualties. The number is likely far higher as the war logs omit many instances where U.S. forces killed Iraqi civilians, including the U.S. assault on Fallujah in 2004. The war logs also show the U.S. imposed a formal policy to ignore human rights abuses committed by the Iraqi military. Under an order known as “Frago 242” issued in June 2004, coalition troops were barred from investigating any violations committed by Iraqi troops against other Iraqis. Hundreds of cases of killings, torture, and rape at the hands of the Iraqi troops were ignored. To help analyze the documents, we hold a round table discussion with three guests including David Leigh, the investigations editor at The Guardian newspaper of London, and investigative journalists Pratap Chatterjee and Nir Rosen.

Frago 242, Justin Raimondo
The biggest US security breach in our history, carried off by WikiLeaks, reveals a wealth of information – hundreds of thousands of field reports, the raw material collected by the US military on the ground in Iraq. It will be quite a while before the “gems” are mined from this treasure trove, but initially the one that stands out as the jewel in the crown is the revelation of “Frago 242” – an order from high up in the US military command instructing officers not to investigate reports of torture and other human rights violations by their Iraqi allies. As the Guardian, one of the media outlets given privileged access to the database prior to its general release, reports.


Lieberman orders ‘day after’ plans for tackling nuclear Iran
While government remains committed to prevention, contingency plan hints Israel may be losing faith in the world’s ability to halt Tehran’s atomic program – either diplomatically or by force.

US to check whether Venezuela-Iran deals violate sanctions
The United States will be vigilant of the deals made between Venezuela and Iran to make sure that they do not violate sanctions against Tehran, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, said on Thursday.

Bolivian president to visit Iran
TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales will arrive in Iran on Sunday evening for a four-day visit, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.  Morales is expected to fly to northwestern city of Tabriz on Monday to visit some industrial units, and will officially meet with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential office on Tuesday.

Armenian prime minister to visit Iran on ties
TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan will visit Tehran on Monday with a trade delegation, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.  Officially invited by Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Sarkisyan led a trade delegation from Armenian Chamber of Commerce to attend a economic conference in Tehran, Iranian ambassador to Yerevan Ali Saghaian told ISNA.

Inside Story – Cutting ties with Iran?
With countries following the sanctions and others dragging their feet, what impact are the sanctions having on the economies of Iran’s trading partners? And are the sanctions designed to drag Iran back to the negotiating table?

U.S. and other world news

How Paul Wolfowitz Authorized Human Experimentation at Guantánamo, Andy Worthington
Last week, Truthout published an important article by Jason Leopold, Truthout’s Deputy Managing Editor, and psychologist and blogger Jeffrey Kaye, revealing, for the first time, a secret memorandum dated March 25, 2002, approved by deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, which authorized human experimentation on detainees in the “War on Terror.” The release of the memo followed some little-noticed maneuvering in Congress in December 2001, when the requirement of “informed consent” in any experimentation by the Defense Department (introduced in 1972) was quietly dropped.

Filipinos aim to give US army the boot
Some 3,000 United States Marines are currently in the Philippines for joint training exercises with their Filipino counterparts amid mounting opposition calls to scrap a controversial bilateral military pact.

Islam in the West

Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear
Steven Emerson has 3,390,000 reasons to fear Muslims.  That’s how many dollars Emerson’s for-profit company — Washington-based SAE Productions — collected in 2008 for researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism. The payment came from the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a nonprofit charity Emerson also founded, which solicits money by telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims.

‘Surfing rabbi’ rallies with British anti-Islam group outside Israel embassy
Rabbi Nachum Shifren is running for state senate under the Tea Party banner and is is considered a long shot to represent west Los Angeles in the California senate.

‘There is no such thing as tourism in an occupied city’

Oct 25, 2010

Philip Weiss

There are days that I think that Israel can be redeemed without violence, and this video gives me hope. Watch these human-rights activists, many of them Israeli speaking Hebrew, leading creative protests of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) annual tourism conference held in Jerusalem last week. “Jerusalem-based activists were on-hand to highlight the reality of the Israeli apartheid system, and let OECD delegates know that there is no such thing as tourism in an occupied city,” says the video.

Note the repeated stagings of Palestinian arrests and handcuffings and blindfoldings outside the Israel Museum as the attendees arrive. Note the parody of Eden Abergil’s facebook moment. Note the activist who approaches a bus full of OECD tourism people chanting the Israeli mantra:

It’s nothing really, it’s just some Palestinians that we arrested for some really bad crimes. It’s nothing that you should be concerned with.

Stop with the cameras!

Thanks to Max Blumenthal.

‘AP’ grants prominence to hasbara re Catholic bishops

Oct 25, 2010

Philip Weiss

This AP story on the Catholic bishops’ criticism of Israel focuses almost entirely on Israel’s view that the synod was “hijacked.” Three substantial quotes are offered from two Israeli officials.

For quotations of non-Israeli views longer than one word, one must click through to the second page.

Doron Spielman Doron Spielman

Oct 25, 2010

Philip Weiss

A number of friends have pointed out a slightly-unsettling-in-a-way-you-can’t-put-your-finger-on-it aspect of the 60 Minutes piece last Sunday night on occupied East Jerusalem: the affable spokesman for the religious occupiers, with an American accent, is one Doron Spielman.

And Doron Spielman is also featured in the documentary Budrus, as a spokesman for the Israeli government as it builds its wall on Palestinian lands. The same guy, a few years earlier.

Different roles. But in both cases, Spielman is smoothly defending human rights violations. In the first case, stealing people’s land so as to make Jews safe, he says; too bad if Palestinians lose their land, we are saving Israelis’ lives. Then, as international director of development for the City of David, he crows to Lesley Stahl about the “return of the Jewish people to Israel after thousands of years…”


Stahl lets him bleat nationalist cant about King David, Abraham, and the Jewish people. “This tunnel is 3850 years old. This is exactly original… This is the original old flooring.. The whole beginning of life in ancient Jerusalem happened from this little spring which is nestled in this little cave…”

As Matt Duss wrote in a note he shared:

Doron Spielman’s essentially taking the same approach in both. In Budrus, it’s Israeli security — as arbitrarily defined by Israel, of course — that’s paramount, and there can be no questioning of it, even by the end, when the route of the wall has somehow magically been changed without compromising that security. In the 60 mins segment, it’s Jewish history that’s paramount, and there can be no questioning of the rights of Jews to excavate and establish their historic claim. In both cases, the rights of actual living human beings are treated as, at best, collateral damage.

Oh and here he is on Al-Jazeera as an IDF spokesman during the Gaza onslaught.

I don’t know why I find it so unsettling. Because the story changes so completely from one line of crap to another… Because neither Budrus nor 60 makes an effort to interrogate Spielman’s personal investment, his privileged emigration to this neocolonialist project… Or because he reminds me of those other cold American shapeshifters, Daniel Gordis, Ron Dermer, Dore Gold, Michael Oren, and Benjamin Netanyahu, who go from suburban privilege to militaristic religious nationalism in a New York second…

Or maybe it’s just the feeling of being lied to… 

Yes and what are Spielman’s archaelolgical bona fides for his stretchers about Abraham and David walking those stones. Does he have any training besides nationalist indoctrination? Does anyone even care? Where is Shlomo Sand, who was derided as “political” when his book was published here? As if his political values are not different from Spielman’s, and eminently superior.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Israel embraces corruption and yet the world embraces Israel  

26 Oct 2010

So Israel is racist and corrupt, that’s quite a combination. Must make so many Zionists very proud:

Israel ranks among the most corrupt countries in the Western world, according to a study released by the International Transparency Organization on Tuesday.

Out of 178 countries – 1 being least corrupt – Israel was listed at number 30. But when compared to other member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Israel fared much worse.

The least corrupt countries were listed as Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.

Israel received a score of 6.1 out of 10 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector.

That score positions Israel in the 22nd place out of 33 members of the OECD.

In May 2010, the OECD unanimously voted in favor of accepting Israel as a member of the group. However, Israel is the organization’s poorest member, with the widest social gaps.

Israel’s CPI score has not significantly improved since 2007. In 1997, Israel received a relatively high score of 7.9 ranking number 15 in the world, but has deteriorated considerably since then.

However, Transparency International identified Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar as states where improvement had been made over the past year.

“As opposed to Israel, other countries are improving, and that is a problem,” said Transparency International Israel CEO Galia Sagi on Tuesday.



Wikileaks revelations? Nothing to see here, says WPost 

26 Oct 2010

The US corporate press has spent years suppressing the crimes and excesses of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan – the Washington Post’s former Baghdad bureau chief says that Wikileaks proves the US administration has been lying for years – and yet this Washington Post editorial says everybody should just calm down and move on. Dream on, suckers:

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claimed at a news conference over the weekend that the release by his organization of 391,000 classified documents on the war in Iraq was intended to “correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued after the war.” In fact the mass leak, like a dump of documents on Afghanistan in the summer, mainly demonstrates that the truth about Iraq already has been told.

The news organizations granted privileged access to the documents, including the New York Times and Britain’s Guardian, have focused on reports that Iraqi security forces abused and tortured prisoners; that private security contractors often acted recklessly and violated rules of engagement; and that U.S. soldiers sometimes killed Iraqi civilians at checkpoints. All these stories are troubling. But the incidents were extensively reported by Western journalists and by the U.S. military when they occurred.

One of the most interesting of the leaks appears to show that despite the Bush administration’s statements to the contrary, U.S. officials did keep a count of the number of Iraqis killed in the war. But the figure for deaths between 2003 and 2009, 109,032, is in the ballpark of counts compiled by independent organizations such as Iraq Body Count — which raised its estimate from 107,000 to 122,000 after seeing the leaked American data. The report confirms that the vast majority of Iraqi civilian deaths were caused by other Iraqis, not by coalition forces; claims such as those published by the British journal The Lancet that American forces slaughtered hundreds of thousands are the real “attack on truth.”

War opponents dismissed as propaganda the Bush administration’s assertions that Iran was behind much of the violence. But as the Times reported, “the field reports disclosed by Wikileaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran’s role has been seen by the American military.” There is evidence that Iran supplied Iraqi militias with rockets, car bombs, surface to air missiles, and roadside explosives that killed or wounded hundreds of Americans.

Mr. Assange believes his leaks, like the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers, will radically change perceptions of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which he says he is trying to end. Instead he has offered abundant evidence that there is no secret history of Iraq or Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Wikileaks appears to have put the lives of courageous Afghans at risk, by identifying them as American sources. In Iraq, it has at least temporarily complicated negotiations to form a new government.

We are all for the disclosure of important government information; but Mr. Assange’s reckless and politically motivated approach, while causing tangible harm, has shed relatively little light.



UK shows us civilised folk how to enforce nakedness  

26 Oct 2010

Iran tortures people and makes them suffer in detention. We in the West are nice and pure, believing in the rule of law.

Oh, but wait a minute:

The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions, the Guardian has discovered.

Training materials drawn up secretly in recent years tell interrogators they should aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning, and suggest ways in which this can be achieved.

One PowerPoint training aid created in September 2005 tells trainee military interrogators that prisoners should be stripped before they are questioned. “Get them naked,” it says. “Keep them naked if they do not follow commands.” Another manual prepared around the same time advises the use of blindfolds to put prisoners under pressure.

A manual prepared in April 2008 suggests that “Cpers” – captured personnel – be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated. Sensory deprivation is lawful, it adds, if there are “valid operational reasons”. It also urges enforced nakedness.

More recent training material says blindfolds, earmuffs and plastic handcuffs are essential equipment for military interrogators, and says that while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours in each 24, they need be permitted only four hours unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions.

The 1949 Geneva conventions prohibit any “physical or moral coercion”, in particular any coercion employed to obtain information.



Aussie Zionist leader is mates with radical settler and peace is never on their minds

 26 Oct 2010

Major Australian Zionist lobbyist Albert Dadon likes to move in the halls of power, romancing the political and media elite. It’s not hard to impress when junkets are arranged to enjoy the wonders of occupying Israel.

And now this:

The Palestinians are saying one thing in English while contradicting themselves in Arabic, according to Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus.

Speaking to a small gathering hosted by Albert Dadon, founder of the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum on Tuesday, the Israel-based activist broadcast numerous media clips, which he said showed the Palestinian people are not ready for peace.

While the US Government and the Middle East Quartet (the UN, US, EU and Russia) have made recognition of the Jewish State a prerequisite for peace talks, state-sanctioned Palestinian television stations continue to ignore the Jewish State.

Marcus showed footage from a recent documentary, which speaks of the Palestinian state spreading along the Mediterranean from Gaza and Ashkelon to Haifa. He also displayed pages from schoolbooks with the Palestinian flag covering all the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“There is a constant message to see a world in which Israel does not exist,” Marcus explained. “This is a basic problem of recognition. There is no message to perceive a world where Israel is a reality.”

Just last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the world he believes an Israeli state and a Palestinian state can live side-by-side. However, the message from Fatah-run TV is very different.

“There is no comparison to what is being said in English, it is a whole other category,” Marcus explained, saying he had addressed the issue with the US and Israeli Administrations, which are both taking it very seriously.

A second major concern, according to the Palestinian Media Watch founder, is that glorification of  violence continues in the territories.









Unfortunately for Dadon, there is something called the internet. Itamar Marcus is connected with the most radical and violent of West Bank settlers. Here’s Hanan Ashrawi writing about him recently:

At a press conference [in the US] last week, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon appeared alongside Itamar Marcus, a right-wing settler and director of an Israeli NGO called Palestinian Media Watch, to receive a report produced by PMW. Later in the week, Marcus appeared on Capitol Hill to present his report to Congress. In the U.S., PMW has been running ads on major television networks of late echoing the accusations of incitement against President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.

What Ayalon and Marcus failed to mention is that PMW is closely connected to the New York-based Central Fund of Israel, which gives money to some of the most extreme elements in Israel’s settler movement, including a yeshiva in a West Bank settlement that is home to Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, who published a book last year justifying the killing of gentile babies on the grounds they might grow up to pose a threat to the state.

Ironically, if PMW’s television ads were produced by Palestinians and aimed at Israelis, they would no doubt constitute incitement according Israel’s definition. Indeed, that definition seems to include any action or statement critical of Israeli policy. Thus, the encouragement of non-violent protest against Israel’s 43-year-old military occupation, the banning of goods produced in settlements by the PA, and attempts to make Israel respect Palestinian rights at international forums like the United Nations all qualify. 




Nice friends Dadon is making here and somebody that people should now about. He is introducing Zionist purveyors of hate to talk about Palestinian violence?


Finding Serco staff involved in unaccountable abuse; all in a day’s work  

26 Oct 2010

The reach of private company Serco is global and its human rights record remains abysmal. Yet it continues receiving lucrative contracts. That should stop:

Prison campaigners last night called for a review of a North-East secure unit after revelations that 21 children had suffered injuries while being restrained.

The injuries were sustained by children at the privatelyrun Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, near Consett, County Durham, between June last year and May.

Officials defended the centre’s record last night, insisting the use of force was a last resort.

The unit has been at the centre of controversy since a 14-year-old died in its custody six years ago.

Adam Rickwood, from Burnley, Lancashire, hanged himself hours after being restrained by staff who used a controversial technique that involved striking him in the face. The “nose distraction”

method was authorised at the time but has since been banned.

Youth Justice Board statistics show that between April 2008 and March last year restraint was used 543 times on children in Hassockfield – an average of 45 times a month.

The Howard League for Penal Reform last night accused the educational watchdog Ofsted, which oversees secure training centres, of failing children in Hassockfield’s care.

In a letter, it said: “Children held in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre (STC) have been subject to violence, danger, fear and, possibly, abuse, yet Ofsted has failed to acknowledge this and prevent it.

“The inspection regime for STCs has failed to provide assurance that children in these institutions are being cared for safely.

“Two children have died while being held in an STC and, in both instances, restraint was a key factor.”

The group has a long standing opposition to privatelyrun prisons for children.

Director Frances Crook said: “It is time that we ended the obscene experiment with locking up children… and closed down these prisons.”

It has written to North-West Durham MP Pat Glass, calling for an overhaul of those responsible for the inspection of Hassockfield and similar units for children.

Mrs Glass said she would be seeking a meeting with staff to discuss their resources and training.

The MP, who has a background in the education of people with behavioural and special needs, said: “This is about the level of training and resources that staff are receiving.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “The Howard League has a long-established view that secure training centres should be closed. Ofsted respects this.

“Our responsibility is to inspect and report on the evidence.

“The use of restraint is something that we scrutinise rigorously. We extensively review records of restraint, including the viewing of CCTV footage.

“We meet with both the Youth Justice Board and the local authority who are responsible for monitoring the use of restraint, and the advocates who visit the young people weekly. Most importantly, we talk to young people themselves, without staff present.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Restraint is only ever used as a last resort when young people’s behaviour puts themselves or others at serious risk.

“In response to recommendations made in 2007, the National Offender Management Service has developed conflict resolution training designed to provide staff with measures reducing the need for force.

“Staff will apply restraint techniques as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

“Even where a young person is restrained, the emphasis will continue to be on using de-escalation techniques to minimise the use of force.”

The Government awarded a 15-year contract for running Hassockfield to private operator Serco in 1999.

The unit houses up to 58 young people aged 12 to 17, who are described by Serco as “some of the most damaged and difficult young people in the country”.

A spokesman said: “Our staff operate to a high standard of professionalism. Physical control is only used as a last resort. They do a good job, often in difficult circumstances, working with a demanding and challenging group of young people.”



Almost funny hearing how the Pentagon does damage control 

25 Oct 2010

Danny Schechter adds some intriguing details behind the Wikileaks story:

The Pentagon had been bracing for the release for months. Fearing more compromises of national security and more embarrassment for practices they wanted hidden, they had set up a WikiLeaks war room staffed with 120 operatives in anticipation.

A special intelligence unit called the Red Cell was involved. The task has been to prod the American spy networks to operate in a cleverer and more intelligent manner. (Ironically, WikiLeaks had leaked some of their internal reports earlier.)

One report dealt with perceptions abroad that the US supported terrorists. Another was oriented toward how to sell support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Western Europe, counseling that “counting on apathy is not enough.”

I can testify to their savvy. I met members of the unit at a University of Westminister conference on war and terrorism in London in September.  There were three of them. Two stood out because of their crew cuts and military demeanor. A third was a Muslim woman. They were clearly on a reconnaissance mission probably linked to WikiLeaks detection since it had been reported that English students were helping the covert citizen agency target covert government activities.

I spoke at some length with their leader, an active-duty army major, who told me that his unit in Iraq handled high-value prisoners, including Saddam Hussein. (They escorted him to the hangman, he revealed.) He was very friendly and made no secret of his affiliation but clearly was not at a leftist academic conference to collect footnotes. 

As we know now, the Pentagon was unable to stop the release, but may have pressured WikiLeaks not to name names. We may never know what happened until WikiLeaks finds some document about their anti-WikiLeaks operations.


Let’s hope that Australia’s war aims are negatively affected by Wikileaks  

25 Oct 2010

So after all the bluster and threats against Wikileaks, the group’s greatest crime was revealing the sordid nature of the Afghan quagmire:

A defence taskforce has concluded that leaked US military documents on Afghanistan said nothing about Australian forces that hadn’t already been disclosed.

The investigation, launched in July after the whistleblower organisation Wikileaks released some 77,000 US military documents on the Afghanistan conflict, found there had been no direct significant adverse impact on Australia’s national interests.

Defence said operational areas of the department had confirmed that necessary measures were taken to mitigate against risks to operational security. 

As well, no local sources were clearly identified and steps had been taken to mitigate the risk of that occurring.

“The taskforce found that significant operational issues relating to Australia referred to in the leaked materials had already been publicly reported by Defence and, in most cases, reported in greater detail than in the leaked materials,” it said in a statement.

The documents leaked were predominantly US military field and intelligence reports, which featured occasional mentions of coalition nations.



Why can’t the US just kill Assange (asks caring Fox man)

25 Oct 2010

Welcome to the world of Rupert Murdoch, a man of principle who runs a global organisation of the highest ethical code:

Leading the attack on whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, Fox News editorialist and former Bush-era US State Department official Christian Whiton said on Monday that the US should classify the proprietors of WikiLeaks as “enemy combatants,” opening up the possibility of “non-judicial actions” against them.


We have seen the Iraq war and America is to blame

 25 Oct 2010

Hold the laughter. Washington is super serious about Iraq lives. America would never allow prisoners to be abused and tortured. Thankfully nobody actually believes a word the US says about the Iraq war; Wikileaks documents a world of chaos, torture, murder and violence.

The US has defended its record of probing civilian deaths and abuse in Iraq after graphic revelations in leaked secret documents triggered worldwide condemnation.

The whistle-blower WikiLeaks website on Friday released nearly 400,000 classified files on the Iraq war, the biggest leak of its kind in US military history, detailing the deaths of 15,000 more Iraqi civilians than the Pentagon had reported.

Colonel Dave Lapan, Pentagon spokesman, said on Monday the US military never claimed to have an exact count of the number of civilians killed in Iraq.

He noted that estimates made by private organisations of civilian deaths in Iraq also varied.

“Over the years, it has been impossible for the various organisations … to come to agreement on a specific figure,” Lapan said.

But Lapan said WikiLeaks and the Pentagon were working from the same database to collect civilian death toll figures and was sceptical that the group had made any new discovery.

US forces went into morgues to count bodies, said General George Casey, the army chief of staff, who served as the top US military commander in Iraq from 2004-2007.

“I don’t recall downplaying civilian casualties,” Casey told reporters.

Still, the US military routinely gave lower casualty figures during the war than Iraqi police or hospital

Some of the documents released on Friday contain accounts of Iraqi forces abusing Iraqi prisoners and the US military not investigating those instances.

But US officials on Monday said the military had not systematically ignored cases of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqi forces.

“That’s just not the case,” Casey told reporters. “Our policy all along was that where American soldiers encountered prisoner abuse (they were) to stop it and then report it immediately up the US chain of command and the Iraqi chain of command.”

Thousands of Iraqi officials have been removed from Iraq’s interior ministry after revelations that mainly Sunni prisoners were being held in secret prisons near the 2006-2007 height of the sectarian conflict pitting Iraq’s majority Shia Muslims against minority Sunni Muslims.

The US military, having drawn international condemnation in 2004 over the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail outside Baghdad, lost the right to detain Iraqis under a bilateral security pact that went into effect in 2009.

Barack Obama, the US president, who opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq launched by his predecessor President George W Bush, formally ended the US combat mission in Iraq in August and has promised to withdraw the last 48,000 US troops from Iraq by the end of next year.

Obama signed three executive orders shortly after taking office, vowing to return America to the “moral high ground” in the so-called war on terrorism.

The implication was that the United States would do more to make sure terror suspects were not tortured or abused – either at the hands of US forces or by governing authorities to whom the detainees were handed over for detention or interrogation.

Yet, in one leaked document from a US military intelligence report filed February 9, 2009 – just weeks after Obama ordered US personnel to comply with the Geneva Conventions – an Iraqi said he was detained by coalition forces at his Baghdad home and was told he would be sent to the Iraqi army if he did not co-operate.

According to the document, the detainee was then handed over to Iraqis where he said he was beaten and given electric shocks.

US interrogators also cleared detainees for questioning, despite signs that they had suffered abuse from Iraqi security forces, the documents show.

One report by a US interrogation detention team based in Baghdad on April 2, 2009, summarises claims made by a prisoner who said he was hog-tied and beaten with a shovel as part of days-long torture ordeal at the hands of the Iraqi army.

The report noted he had a catalogue of “minor injuries,” including “rope burns on the back of his legs and a possible busted ear drum.”

“We have not turned a blind eye,” PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, said on Monday, noting that one of the reasons why US troops were still in Iraq was to carry out human rights training with Iraqi security forces.

“Our troops were obligated to report abuses to appropriate authorities and to follow up, and they did so in Iraq,” Crowley said. “If there needs to be an accounting, first and foremost there needs to be an accounting by the Iraqi government itself, and how it has treated its own citizens.”

Daniel Ellsberg, who is credited for leaking the 1971 Pentagon Papers that exposed secrets about the
Vietnam War, said he was not sure the
recently leaked documents would have much of an impact – either in Iraq or in the United States.

“This is official evidence that there was a cover-up of crimes, either by turning suspects over or torturing them directly,” Ellsberg told The Associated Press on Monday night.

“I don’t have confidence that even a massive change of public opinion will have an effect, but even if there is a small chance it could change policy, it is worth it.”



How is life at Villawood detention centre?  

25 Oct 2010

The effect of Australia’s immigration detention centres on human lives is often ignored. Villawood in outer Sydney has seen years of privatised prison time. Here are two moving stories


The Stories Project: Villawood Mums from CuriousWorks on Vimeo.







Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Israel should take an example of co-existence from Jewish day schools in the diaspora, where non-Jews and Jews work together for the general good.

By Alex Sinclair and Robbie Gringras
It seems to us that most Israelis – even liberal-minded ones – suspect that no matter how we treat Palestinian-Israeli citizens, they will never be truly integrated into mainstream society.

Even if we were to ensure an equal distribution of resources, even if Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were to stop threatening them with loyalty oaths, even if we were to make peace with the Arab world – there would remain something inherently problematic about a non-Jewish minority in a Jewish ethnic state.

Lurking beneath the desire to do right by Palestinian-Israelis, there lays a secret form of ideological despair reflecting a wide belief that at the end of the day, there is nothing to be done. The circle cannot be squared. It is impossible to imagine a Palestinian-Israeli living as a completely equal citizen in a Jewish state, and we just have to get used to that.

We would like to offer a model of hope. Where might the Jewish people look in order to find guidance for this apparently impossible situation? One possible context for analogy might be much closer to home than we think: the Jewish day school in the Diaspora.

The Jewish day school is the nearest thing that the Diaspora has to a sovereign eco-system outside of Israel. Inside the Jewish day school, just like in Israel, the calendar runs on Jewish time: there is early dismissal on Friday, and homework is not given over Jewish holidays. Inside the Jewish day school, just like in Israel, public space takes on a Jewish character: there are signs in Hebrew, there are public areas for religious gatherings, and Jewish symbols are ubiquitous.

Inside the Jewish day school, just like in Israel, there is an unwritten expectation that Jewish civilization should be a foundational element in the system’s ongoing management and self-reflection. The school’s “Jewish Character” is built-in.

As similar eco-systems, albeit on different scales, some of the dilemmas that Jewish day schools and Israeli society share are remarkably similar. Jewish Day Schools (especially ones with a pluralist mandate) must figure out how to observe Passover when not all students keep kosher. Jewish day schools must grapple with the tensions between Jewish culture and the benefits of Western civilization. Most interestingly, Jewish Day Schools, like Israel, must figure out ways to create a compelling Jewish environment whichby definition will contain non-Jews in its midst.

Every Jewish Day School that we know contains non-Jews within it. Many Jewish day schools employ custodial staff members that are not Jewish. Nearly all Jewish day school hires non-Jewish teachers. In some Jewish day schools, some senior members of the administrative leadership are non-Jews. There have even been cases where a Jewish day school’s principal is not Jewish – and the sky has not come crashing down.

What are the responsibilities of non-Jews who wish to be principal of Jewish day school? First, they must feel a deep and abiding respect for the Jewish people and Jewish traditions, albeit from the outside. They must understand the Jewish people’s history, vision, needs, and neuroses. They must be sensitive to circumstances that may demand that she delegate certain responsibilities or situations to trusted Jewish deputies. They must have an absolute commitment to the Jewish future of their students and their families.

How could a non-Jew honestly and easily fulfill these criteria?

Non-Jews who wish to become senior leaders or principals of Jewish day schools do not magically sprout into existence. They are usually people who have been treated with deep and abiding respect by their Jewish colleagues over many years. They have been exposed to the finest that Jewish texts and traditions can offer our moral lives. They have been invited graciously into the homes and families of their Jewish colleagues. They have seen that lives imbued with Judaism are rich, beautiful, and fulfilling.

Their Jewish colleagues have, over the course of years, inquired with genuine curiosity and interest about their own traditions and religious or ethnic heritage. In short, they have been welcomed into a Jewish community as respected equals.

Non-Jewish principals of a Jewish day school who have come to know and admire the Judaism of their Jewish colleagues are able to lead a committed Jewish eco-system as non-Jews, without the Jewish identity of the system itself being threatened. In some ways, it is even more powerful for young Jews when a non-Jew, who is under no familial obligation to be part of a Jewish community, decides to devote his or her professional life to Jewish education.

The analogy may not be airtight, but it should make us stop and think.

What would it mean for the relationship between Jews and Palestinians in Israel to resemble that of Jews and non-Jews in a Jewish day school? On the one hand, it would require Palestinian-Israelis to accept the Jewish character of the State, and to commit to its success. Yet, as in the school analogy, the onus to bring about this situation falls initially on Jewish Israelis, who must – individually and collectively – open the door to Palestinian-Israelis as partners in our state-building. We should treat Palestinian-Israelis with respect and honor, just as Jewish day schools treat non-Jewish members of their eco-systems.

At the same time, we Jewish Israelis will need to clarify the Jewish nature of our State, expanding and applying its rich humanistic and pluralistic traditions at the expense of its more tribal values. We will need to focus on creating an Israeli Judaism that is meaningful, enriching, and tolerant, finding a pride in the universality and wisdom of our traditions that we would not hesitate to share with our neighbors.

Jewish day schools often strive to become Israel writ small. Israel should strive to become Jewish day schools writ large. We need to enable non-Jewish Israelis, like non-Jewish teachers in Jewish day schools, to feel part of a committed Jewish system as an equal, respected, partner.

Then – and only then – may we make demands of their loyalties.

Illustration Liron Bar Akiva     





Dear friends,

Many whales are among the 1/3rd of all life on the planet that is being driven to extinction. World governments are meeting this week to consider a bold plan to protect 20% of the world’s oceans and lands by 2020.We have 4 days left, and a global public outcry could tip the balance. Click to sign the petition for the 20/20 plan and forward this email:

Sign the petition!


There are only 300 northern right whales left, and 99% of blue whales have been wiped out. These majestic giants are endangered species, and their case is being played out across the world, time and again. In fact, one third of all life forms on the planet are on the brink of extinction.The natural world is being crushed by human activity, waste and exploitation. But there is a plan to save it — a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020. And right now, 193 governments are meeting in Japan to address this crisis.

We have just 4 days left in this crucial meeting. Experts say that politicians are hesitant to adopt such an ambitious goal, but that a global public outcry could tip the balance, making leaders feel the eyes of the world upon them. Click to sign the urgent 20/20 petition, and forward this email widely — the message will be delivered directly to the meeting in Japan:

Ironically, 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. By now, our governments were supposed to have “achieved a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss.” They have failed, consistently caving to industry when given a choice between narrow profit and protecting species. Our animals, plants, oceans, forests, soils, and rivers are choking under immense burdens from over-exploitation and other pressures.

Humans are the primary cause of this destruction. But we can turn it around — we’ve saved species from extinction before. The causes of biodiversity decline are vast, and stopping them is going to require a move away from empty piecemeal promises with no clarity on who will pay, to a bold plan with strict enforcement and serious funding. The 20/20 plan is precisely that: governments will be forced to execute strict programmes to ensure that 20% of our earth is protected by the 2020 deadline, and massively scale up funding.

It has to be now. All over the world the picture is beginning to look bleaker — there are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, our oceans are running out of fish, and we’re losing unique food sources to large mono-plantations. Nature is resilient, but we have to give it a safe place to bounce back. That’s why this meeting is key — it’s a watershed moment to accelerate action based on clear commitments that protect nature’s capital.

If our governments feel overwhelming public pressure right now to be courageous, we can jolt them to commit to the 20/20 plan at this meeting. But it’s going to take every one of us to get that message to echo around the convention in Japan. Sign this urgent petition below, then forward it widely:

Already this year Avaaz, members have played a critical role in protecting elephants, defending the whale-hunting ban, and securing the world’s largest Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Islands. Our community has shown that we can set ambitious goals — and win. This campaign is the next stage in the essential battle to create the world that most of us everywhere want — where natural resources and species are valued, and our living planet is protected for future generations.

With hope,

Alice, Iain, Emma, Ricken, Paula, Benjamin, Mia, David, Graziela, Ben, and the rest of the Avaaz team


The Times: “Third of all animals and plants face extinction”

The Guardian: “Public awareness of the biodiversity crisis is virtually non-existent”

Sydney Morning Herald: “UN calls for immediate action to save life on earth”

IUCN: “Why is biodiversity in crisis?”

More on the Convention of Biodiversity meeting

Support the Avaaz community! We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — donate here.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on SAVE OUR ANIMALS PLANTS



October 26, 2010

by crescentandcross


Most Popular Content All  

If the GOP’s electoral wins next week are enough to take over Congress, one thing they’ve pledged to do is “stop out-of-control spending,” as their “Pledge to America” policy blueprint says.  But don’t even think about touching the over $3 billion in annual aid the United States gives to Israel.

Politico‘s Laura Rozen reports, via the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that  House Republican whip Eric Cantor “would propose separating U.S. aid to Israel from the foreign operations budget, which the GOP may vote to defund”:

Cantor, of Virginia, said he wants to protect funding for Israel should that situation arise.

“Part of the dilemma is that Israel has been put in the overall foreign aid looping,” he said when asked about the increasing tendency of Republicans in recent years to vote against foreign operations appropriations. “I’m hoping we can see some kind of separation in terms of tax dollars going to Israel.”

Cantor’s statement was a sign that the Republican leadership was ready to defer to the party’s right wing on this matter. Some on the GOP right have suggested including Israel aid in the defense budget, and a number of Tea Party-backed candidates have said they would vote against what is known in Congress as “foreign ops.”

The Republican Party (as well as some Democrats) wants to decrease Social Security benefits, among other austerity measures, in their effort to reduce government spending.  But government funding of an illegal and racist occupation?  Keep the cash flowing.




Dear Friends,

The statement above is so true, yet so seldom heard or regarded.  It at once puts things in order and allows us to decide whether we are Zionist, Jewish, or both.  Israel includes Jewish customs, but it is clearly a Zionist state rather than a Jewish one.  Read Lawrence Davidson below (item 1) to see the logic behind the division. 

Rest assured, this division enables you to be as critical of Israel as you believe necessary yet remain a good Jew, or Christian, or Muslim, or secular!  Zionism is one thing, religion or ethnicity another.  Zionism is a political movement.  It has nothing to do with religion or culture or ethnic customs.  The Zionism that is Israel is militaristic, nationalistic, and colonialist.  No wonder it has to fight so many wars.

There are 3 additional items. 

Item 2 reports more about Karmiel, a city in which Arabs are not wanted.  That is happening also in additional cities in Israel. In Tsfat [Safad], for instance, a Rabbi instructed residents not to rent to Arabs. 

As an individual who experienced racism as a Jew in the United States when I was growing up, I am super-sensitive to Jews doing to others what I would not wish to have done unto me.  But this is the way Israel is going. 

Items 3 and 4 are about prisoners and prisons and the Shabak (called also Shin Bet, and in English the General Security Service, or secret police, if you wish).

 Item 3 reports that the Israeli Shin Bet is asking the court to continue a regulation that will allow the Shin Bet to detain ad infinitum a Palestinian without trial.  No Habeas Corpus here.  With respect to Palestinians, Israeli courts regard them as guilty until proven innocent! 

Item 4 is about just such a case.  And not only is the man being held without trial, he is being kept in isolation.  There is more than a little truth to the contention in 4 that “the Israeli courts are merely an arm of the occupation . . .” [the highlighting is Elana’s, with which I wholly agree]

If you have time after reading these 4 items or before you read them, please glance at the statistics in the current  ‘If Americans Knew’  Thanks to Ruth Hiller for reminding me about this organization. 

All the best,



1. [Forwarded by Ed Corrigan]  


October 21, 2010

The Peculiar Claim of Michael Oren

Invisible Israel? 


Michael Oren is the Israeli ambassador to the United States. This means he stands in a line of foreign diplomats who are often quite out of the ordinary. For one thing they may well be ex-Americans. Oren (nee Bornstein) was born in upstate New York and grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. He switched countries in 1979. For another, Israeli ambassadors do not hesitate to engage in public debates aimed at swaying American public opinion. Actually, this is very un-diplomatic behavior and you don’t see the ambassadors from China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Paraguay or Liechtenstein, ad finem, doing that sort of thing. Yet Oren has done this several times by sending op-eds to the New York Times. On October 13 he did so again with one entitled, “An End to Israel’s Invisibility.”

It is an odd title, for if there is one thing Israel is not, it is invisible. But the ambassador is arguing from a peculiar point of view. Essentially, he claims that the Palestinians have yet to officially acknowledge that Israel is a “Jewish state.” For Oren it is the Jewish aspect of Israel that remains “invisible.” As odd as this sounds, the ambassador’s complaint echos a current theme across the political spectrum in Israel. At the same time that he put out his op-ed, Ari Shavit, the center-right contributor to Ha’aretz, published a piece that made a similar argument but extended the failure of recognition accusation to Europe and beyond. It appeared on October 14 and is entitled “The Core of the Conflict.”

All of this might appear as something of a mystery. Doesn’t the entire world already know that Israel is a “Jewish state?” Oren, however, expresses profound insecurity over the issue. “The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the refusal to recognize Jews as a people, indigenous to the region and endowed with right of self-government.” Here Mr. Oren, who is certainly not “indigenous to the region,” is practicing a bit of plagiarism by taking a long standing Palestinian argument and asserting it as an Israeli one. Thus, for 62 years the Palestinians have claimed that the core of the conflict is the refusal of Israel to recognize them as indigenous to the region and endowed with the right of self-government.

At this point the mystery takes another twist. For Oren insists that this recognition of the Palestinians has already been pledged by Israel and now it is the Palestinians’ turn to reciprocate. “Just as Isreal recognizes the existence of the Palestinian people with an inalienable right to self-determination in its homeland, so, too, must the Palestinians accede to the Jewish people’s 3,000 year connection to our homeland and our right to sovereignty there.” No doubt the first part of this sentence is a reference to the Oslo Accords, which the Israelis have spent at least the last ten years describing as a dead and buried. So are we to believe that the ambassador now takes this pledge seriously? Hardly. The assertion of recognition of Palestinian rights is but a weak red herring. The only way the Israelis recognize the existence of the Palestinian people is by evicting them daily so as to clear the way for their illegal colonization of conquered land.

Finally, why should millions of Palestinian refugees buy into the ambassador’s insistence that “Jewish right to statehood is a tenet of international law”? Every one of Israel’s governments has made a profession of violating international laws such as those embodied in the Geneva Conventions. So, this claim is simply hypocritical . Why should anyone give credence to Israel’s assertion that it be accorded rights it has systematically denied others?

So, what is going on here? Why, at this particular time, do we get an evidently improvised emphasis on Israel as a “Jewish state?” Perhaps we should see it as a negotiation tactic. If you can get the Palestinian Authority to buy into this recognition you automatically negate, at least in prospective treaty terms, the right of return. And indeed, the Israelis have come pretty close to pulling off this gambit. Thus, Mahmoud Abbas stated on October 17 that once the Palestinians have a state of their own in the lands occupied by Israel after 1967, they will “end all historic claims against Israel” within the 1967 borders.

One would think that if the Israeli government is serious about the Jewish recognition issue they would take Abbas up on this offer and negotiate non-stop to close the not very large gap between the two positions. To date there has been no move in that direction. That certainly undermines the negotiating tactic argument and supports those who say the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is not designed to shape negotiations, but to end them.

That last interpretation might have some truth to it, but I do not think it tells the whole story. There is still another way of interpreting the recognition theme that is presently being promoted. A suggestion of this alternative motivation comes in the Shavit piece mentioned above. Shavit offers “seven reasons why the demand to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is a legitimate one.” None of them are any more convincing than Oren’s arguments, but one does stand out as revealing.

Shavit claims that the recognition being demanded will cause a halt to the assault on the legitimacy of Israel. It will stop a process that has caused “Ehud Olmert’s Israel” to be seen as less legitimate than “Yitzhak Shamir’s Israel.” Shavit describes this process as an “avalanche” implying that he sees the attack on legitimacy as getting worse as time goes by.

What this means is that the present emphasis on Israel as the Jewish state is aimed not only at complicating negotiations with the Palestinians, but also at undermining the growing boycott movement that seeks to isolate Israel and call into serious question the legitimacy of a state designed exclusively for one ethnic or religious group. The efforts of Oren, Shavit and others are testimony to the fact that the boycott movement is working, and the Israeli government knows it.

To tell the truth, Oren and Shavit have it wrong about Israel. It is not a Jewish state. Rather it is a Zionist state. For 93 years (counting from 1917 and the Balfour Declaration) the Zionists have sought to make the two synonymous. But they are not the same. Judaism is a religion that, at its best, demands tolerance and acceptance of the other. Zionism is a political ideology the ethnic exclusiveness of which leads, almost inevitably, to apartheid.

More and more Jews are coming to understand this and that too is part of Shavit’s feared avalanche. In the end it is the practice of Zionism, and not lack of recognition of its alleged Jewishness, that is causing Israel’s legitimacy crisis. Demanding that the Palestinians, or indeed the whole world, call Israel the Jewish state cannot mask its real nature.

Lawrence Davidson is a Professor of History at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


2.  From Sol Salbe ,

October 25, 2010

Middle East News Service comments: Small-time examples of racism are sometimes more powerful than the big-picture . Who, among those who saw it, would forget the ambulance being turned away in Apartheid South Africa because it was the “wrong colour”? Israel’s discrimination against its own Palestinian Arab citizens is also most blatant when it is banal.

The following is taken from the local supplements to Yediot Acharonot in various parts of northern Israel. Read it and decide for yourself. But if you think that in a free country there is a limit on how much private activity can be stopped, consider the paper’s reaction. On the website it gave people a chance to vote on the council’s “dobber-inner”. The question was

Do you agree with the “dobber-inner” initiative?

*Yes, Karmiel is a Jewish City and the “dobber-inner” is an effective and legitimate means to prevent the buying of flats by Arabs in the city.

*No, the “dobber-inner” is a racist initiative reminiscent of dark regimes. Citizens have the right to live wherever they wish.

Perhaps a better question is “what does asking the question say about Israel (and the newspaper)?”

Many thanks for Daphna Baram for her quick translation of this article.

Hebrew original:,7340,L-3972638,00.html

Sol Salbe

You do not want Arabs in Karmiel? Report to Purple Email!

 Karmiel’s Deputy Mayor, Oren Milstein, does not want any Arabs in his town. Therefore he urges the public to report real estate deals with Arabs to a special email address, and his bureau assists the anti-Arab initiative. Milstein: “The email address is operated by a private  person”.

 Nadav Mayost

 Residents of Karmiel are invited to report Arabs who intend to buy flats in the town, said Karmiel’s deputy Mayor, Oren Milstein, in an interview on the Internet  site “Besheva”. In the same interview he mentioned a weekly ad in the local press which calls on residents to report such information to a special “purple email address”. Milstein went on to say, using the first person: “Residents are welcome to turn to us the moment they become aware of a flat which is about to be sold to someone from one of the [surrounding Arab] villages. Once a flat in Karmiel is sold to an Arab family – it is a solid fact for generations to come”.

Milstein intimates that the selling of 30 flats has already been prevented in this way. In the interview Milstein mentions the “Taatzumot Israel” (“the Prowess of Israel”) association. The association’s website says it concerns itself with “settling the Land of Israel”. It is registered in Karmiel and its director is a resident of Karmiel. The Deputy Mayor’s office does not hide its support for the anti-Arab initiative, but denies a direct connection to it. We received a great deal of assistance there this week in our attempts to get the “purple email address”, and there was also an effort to get information out of us. We have approached the Deputy Mayor’s bureau because we wanted to fathom out who‘s behind the initiative, which is why we claimed to have information about a person who intends to sell his flat to an Arab.

The Deputy Mayor’s secretary tried at first to find the relevant email address for us, but she also tried to persuade us to provide her with the information. “I need to know who this neighbour of yours is, and I’ll pass it on to the person who deals with it.”

“I have no problem giving you the email address. What I know is that you need to provide the neighbour’s details, his name, address, telephone number. I know that they call him and plead with him and try to hook him up with alternative buyers by putting  him in touch with estate agents. They’d try every possible way”. The secretary was anxious to find out whether it was already too late. She asked: “The contract has not been signed yet, has it?”

A concerned Karmiel resident We asked who is behind the venture and were told “send the email, ask your questions, you will get answers”. The secretary gave us the email address:, and suggested we write in and await a response.  [Lo Lemechira means not for sale.]

Following Milstein’s recommendation we have emailed the address we were given, introduced ourselves as a “concerned Karmiel resident ” and said the deal might take place as early as three days hence. We received the following answer: “Dear Karmiel resident, I am a Karmiel resident just  like you. Our aim is amicable and we cannot impose anything on anybody. We would like to have your phone number in order to discuss matters. Best wishes from the Purple Email”. This email came from an address entitled “My Home is My Home”. But our detailed questions seem to have aroused suspicion, as the next email to arrive was from the  “Israel’s Prowess” Association.

It said “Your questions lead us to believe that your aim is not to prevent sales of property to Arabs but to investigate in the opposite direction… Our intention is not to act against Arabs but against breaking the status quo in the town, which was set up as a Jewish town in a sea of Arab villages. Respectfully, the fund for the encouragement of settlement”. In the end it noted “your email has been forwarded to the Deputy Mayor, Mr Oren Milstein”.

A senior political figure in Karmiel said in response: “It is worth noting that in the past other regimes urged snitches to contact them and tell them where  Jews were hiding. Such phenomena should be condemned [one can’t but wonder why such a senior political figure does not condemn under his own name. DB]. Uri Avnery of the Gush Shalom movement said: “I grew up in Germany and as a child I saw the Nazis come into power. This is the beginning of a slippery slope. It worries me that they believe that the residents of Karmiel would support such a racist and fascist approach.

In Germany there were towns and villages where people put up signs “there are no Jews here” and if someone wanted to sell to a Jew the local population prevented it, until in the end there was legislation that stopped it altogether. It is worrying that Karmiel is the pioneer. That it is done openly, without shame”. The municipality responded: “Karmiel municipality has no involvement in this private venture, therefore it should not be the one to respond.”

We have approached Milstein with detailed questions as to the nature of his involvement in the “purple email” venture. Among other things he was asked why responses from Purple Email come under the logo “My Home” – the name of his political faction in the municipality. His response: “It is my understanding that the Purple Email is operated by a private person. The municipality building has nothing to do with it. My position is that any person is entitled to sell his property as they wish. However sometimes a situation arises when a property is on the market but not sold for a while. I think connecting such sellers to investors from Israel and abroad is a step to be encouraged. Practically, this is free mediation service between residents”.


3.  Haaretz,

October 25, 2010

Shin Bet [General Security Service] requests extension of order which allows detention of Palestinians without a hearing.

‘Security situation in Israel has not changed over the past three years and there is therefore a need to extend the temporary order,’ says top Shin Bet official.

By Jonathan Lis

A top Shin Bet official on Monday asked the Knesset to extend a temporary order that allows the security service to detain Palestinian prisoners for four days without a hearing.

“The security situation in Israel has not changed over the past three years and there is therefore a need to extend the temporary order,” the Shin Bet’s head of investigations told the Knesset’s legislative committee.

The investigations chief also asked the committee to restore Section 5 of the temporary legislation, which was struck down by the High Court and had allowed the Shin Bet to hold hearings on prolonging detention without the suspect being present.

“If in the past there was a fear that this law would be misused, I am proud to say that the figures show great moderation in its enforcement, and we continue to operate that way,” the official said.

The law technically applies to all arrests in Israel and the West Bank but in practice is applied almost exclusively to Palestinian detainees.

“The work of the Shin Bet isn’t carried out in the dark, but under the scrutiny of the judicial system, the state prosecution service and the attorney general.”

The Shin Bet official was responding to testimony before the committee by human rights groups, who claim the law harms prisoners’ rights.

“The fact that interrogation takes place without due procedure, and that a person is held under conditions which in themselves constitute a means of pressure, undermines fair judicial process and produces false confessions,” said Leila Margalit, a lawyer for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.


4. [forwarded by Elana]

From: Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat []
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010
Subject: Occupation Courts Sentence Sa’adat to Six Months More of Isolation – Take Action!

Occupation Courts Sentence Sa’adat to Six Months More of Isolation – Take Action!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat + +

In yet another outrage and attack upon the humanity of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people, Ahmad Sa’adat was sentenced to an additional six months in isolation inside Israeli prisons, an extension that will last until April 21, 2011. As actions and events took place throughout Palestine and around the world – in the United States, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere – in support of Sa’adat’s struggle to end isolation and hundreds of letters and petitions were delivered to prison officials from concerned human rights advocates around the world, the Israeli authorities have sentenced this Palestinian leader to another six months barred from human contact.

Sa’adat has been held in isolation for over 500 days, since March 19, 2009. He has been confined without access even to the other prisoners in the isolation unit and deprived of basic human rights. His personal books have been confiscated and he is routinely denied access to media and reading material in any language other than Hebrew. He has been denied family visits, including from his wife Abla, and his lawyers have several times been barred from visiting him. His recreation time has been limited repeatedly.

Isolation and prevention of human contact is widely understood by human rights advocates to be ill-treatment that amounts to torture and/or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Ongoing and repeated isolation that will now stretch to over two years, justified by vague declarations of “security” needs, indicate that the Israeli regime is dedicated to attempting to isolate Sa’adat not only from his fellow prisoners, but to isolate and silence his voice among the Palestinian people.

Sa’adat’s ongoing isolation only serves to make clear time and again that the Israeli courts are merely an arm of the occupation, dedicated at all levels to maintaining the oppression of the Palestinian people and providing a “legal” pretext for ongoing brutality and human rights abuses.

Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been held in Israeli jails since March 14, 2006, when he was abducted from Jericho prison, where he had been held in a Palestinian Authority prison under U.S. and British guard. While imprisoned in the PA jail in Jericho, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was sentenced to thirty years in prison on December 25, 2008 by an Israeli military court for his political activity, and has spent over 500 days in continually-renewed isolation at the present time.  

[What valid justification is there for the continued imprisonment of Ahmad Sa’adat let alone in solitary confinement?  He is an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and was sentenced to 30 years in prison in an Israeli military court FOR WHAT??? for his POLITICAL ACTIVITY.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat salutes the human rights and Palestine solidarity activists around the world who have rallied to struggle for Sa’adat and the approximately 7,000 prisoners held in the jails of the occupation. This work defeats the occupation’s plans – it refuses to allow the Palestinian prisoners, on a Palestinian, Arab or international level, to be isolated. The voices of Ahmad Sa’adat and the Palestinian prisoners will be heard, and no bars or isolation will prevent that.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat calls upon all to confront this outrage – to continue to write, speak out, demonstrate, and demand that Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners achieve their freedom. Isolation will not silence Ahmad Sa’adat, the Palestinian prisoners or the cause of the Palestinian people!


1. The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat calls upon all supporters of justice and human rights to write to U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and demand an end to U.S. aid to Israel. The U.S. is responsible for Sa’adat’s kidnapping – demand it end now! 

Write here:

2. The Campaign in Solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat in Palestine is calling upon all supporters to write letters to the Israeli Prison Service and demand they end the practice of isolation, end human rights violations, and free Palestinian prisoners. Send an email to the Bureau of the Minister of Public Security at and to the Public Complaints Department at, and copy the following:

Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, 3, Kaplan Street, PO Box 187, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem, Israel, Fax: +972- 2-651 2631, Email:

Mr. Menachem Mazuz, Attorney General, Fax: + 972 2 627 4481; + 972 2 628 5438; +972 2 530 3367

Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, Military Judge Advocate General, 6 David Elazar Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel, Fax: +972 3 608 0366, +972 3 569 4526, Email:,

Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Geneva, Fax: +41 22 716 05 55,


You may use our online form at:

3. Write a letter to Ahmad Sa’adat. Letters of support are important and demonstrate solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat and Palestinian prisoners – let him know that the world is demanding his freedom. Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat at with your letters, or use our contact form at: We will send all letters received to Palestine. We also encourage you to write to him directly using this address: Ahmad Sa’adat, Ramon Prison, Ramon area, PO Box 699, Postal Code 80600, Israel.

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat

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