Archive | April 18th, 2011

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter



Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland PSC

Vittorio Arrigoni on our mind

Apr 17, 2011


Voices of Vittorio’s Friends  “He’s really a hero” “He shared with us everything we shared, he was with us in thick and thin.” “Vittolio is a Palestinian brave man”

“I want to sing this song for Vittorio, my song is Bella Ciao”

This video was sent to us by our friend Mohammed Fares Al Majdalawi in Gaza.

Two Palestinian teens from Awarta arrested for Itamar murders

Apr 17, 2011


Two teens from West Bank village arrested over Itamar massacre
Haaretz 17 Apr — Israeli security forces have arrested two teenage residents of the West Bank Arab village of Awarta for allegedly carrying out last month’s murder of five family members in the settlement of Itamar, the lifting of a gag order revealed on Sunday. Palestinian students Amjad Awad, 19, and Hakim Awad 18, both admitted to committing the murder … Shin Bet investigators have at this point not identified the murder as being carried out under the auspices of the Popular Front organization. According to what is currently known, the murders were carried out independently by the two suspects. Six additional Palestinian suspects from Awad were also arrested in connection to the crime, four of whom belong to the same family. The six purportedly aided the two alleged perpetrators in hiding the murder weapon and in suppressing additional evidence.

Israel holds 2 Palestinians over settlement killings
Reuters 17 Apr — …Nimrod Aloni, a senior military officer who commanded Israeli troops in the search for suspects in Awarta, said in a conference call the killings were not premeditated but that the brothers were egged on by their own daring.”The murders were not planned, they were something that happened when they entered and exited the house twice. They wanted to test their own ability to break into a house and steal a weapon. The killings took place when they went in for a second time,” Aloni said. Hakim’s mother, Nof, told Reuters by phone that her son was innocent and suggested he may have been pushed into a confession by Israeli questioning. “Maybe my son went crazy as a result of the interrogation or they asked him to sign some paper. My son cannot do such a thing … They had taken his sister to prison for six days (to pressure him) and they also took me in for two days,” she said. Aloni said he had no doubt the killers had been caught, although he did not elaborate on the evidence that had been uncovered other than mentioning the assault rifle found in the two men’s possession.

Itamar massacre solved; 2 arrested
Ynet 17 Apr — …The first suspect is Hakim Mazen Awad, 18, a high school student whose father was active in the Popular Front terror organization. Awad has a prison record. His uncle, who was killed in clashes with IDF forces in 2003, was involved in a June 2002 terror attack in Itamar, which left five dead. The second suspect, Amjad Mahmad Awad, 19, also a student, is affiliated with the Popular Front … On April 5 and April 10, IDF forces arrested Amjad and Hakim. The investigation into the attack revealed that the two decided to carry out a terror attack and attempted to acquire weapons three days before the March 11 attack.  In order to obtain the weapons they turned to a Popular Front militant in their village, but he refused to acquiesce to their request. And yet, at midday on Friday March 11, they decided that they would go to Itamar that night, armed with knives and carry out the attack. … Sources familiar with the investigation said the two offered a dispassionate account of the attack, and “a chilling reenactment.”

Awarta stunned over Itamar attack revelation; ‘They’re just kids’
Ynet 17 Apr — Awarta village neighbors of two suspects in Itamar massacre stunned by their arrest. Village chief says confessions must have been coerced, demands international probe … Other villagers didn’t try to claim that the two teens weren’t involved in the massacre but they received the news with a great deal of sadness. “We’re in the stage where we’re just trying to digest the details and people here are in complete shock,” Samir, a villager told Ynet.

Family of Awarta teen deny allegations
AWARTA, West Bank (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — The family of one of two teens charged by Israeli forces in the murder of a settler family last month is contesting the allegations, saying 19-year-old Hakim Awwad was too ill to have carried out the gruesome attack. Nouf Awwad told Ma‘an on Sunday, the day reports of the allegations against her son were made public with the lifting of an Israeli gag-order on the case of the slain settlers, that her son was still recovering from a recent surgery, which prevented him from walking long distances and required him to use the toilet every hour. “We have the medical records, he is in unstable health,” she said, adding that the family is gathering the papers to present as evidence.

Solving the Itamar case does not justify the means the army uses on Palestinians / Noam Sheizaf
17 Apr — Now that Israel has in custody two people who admitted to committing the murder in Itamar a month ago, I received several comments demanding I “update” my post on Awarta, meaning retract on the allegations in its last few paragraphs. I really don’t see a reason why. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested and interrogated without due process. Such “investigation” would have never taken place were the suspects Jews. The legal system in the West Bank is purely Apartheid: One law for Jews and another for Arabs. The fact that alleged killers of Palestinians from Itamar were never located is further proof to that matter — Itamar was never terrorized the way Awarta was. When Awara tactics will be used everywhere – or preferably, when Palestinians enjoy due process – will there be a need to retract.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Palestinian Prisoners’ Day / Detention

Palestinian Prisoners’ Day
AIC –Today, 17 April, is Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. The day commemorates the release of Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Hijazi in the first prisoners’ exchange between the Palestinians and the Israelis in 1974 … The situation for Palestinians in Israeli prisons is grim. According to ADDAMEER, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights NGO, over 6,800 Palestinians, from the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and 1948 Palestine, are currently imprisoned by the Israeli state. Of those, over 300 are children, 34 are women, 18 are elected Palestinian representatives and almost 300 are ‘Administrative Detainees’ – that is they have been interned without trial not having been charged with any crime or seeing the secret evidence against them.

IOF troops detain 845 Palestinians in three months, including 105 children
GAZA, (PIC) 16 Apr — A statistics report by the Ansar Al-Asra society said on Saturday that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained 845 Palestinians in the first three months of 2011. The statement added that among those were 105 children and three members of the Palestinian legislative council. It noted that the IOF detention spree in the first quarter of 2011 witnessed an upsurge as it started with 180 people in January, then 285 in February and 380 in March.

VIDEO: Israeli prison raid footage released
AJ 17 Apr — Hundreds of Palestinians have died inside Israeli prisons and now an Israeli television channel has aired shocking footage of Israel’s so-called Control and Restraint unit, or Masada, attacking Palestinian prisoners. Activists have demanded people in charge of the operation, carried out in 2007, be charged and the family of one of the victims told Al Jazeera that they would consider suing Masada. Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from Seida in the occupied West Bank.

***Another country / Alon Idan
Haaretz 15 Apr — …This is the Ofer military court. Its purpose is to enclose the occupation within a defined, justiciable framework. At night, IDF soldiers enter villages and arrest Palestinians; in the morning, Palestinians are brought, handcuffed, to Ofer, and sent to a jail located a few meters from the court. Hearings about the detainees are held on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week in seven trailers called “halls.” In 2009, 12,428 persons were detained; in 2008, the figure was 13,003; in 2007, 14,198; in 2006, 16,451. This is a factory for detainees. I’ve come to observe this factory, to see how it works … “…I sentence [S.] to a month’s suspended sentence, and an NIS 800 fine.” Here’s the story: It turns out that S. has a Palestinian father and an Israeli mother. One day, loneliness overcame her, and she decided to visit her mother in Jerusalem. She traveled there and was apprehended by security forces. She was put on trial for this offense. The judge now trusts that she will rehabilitate herself, that she will change her ways. If not, next time she will spend a month in prison.

PCHR: Narratives behind locked doors
In honor of Prisoners’ Day, several articles: The Transformation of Palestinian Prisoners’ Visitation Rights over the Years; Arwa Abdel-Rahim, a Mother of two Prisoners; Abla Sa’adat: A husband imprisoned; Trying to See Her Brother – The Struggle of the Family of a Prisoner from the West Bank; No Family Visitation for Prisoners from Gaza: the Case of Abdallah Inshahsi; and others.

Report: More than 130 prison raids in 2010
VIENNA, (PIC) 17 Apr — A report by Vienna-based Friend of Humanity International documents that this year was ”not normal in the lives of Palestinian prisoners”, as the Israeli prison authority more than 130 cell raids on Palestinian prisoners this year alone. The report details human rights violations that took place in Israeli prisons throughout 2010. Its release was time to coincide with the Palestinian prisoner day observed on April 17. The report documents that special security units and soldiers sprayed gas and used fists and electric batons and isolated prisoners in a year rife with abuses.

Military court orders Nabi Saleh protest organizer Bassem Tamimi remanded until end of legal proceedings
ISM 17 Apr — The arrest of Bassem Tamimi, a 44 year-old protest organizer from Nabi Saleh and the coordinator of the village’s popular committee, was extended indefinitely today at the Ofer Military Court. Tamimi will remain in detention until the end of legal proceedings in his case. The indictment against Tamimi, filed two weeks ago, is based on questionable and coerced confessions of youth. He is charged with incitement, organizing unpermitted marches, solicitation to throw stones, disobeying the duty to report to questioning, and a scandalous obstruction of justice charge, for allegedly giving youth advice on how to act under interrogation by the police in the event that they are arrested.

IOF troops detain 7 in Silwan
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC) 17 Apr — …The Hebrew radio said on Sunday that the Israeli police rounded up seven Jerusalemites over the past few days on suspicion of throwing stones and firebombs at police vehicles. It claimed that the youth confessed to the charge of organizing riots in Silwan and would face a trial hearing in the central court on Sunday … IOF soldiers at dawn Sunday stormed the city of Jenin and nearby villages but no detentions were reported. The soldiers installed a roadblock between Jenin and Nablus and searched vehicles on Sunday morning.

Army arrests Hebron child after settlers attack home
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Israeli soldiers detained a child from Hebron’s Old City after settlers attacked the boy’s home Saturday. Mu‘taz Al-Muhtaseb was beaten by soldiers and arrested, locals told Ma‘an. They added that Israeli forces came to the area after settlers from the illegal outpost Beit Hadasa attacked Mu‘taz’s home. An Israeli army spokesman confirmed that soldiers arrested a Palestinian but said that the army was unaware of any beating or unusual incidents since his arrest. He also told Ma‘an that the incident came after several Israeli civilians hurled rocks at a Palestinian house. “When an IDF force arrived at the scene, they dispersed,” the official said.

Detainees announce hunger strike to mark Prisoners’ Day
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Palestinians detained in Israeli jails announced that they will commemorate Prisoners’ Day on Sunday by declaring a one-day hunger strike. The strike was a symbolic action to draw attention to the violations and abuse carried out against Palestinian political prisoners and their families, detainees said.

Hamas condemns PA’s arrest of lawmaker’s husband
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Hamas on Saturday denounced the arrest of the husband of a Hamas lawmaker by the Palestinian Authority. The Islamist party said Samir Halayqa’s husband was detained by PA forces in the West Bank.

IOF troops violently disperse relatives of Palestinian prisoners
RAMALLAH, (PIC) 17 Apr — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and Ofer prison guards used force to disperse a peaceful rally by relatives of Palestinian prisoners held in that notorious jail on Sunday. Hundreds of Palestinians staged a sit-in before the military jail in which Israel is holding around one thousand Palestinian prisoners demanding their release. The participants hoisted Palestinian flags and photos of their relatives in the rally organized to mark the Palestinian prisoner’s day.

Report: Sheikh Salah detained at Allenby
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — Israel’s Jerusalem Post reported Sunday night the arrest of the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Raed Salah at the Allenby Bridge border crossing as he returned from a trip to Jordan.  According to the report, Salah was detained because he refused to submit to investigations and searches that border staff at the crossing intended to carry out.  Police told the Post that Salah arrived at the border crossing with his wife and refused a search of his wife, standing between police and his spouse to prevent it.

Haniyeh says no to Shalit compromise
Ynet 16 Apr — Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, urged the Palestinian factions holding Gilad Shalit to insist on their prisoner swap demands. Haniyeh made the remarks Saturday during a special session of the Palestinian parliament in Gaza convened to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day.,7340,L-4057661,00.html

Haniyeh urges support for Shalit swap deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday urged Palestinians to support a deal to release Palestinians imprisoned in Israel in exchange for an Israeli soldier held in Gaza.

Report: Hamas military wing rejected Shalit deal accepted by political branch
Haaretz 15 Apr — The German mediator negotiating for the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is currently in the region attempting to push forth a prisoner swap deal with Hamas, the A-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Friday. Citing an Israeli political source, the newspaper said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had offered Hamas a deal accepted by the movement’s political branch accepted, but rejected by its military wing. The schism has led Netanyahu to give up on that proposal, the source reportedly said, adding that the offer had been better than the one offered by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Abbas: No peace deal until political prisoners freed
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that no peace deal could be reached with Israel until all political prisoners were released. Abbas’ comments were made in a televised address ahead of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on Sunday.

Relatives of detainees ask Ramallah authority to release them
RAMALLAH, (PIC) 17 Apr — The relatives of detainees held in jails of the Fatah-controlled Ramallah authority have called for their immediate release. The relatives’ committee issued a statement hailing the steadfastness of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons. It described the authority’s arrest of prisoners liberated from Israeli jails as a “shame”, and called for an immediate end to the political detention policy. The committee along with human rights groups had said that the Ramallah authority was detaining 420 Palestinians including 300 ex-prisoners in Israeli jails.

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

Israel army tightens restrictions on Tubas villagers
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — The Israeli army tightened restrictions on Palestinians in Al-Bequie‘a in the northern Jordan Valley, locals said. Residents of several settlements around Al-Bequie‘a recently entered the area with maps and surveying equipment, villagers said. Settlers have repeatedly attacked pipelines bringing water from Khirbet Keshda to farmland in the area, and dug up fields of vegetables on the land, locals added. They said settlers were trying to force them from their land.
Israeli soldiers raided the area Friday and arrested several farmers, including Ziad Abu Khiezaran who said he was detained while he was irrigating his crops.

Internationals and national volunteers start building a mud brick school in Al Awja
JVS 15 Apr — Few days ago, the Bedouin community of Ras Al Awja, along with International and Palestinian volunteers from Jordan Valley Solidarity, have started to build a school made of mud bricks. Ras Al Awja is a community of about 300 families living in very hard conditions. They used to live in another part of the village where today a settler lives alone in a settlement that takes the best agricultural land of the area. They now live not far from Al Awja water spring. This spring used to be one of the main water resources in the Jordan Valley, giving water for a big part of the Southern Palestine. Today the spring is dried. The occupational forces dug a deep well beside the spring and its water is now distributed only to the settlements. Settlers enjoy all kind of accommodation – running water, electricity, transportation, telecommunication, land, etc – and Palestinians live with electric pylons over their heads and water lines under their feet but can not benefit from them.

At-Tuwani: Palestinian Authority representatives respond to Israeli military escort delay
CPT 16 Apr — …The escort accompanies the children on the road that runs between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on because the children have suffered many threats, and attacks from settlers along this route. The visiting governmental officials, together with the local school headmaster, the mayor, and representatives from the local council, observed the military escort arrive on time and accompany the children without incident — unlike the two previous afternoons. Palestinian TV was also present, documenting the visit and escort. The preceding days, 10 and 11 April, the children waited nearly two hours each day for the escorting soldiers to arrive. On 10 April, the escort failed to arrive at all, and after waiting from 1:30 until 3:20, the children had to take a much longer route home.

Clashes rage in Silwan
[with photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 16 Apr 00:37 — Dozens of Palestinians marched in Silwan village today [Friday] in condemnation of Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and collective punishment of Palestinians living in Gaza, with many joining from the public prayer at the threatened Al-Bustan protest tent. Clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli armed forces, with police and army units closing off the Wadi Rababa entrance to Silwan since early morning heightening tensions. The busy Wadi Rababa thoroughfare links the Al-Thouri district to West Jerusalem.
Israeli forces fired tear gas at protesters in ‘Ein Silwan district at Samer Sarhan Street. A heavy presence of Israeli troops was also found near Israeli settlements in Wadi Hilweh area.

Army brutality as violent clashes sweep through Silwan
SILWANIC Saturday, 16 April, 2011 | 23:29 Clashes erupted tonight between Israeli troops and Palestinian youth in Bir Ayyub district of Silwan. Massive quantities of tear gas have been fired by Israeli forces on Palestinian residents. Palestinians responded by throwing stones at military vehicles, causing damage to one settler vehicle in the process … Several entrances to Silwan have been sealed off by the military, including the Wadi Rababa entrance that links Silwan to West Jerusalem … Israeli forces have also assaulted journalist Hamza Najib, a photographer for Pal Media, while he was covering events in Samer Sarhan Street. Silwanic photographer Ahmed Siam was also assaulted and threatened by armed forces in an attempt to stop him covering unfolding confrontations in the area.

Peaceful demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah
[with photos] Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — Dozens of Palestinian citizens marched alongside Israeli and international left-wing activists in the weekly demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem yesterday. While the march is generally under tight control of Israeli forces, yesterday witnessed a quiet atmosphere. No protesters were arrested. The weekly Friday demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah started in 2009 in opposition the the gradual annexation of Palestinian homes and land by Israeli settler groups.

Shas MK: East Jerusalem building blocked for political reasons
Haaretz 17 Apr — Statements made by Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias represent first time a senior Israeli figure discussed existence of freeze on East Jerusalem construction, which runs contrary to PM’s public stance.

Jerusalem aid committee announced in Washington
WASHINGTON, (PIC) 16 Apr — The establishment of an international campaign designed to curb the Israeli Judaization of Jerusalem was announced in United States capital Washington, DC on Friday. The campaign will include a group of international figures as well as political and media events from across the world. The campaign said it would take Jerusalem as its main contact center, and that the center would be linked to Ramallah, Nazareth, and Gaza to provide information. The Jerusalem protection campaign is aimed at protecting Jerusalem families who are threatened by Israeli plans to displace major portions of the Arab population in the city and replace them with Jewish settlers.

Demolition orders handed out in south
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — Israeli authorities gave a military order to demolish a barn and a water well in the village of Al-Bira village southwest of Hebron on Thursday afternoon. According to the Land Research Center, land owner Yasser Salem Al-Awawda was handed the notification, which gave one week for the structures on the property to be taken down. Al-Awawda told the center that he removed the barn’s roof, citing concern that the demolition would harm his cattle.

The effect of Passover on Palestinians

More youths’ detention extended in the leadup to Passover
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — A hearing was held in the Israeli Central Court today regarding the arrest of a young man and 3 children from Silwan … A member of the Rajabi family stated that “an overwhelming number of Silwan’s youth have been seized and their detention extended recently. We take this as a precautionary tactic employed by Israeli authorities in the leadup to their holiday of Passover. We, meanwhile, must suffer the closure of roads, acts of provocation and the arrest of our children – throughout every Jewish holiday.”

Military closure for West Bank on Passover
TEL AVIV (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — Israel’s military announced a “general closure” of the West Bank during the Jewish Passover holiday, which will begin on Sunday at 11:50 p.m. and continue for ten days. The closure will affect Palestinians with work permits, barring them from access to Israel and Jerusalem until 11:50 p.m. on 26 April.
In addition, Israeli officials announced heightened security measures around Jerusalem as the country’s religious Jewish residents prepare to celebrate Passover, Israel Radio said, with Palestinians expecting restrictions on freedom of worship and movement … Israel’s police department told the station that extra officers would be deployed around areas where Christian pilgrims would gather for the upcoming Easter holiday.

West Bank Palestinian Christians denied access to holy places in Jerusalem during Easter
LA Times 16 Apr — As Christians get ready to celebrate Easter, Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are envious of fellow Christians from all over the world who are able to visit Jerusalem’s holy Christian sites and worship freely while they cannot. Since Israel cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories in the early 1990s, Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been required to get Israeli army permission before they can enter Jerusalem. The situation worsened since the turn of the century and restrictions got tighter after a 20-foot concrete wall was built all around East Jerusalem barring both Muslim and Christian Palestinians from reaching their holy sites in Jerusalem and its Old City

Closures at Allenby border crossing over Jewish holidays
JERICHO (Ma’an) 16 Apr — The Allenby Bridge border crossing will operate from 8 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. only on Monday [Apr 18] due to Israeli holidays, according to Palestinian police stationed at the crossing. On April 19 and April 24-25 the crossing will operate from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m … The Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge is the only public border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, and the only crossing for most Palestinians to leave or enter the West Bank.


Israeli warplanes strike Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Apr 3:08am — Israeli warplanes launched two airstrikes Saturday morning in the northern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Local sources said the shelling targeted two military bases of Hamas’ armed wing the Al-Qassam Brigades in Ash-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, and the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, also in the north. Witnesses said several houses near the military bases sustained damages and locals said they feared further attacks as warplanes and drones continued to hover over the besieged coastal enclave.

Israeli navy gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats
GAZA, (PIC) 16 Apr — Israeli navy gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza city on Saturday evening, local sources reported. They said that no casualties were suffered as a result of the shooting, which is repeated practiced by those gunboats. [Nicole Johnston of Al Jazeera, in Gaza, tweeted this afternoon “Two Israeli navy ships sitting very close to Gaza port. Closest I’ve ever seen them. No fishermen going out.”]

Israeli tanks open fire in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) 17 Apr — Several Israeli army tanks entered northern Gaza on Sunday and opened fire, witnesses said. No injuries were reported, but residents said fields sustained heavy damage from the tanks’ caterpillar tread, which ripped through crops.

European campaign: IOF deceives the world on Gaza assistance
BRUSSELS, (PIC) 15 Apr — Organizers of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) said on Thursday they received information from UN agencies that that the Israeli occupation authorities were willing to allow construction materials into Gaza Strip, but accused Israel of misleading the world by such information. “What the Israeli occupation is telling the international community of being ready to allow cement and construction materials confiscated from freedom flotilla 1 last year was only for media consumption because all of us know that those materials were already expired and couldn’t be used for construction anymore”

Barak hails US decision to continue funding Iron Dome
Haaretz 15 Apr — U.S. House passes budget including $205 million intended for developing Iron Dome anti-missile system; defense minister calls it ‘significant reinforcement of Israel’s defense capabilities against missiles.’

‘Oliva’ in Gaza: Launch of international boat to monitor human rights in Palestinian waters
17 Apr — On Wednesday, April 20th, “Oliva”, a human rights monitoring boat with an international crew, will launch from the port of Gaza City. The crew of the Civil Peace Service, which currently consists of citizens from Spain, the United States, Italy and Belgium, will accompany Gazan fishermen within Palestinian waters. Violations of international law will be monitored and documented. Data and video materials will be collected and disseminated. Vittorio Arrigoni, the murdered human rights activist, was involved in setting up this project and therefore a commemoration of his life and work will be held at the end of the press conference.

Rafah crossing to open to pilgrims only
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — Egypt’s Rafah crossing will be opened on Monday only for Gaza residents registered as pilgrims set to perform the Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Crossings chief in Rafah Ayoub Abu Sha‘ar said other travelers who scheduled to leave on Monday were delayed to Tuesday, but said no other disruptions were expected.

Gaza: 1 border crossing partly open
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — Israeli authorities on Sunday opened Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing to allow the limited entry of commercial merchandise and humanitarian aid into the besieged coastal enclave.

The murder of Vittorio Arrigoni

Gazans to hold ‘state funeral’ for slain Italian
AFP 17 Apr — Hamas foreign affairs and planning minister Mohammed Awad told reporters that slain activist Vittorio Arrigoni’s body would be moved to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on Monday after a funeral in Gaza. “We’re waiting for his friends and relatives to arrive in Gaza. Some are already here but there are others we are waiting for, and then there will be a state funeral,” Awad said. “We expect afterwards that his body will be taken to the Rafah crossing and then on to Cairo, according to the wishes of his family.” Hamas officials said Arrigoni’s girlfriend was already in Gaza, and his mother told Israeli media that she too planned to visit the coastal territory to see where her son “lived and died.”

Gaza police up stakes for arrest in activist murder
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Apr — Chief of police in the Gaza Strip Abu Ubayda Al-Jarrah announced Sunday a reward to any security officer who helped locate the killers of an Italian solidarity activist found dead two days earlier.  The statement was made despite the arrest and questioning of four men currently being interrogated over the murder of Italian reporter and activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was found hanged early Friday morning.

Man arrested in the Arrigoni murder case suspected of collaboration
GAZA, (PIC) 17 Apr — The murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni raised the serious question as to who stands behind such a gruesome act, especially after the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu declared he has plans to thwart solidarity with the Gaza Strip “at any price”. The Palestinian security awareness website Majd has revealed a few surprise discoveries as the case unravels and after several men were taken into custody over suspected involvement in the abduction and murder. It has come to light that one of the suspects that has been arrested is also suspected of collaboration and has a number of violations on his list, while others appeared naïve.The website said that one of the men got orders to abduct and kill Arrigoni on the internet.

Gazans angered over Arrigoni hit
GAZA, (PIC) 16 Apr –…Palestinians in the Gaza Strip expressed shock over the acts leading to Arrigoni’s death, saying they went beyond law, values and morals. “I want to know why they killed him,” said Palestinian woman Iman Abdul-Salam. “Didn’t he come to support the Palestinians and end the siege?” “It is impossible that the one who killed this person was a Palestinian,” she said angrily. “He certainly had outside agenda in harmony with Israel’s talks of thwarting the Freedom Flotilla 2 from reaching Gaza in their own ways.” “This was one of their own ways,” she said. Mohammed Issa, an elderly Gazan, called on the government to carry out the death penalty on those who planned, financed or carried out the murder. “How can we kill our guests, whoever they are?” he said. “Let alone those who come to end the siege and help us.”

Abu Zuhri phones Arrigoni’s fiancée to offer condolences
GAZA, (PIC) 16 Apr — Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Friday evening offered his Movement’s condolences in a telephone call to Claudia Melanie for the murder of her fiancé Vittorio Arrigoni. Spokesman Abu Zuhri expressed his Movement’s grief and dismay for the barbaric murder of her fiancé, and reassured her that Hamas would not rest until it arrests all perpetrators. The spokesman told Melanie that Hamas would facilitate her visit to Gaza to enable her to transport the body of Arrigoni in a solemn ceremony through Rafah border crossing. For its part, the Palestinian center for defending prisoners said on Friday that a number of prisoners and their families expressed their deep shock and sorrow for hearing about the killing of Arrigoni.

Egypt offers to help slain activist’s family enter Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — Egyptian authorities have offered to make arrangements for the family of murdered Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni to enter Gaza, Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yaser Othman said. “Egypt will work on allowing the activist’s family to enter Gaza via Rafah as well as facilitating moving his body through the same crossing back to Italy,” Othman said. [His mother is said to have requested that his body pass through Egypt, not Israel]

GazaFriends Video: Arrigoni documented Israeli attacks on Palestinian ambulance workers, ‘the most heroic people I ever met’
Mondoweiss 16 Apr — An amazing video of the late Vik Vittorio Arrigoni from May 2009. At minute 6 he documents the attacks on Palestinian ambulance drivers during Cast Lead; you see two stretcher-bearers being shot at in Gaza City. Remember, this is an essential point of the now-disputed al-Samouni case, in which ambulances were prevented from approaching the bombed family, and at least one person died who surely might have survived their injuries. Doesn’t that constitute a deliberate attack on civilians?

Vale Vittorio Arrigoni, ‘hero of Palestine’ / Pennie Quinton
Guardian 16 Apr — Hearing of the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, a committed peace activist who for the last 10 years campaigned for recognition of Palestinian human rights under Israeli occupation, has left me shaking and crying with rage at the sheer cruelty and stupidity of those who would carry out such an act … Arrigoni’s brutal murder comes after the murder of a settler family and the shooting of theatre director Juliano Mer-Khamis last week. Writing as someone who has spent a great deal of time in the West Bank over the years, these events seem alien to the Palestinian culture of resistance I have come to know and respect. Such actions smack of some kind of dirty war, based on motives that have little to do with the ongoing struggle for Palestinian self-determination.

Mona El-Farra’s remembrance
16 Apr — With deep sadness in my heart I write. I am sad and shocked that Vik has been taken from our world so soon and so tragically. I am appalled that such ignorant brutality and violence still exists in Palestinian society. Vik you were dedicated, full of humanity, and fun. Your love for life, music and laughter meant that your presence always created a nice atmosphere, for our youth and children in different occasions. You shared our lives in Gaza for more than 2 years, you danced Dabbka, you would always reach out and shake hands with little boys and girls in the streets, you would play football with them. You were there in our funerals as well as our weddings, and more than that your daily protesting as member of the ISM alongside with Palestinians, on the borders against the buffer zone that was created by Israel, where Farmers were unable to reach their land

Idealistic blogger was more Palestinian than the criminals who killed him / Matthew Kalman
16 Apr — Profile. Vittorio Arrigoni’s middle name was Utopia, yet he chose to spend most of the past three years in the hell of Gaza, acting as a human shield for Palestinian fishermen harassed by the Israeli navy and reporting to a worldwide audience … Greta Berlin, a founder of the FGM, said Arrigoni’s death would not derail the struggle of foreign activists, who would remain in Gaza. The kidnapping came a week after the assassination of Juliano Mer-Khamis, a Palestinian-Israeli theatre director in Jenin. “With Juliano murdered and now Vik, it makes us so terribly sad the killings continue,” Ms Berlin told The Independent. “If the people behind these murders think we will quit, they are mistaken. Like the murder of Rachel Corrie, hundreds of us signed on to work for justice for the Palestinians. We will do the same this time.”

Hamas holds 4 suspects over Italian’s murder
GAZA CITY (AFP) 16 Apr — The Hamas government said Saturday it has arrested two more suspects in connection with the murder of an Italian activist, hanged hours after his abduction. The interior ministry “managed to arrest two suspects” in the murder on Friday of pro-Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, in addition to two other suspects previously taken into custody, a statement said. “The security forces continue to hunt other members of the group responsible for the murder,” said the statement. The suspects arrested were being questioned about Arrigoni’s murder, it added, without revealing their names or when they were arrested.

Abbas: Murder of Italian activist is treason
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the Palestinian Authority attorney general to open an official investigation into the murder of an Italian activist found dead in Gaza on Friday. Abbas’ legal advisor Hasan Al-Uri said the killing of Vittorio Arrigoni would be treated as treason, and that those responsible could be sentenced to death, the official PA news agency Wafa reported.

True Muslims don’t do that / Khaled Amayreh
16 Apr — We don’t know for sure as of yet who murdered international Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni. However, whoever committed this despicable crime must be a human beast walking on two legs … And while Israel can never be ruled out as an accused party, it is widely believed that the so-called Salafi group (Salafi means a true follower of the Prophet) remains the premier suspect. They are guilty until proven innocent, given the prima facie evidence that would indict them … Again, there is no doubt that these ignoramuses are victims of their ignorance. They don’t represent the true followers of the Prophet (PBUH) who was quoted as saying according to authentic hadith that “whoever oppresses a Mua’hed (a non-Muslim resident or traveler in the land of Islam), or arrogated his rights, or takes something away from him against his will, or forces him to do that which is beyond his ability, I shall be his opponent on the Day of Judgment.” In another hadith, the Prophet said “whoever killed a non-Muslim living in the land of Islam shall not smell the fragrance of paradise; verily its fragrance is smelled from a distance of a 40-year travel.”

Photos from protests against murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, Bil‘in demos etc.

Vittorio Arrigoni’s mother to join Freedom Flotilla II
Gaza – PNN 16 Apr — Agidea Prata, the mother of Vittorio Arrigoni, the Italian activist and journalist killed in Gaza on Friday, said that she will be sailing to Gaza on May with the Free Gaza flotilla. Prata on Saturday told Italian news sources that “I want to see the Gaza that my son loved and sacrificed for, I want to meet the good people living there that my son Vik always talked about”. She added that Vittorio’s work will go on though his friends.Vittorio’s mother added that her son received death threats from a right wing American group on their website two years ago because of his photos published online and the pro Palestinian tattoo he has on his shoulder.

He who endures shall overcome / Roqayah Chamseddine
15 Apr — I admittedly wept when I heard the news of his murder. I had watched and translated the kidnappers’ video via Twitter, wherein a seemingly abused and beaten-up Vittorio was displayed, donning a blindfold. He was stolen, so easily. As if a life had meant nothing to his captors. As if his blood had no value. This is the plight of the men and women who are not Palestinian by blood but by heart; their actions have helped bring attention to the plight of the subjugated and persecuted people of Palestine. He is an honorary Palestinian in this right. As I perused his facebook page for a picture I came across a poem by Mahmoud Darwish which he had cited under “about me” and it has much more meaning now, in death, than it could have before. Passport by Mahmoud Darwish: They did not recognize me in the shadows / That suck away my color in this Passport….

VIDEO: London vigil to pay respect to Vittorio Arrigoni

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

VIDEO: Remembering Bassem Abu Rahma
Anarchists against the Wall 17 Apr 2010 — On April 17th we mark one year to losing Bassem, who we also knew as Pheel. Although he is greatly missed at the village and during every demonstration, his spirit keeps on living with each and every one of us. For this anniversary we decided to share the short film made in his memory.

We honor their memories through the fight for justice / Joseph Dana
Today marks the two year anniversary of the murder of Bassem Abu Rahmah. El Pheel, as he was known to his friends, was killed when an Israeli solider fired a high-velocity tear gas canister directly at his chest from a distance of no more than ten meters. Shai Carmeli-Pollak, the Israeli filmmaker behind Bil‘in Habibti, has made a moving tribute to Bassem and the Popular Struggle in Bil’in. It is now online for the anniversary of Bassem’s death. During this week of shock and sadness at the brutal murder of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza, we must honor the other amazing individuals that we have lost in this struggle.

Man shot with live ammunition during Bil‘in protest for Vittorio
PSCC 15 Apr — Bil‘in Protester Shot with Live Ammunition by Sniper — The protester, a 35 year old resident of the village was hit in his shoulder and foot by 0.22 mm live bullets shot at him by a sniper during a protest in memory of Vittorio Arrigoni, murdered last night in Gaza. Around 300 people participated in the weekly demonstration against the Wall in the village of Bil‘in today. This week’s march was dedicated to the memory of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, and protested his murder in Gaza City last night … While most protesters were forced to retreat due to the gas, smaller groups of protesters remained in the area of the Wall, where clashes ensued. At some point, Samir Bournat, a 35 year-old resident of the village and regular demonstrator, noted that a sniper was aiming his rifle at a group of protesters standing near the iron gate in the Wall. He approached in order to warn them, and was shot by the sniper twice. One bullet hit his right shoulder, while a second bullet penetrated his left foot. A Red Crescent ambulance which rushed to the sport to evacuate Burnat was also attacked with tear-gas projectiles shot directly at him by the soldiers.

Popular committee planning march to occupied Palestine borders
AMMAN, (PIC) 16 Apr — The Jordanian popular committee to commemorate the Nakba (catastrophe) announced it was planning a march to the Jordanian borders with occupied Palestine on the 64th anniversary of the Nabka on 15th May. Tawfik Abu Ershaid, the committee’s spokesman, said on Friday that the march would pose as a symbolic return of Palestinian refugees to their occupied homeland.

Muslim students arraigned for disrupting Israeli ambassador at US school
AP&Haaretz 16 Apr — Eleven Muslim students have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the disruption of a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States at a California university. The students were arrested on February 8, 2010, at the University of California, Irvine, after shouting in protest at the speech by Michael Oren on U.S.-Israeli security.

Helen Thomas to address anti-Israel protests during Netanyahu’s visit to U.S.
Haaretz 17 Apr — A series of anti-Israel protests, lectures and meetings are scheduled to coincide with the PM’s visit and the AIPAC conference in Washington DC in May; BDS founder meets Friday night with 250 activists calling Israel apartheid state.

Political/Diplomatic/International news

Donor states to PA condemn provocative flotillas to Gaza
Haaretz 17 Apr — The donor states to the Palestinian Authority, which held a conference last week in Brussels, condemned in its concluding statement uncoordinated aid flotillas to Gaza. The conference called on all parties to use land terminals to the Strip and avoid provocations. The statement is signed by the chairman of the conference, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store. A major force behind the clause was intense lobbying from the Israeli delegation to the conference

Abbas eyes French, German help on statehood
RAMALLAH (AFP) — President Mahmoud Abbas has told AFP he will visit France next week and Germany in May to seek advice on the creation of a Palestinian state … “We will ask [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy for his advice,” Abbas told AFP, saying he wanted the Europeans’ advice about the steps leading to the recognition of a Palestinian state later this year.

Independents to update Hamas, Fatah on Cairo talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Apr — A group of independent Palestinian political figures will meet with Hamas and Fatah to update them on their efforts to reconcile the parties in Cairo, said Abdul Aziz Ash-Shaqaqi, head of the delegation.

Palestinians still want Quartet-brokered peace with Israel
AP 15 Apr — Top Palestinian diplomat at UN says Palestinian leadership indicates willingness to go back to negotiations, despite unilateral Palestinian effort to attain UN recognition of statehood.

First Palestinian full ambassador to Chile presents papers
SANTIAGO (WAFA) 16 Apr — Mai Kaileh has become the first Palestinian full ambassador to Chile since the South American country had recognized an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in January when on Friday she presented her credentials to the president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera.

Iran blames Israel for Stuxnet worm
AP 16 Apr — A senior Iranian military official says experts have determined the United States and Israel were behind a mysterious computer worm known as Stuxnet that has harmed Iran’s nuclear program.,7340,L-4057557,00.html

Ministers to PM: Present foreign policy in Israel, not US
Ynet 17 Apr — Prime Minister Netanyahu says his upcoming speech at US Congress is opportunity to ‘present political, security principles.’ Right-wing ministers demand him to introduce strategy in Israel first,7340,L-4057923,00.html

Druze in Golan rally against Assad
Ynet 16 Apr — For first time, Druze living in Golan Heights join protests against Syrian government,7340,L-4057638,00.html

Other news

Israeli teen wounded in attack on school bus dies
JERUSALEM  17 Apr — A hospital official says an Israeli teen critically wounded when an anti-tank rocket fired from Gaza hit a school bus 10 days ago has died. The 16-year-old did not regain consciousness. Inbal Guter, a spokeswoman for Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, says he died Sunday … The bus dropped off all its passengers except for the teenager minutes before it was hit by the anti-tank rocket from nearby Gaza.

Ukrainian security participated in Sisi’s abduction
KIEV, (PIC) 14 Apr — A Ukrainian human rights activist has accused the Ukrainian intelligence of helping the Israeli Mossad in Kidnapping Palestinian engineer Dr. Dhurar Abu Sisi last February, describing such an incident as big shame on Ukraine. According to the eyewitness Andre Makarinko, who said he was in the same train cabin with Abu Sisi when the kidnapping incident took place, two plainclothes Ukrainian officials approached Abu Sisi and asked him in Russian to produce his documents and papers before taking him away with them to an unidentified place. “A third plainclothes person came in moments later, and searched Abu Sisi’s luggage and jackets, and when I asked him about his identity and why they took Abu Sisi, he identified himself as an Ukrainian intelligence officer and showed me his ID card to prove it saying that everything is all right,” said Makarinko in an interview with Al-Jazeera net.

Palestinian support for attacks drops, poll finds
JERUSALEM (AFP) 17 Apr — …The survey conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre found that support for Palestinian “military operations of any kind’ against Israel fell from 53.3% in January 2009 to 37.1% in April of this year. Palestinians also showed less support for the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel, with 25.4% saying they believed the rockets “are useful in achieving the national goals,” down from 50.8% in January 2009. In Gaza, respondents felt more strongly than their West Bank counterparts that the rocket fire was harmful, with 41.5% saying the rockets harmed “Palestinian goals” as compared to 36.8% in the West Bank.

60% of polled Israelis support a new war on Gaza
NAZARETH, (PIC) 17 Apr — An Israeli opinion poll revealed that 60% of Israelis support a new sweeping attack on the Gaza Strip similar to the 23-day operation Cast Lead of late 2008. The poll conducted by “New Wave” polling institute for the Israel Today newspaper surveyed 400 Hebrew speaking Israelis. The results displayed that only 29.6% opposed such a war. A similar survey conducted last month for the same paper showed that 50.8% were supportive of a new military campaign against Gaza while 38.8% opposed it.

Gaza lawyer elected president of Arab Organization for Human Rights
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Apr — Palestinian lawyer and activist Raji Sourani was elected president of the board of trustees of the Arab Organization for Human Rights on Saturday. Sourani was elected to the position at a vote in Cairo on Saturday evening. He is the first Palestinian ever to hold the post.

No country for refugees / Ayala Panievsky
Haaretz 15 Apr — They wanted to change Israelis’ perceptions of asylum seekers, and decided the best way to do it was through a newspaper. Meet the editorial staff of ‘The Refugee Voice,’ published in four languages, including Hebrew.

Analysis / Opinion

Vittorio and Israel’s attack on the intellectual intifada / Lauren Booth
17 Apr — …The headline ‘Italian peace activist killed by Palestinian extremists’ is an Israeli propagandist’s wet dream. A gift as potentially large in its political implications as the now inevitable retraction by the UN of the Goldstone report. Why? Two reasons. firstly, if nothing is done, and fast, Israel will use the momentum of these two machinated events as an excuse to re invade the Gaza Strip under the auspices of ‘terrorism and security’ issues. Secondly, Israeli is seeking to end the growing momentum of the siege-breaking movement and the increasing appeal of the ISM (International Solidarity Movement).

Michael Jansen: Murder of Vittorio Arrigoni
17 Apr — The question that must be asked about the assassination of Arrigoni is: cui bono? Who benefits? Not the Salafis.  Hamas is certain to strike them with an iron fist. Not Hamas. It has been exposed as having failed to provide security in the strip although Arrigoni’s kidnapping is the first since Hamas took power nearly four years ago. Not Gazans who count on the support given by ISM “internationals” who interpose between Israeli forces and threatened fishermen and farmers and report to the excluded outside world what is taking place in the strip. Foreign activists, who had felt safe among welcoming Palestinians, may now have doubts about their security when they go about their work. Israel, however, can claim that Salafis connected to Al Qaeda – the current bogey-movement of the Western world – are asserting themselves in Gaza and, consequently, the siege and blockade must remain. Israel can also contend that the ostracism of Hamas, which has, allegedly, permitted the Salafis to prosper, must continue. Cui bono can also be asked about the murder of Mer-Khamis, but that is another story.

Lift the blockade on Gaza, talk to Hamas / Yousef Munayyer
17 Apr — … I don’t have a solution for the immediate political and diplomatic problems, but I there are a few questions which nobody seems to be asking. Looking back, wasn’t it better to let Hamas enjoy its victory in the 2006 elections? … Hamas is not ready to abandon the armed struggle and become a political movement — but when it actually did, the election results were canceled and the political leaders of Hamas put under Israeli arrest. So instead of political confrontation, the fight between Hamas and Fatah became a civil war. Shouldn’t we encourage the politicization of Hamas, as oppose to its militarization, as we do now? Second thought: Isn’t isolating the strip just making Hamas stay in power? This is pretty obvious — when Gaza is disconnected from the world, and no elections take place, who is there to challenge Hamas? And how exactly could one do so? It seems to me that by isolating Gaza, we are actually making it much easier for Hamas to exercise complete control. If we break Hamas (I’m not sure how this can be done, but still) — are we going to like those who will replace them? What if it is a group like the Salafi who killed Vittorio? What is there to be lost from talking to Hamas?

The Settler State / Uri Avnery
16 Apr — …Some weeks ago I wrote that the problem may not be the annexation of the West Bank by Israel, but the annexation of Israel by the West Bank settlers. Some readers reacted with a chuckle. It looked like a humorous aside. It was not. The time has come to examine this process seriously: Is Israel falling victim to a hostile takeover by the settlers?


Friday: 2 Iraqis killed, 10 wounded
Light violence left two Iraqis dead and 10 wounded. Meanwhile, protesters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square called for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down. In Mosul, four people were wounded in an attack against soldiers. A grenadewounded a policeman. An army officer was wounded in a bombing. A sticky bombwounded an officer in Kirkuk. Another sticky bomb wounded two more people. A sniper in Khalis killed one solider and wounded another. A young man was shot to death in Kut. In Ninewa, an Ansar al-Sunna emir was captured while trying to flee to Syria.

Saturday: 4 Iraqis killed, 6 wounded
At least four Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light violence. In Baghdad, a policeman was shot to death in Ilam. A bomb targeting an Education Ministry official wounded two bystanders in Karrada. Gunmen wounded a policeman in Kadhimiya. A Washash bombing left two wounded. A federalpoliceman was killed in a shooting in Saidiya. In Hawija, the body of a Sahwa leader was found several days after he had been kidnapped. Two suspects werearrested in an unrelated event….


Israel chief rabbi says Obama must free Pollard if he wants another term
Haaretz 17 Apr — The Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, told congregants in a Sabbath sermon that if U.S. President Barack Obama seeks reelection, he must release Jonathan Pollard, Israel Radio reported on Sunday … Metzger said there was a feeling that many American Jews that had supported Obama in the last election were disappointed in him, in no small part because of Obama’s indifference to Pollard.

‘Move over AIPAC’ conference to honor Helen Thomas

Apr 17, 2011

Philip Weiss

Interesting positioning. From the organizers: the veteran journalist will be giving a speech at the shindig in Washington in late May. Hat tip, Matt Duss.

Obama learns how big his district is
Apr 17, 2011 11:57 am | Philip Weiss


The Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, told congregants in a Sabbath sermon that if U.S. President Barack Obama seeks reelection, he must release Jonathan Pollard, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.

Death in a Palestinian town

Apr 17, 2011

Jeff Klein

In Palestine, not all the killing takes place in the West Bank and Gaza – and not all the killers are Israeli security forces. Certainly, Palestinian residents of Israel are not immune from state violence. In October 2000, 13 Palestinian youths were shot dead by Israeli police during demonstrations of solidarity with the Second Intifada beginning across the Green Line. And Arabs in Israel often face the same arbitrary applications of security law, confiscation of property and restrictions on their choice of where to live or work as imposed on the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories – even though they are supposedly equal citizens according to Zionist propaganda. Lately, however, a growing wave of violence within the Palestinian towns of Israel has caused serious concern among community leaders.

Qalansuwe is a smallish municipality of 15,000 located among the cluster of Arab population centers in the southern part of what is called “The Little Triangle,” just across the Green Line from the occupied West Bank cities of Tulkarem and Qalqiliya. Nearby Taibe, Tira and Kufr Kassem are the other important Palestinian towns in the area. Although Israel contains urban ghettos of a type familiar in the US in so-called “Mixed Cities” like Jaffa, Lid and Haifa, most of its 1.2 million Palestinians live in separate and unequal segregated communities, mostly in the center and north of the country, along with a fairly large Bedouin population that is under pressure in the Negev/Naqab area of the South.

These areas are mostly crowded and impoverished, face high unemployment, while under resourced by government funding – and they are plagued by rising rates of crime and violence. Parallels with segregated communities of color in the US are obvious, though the Palestinian in “1948” Israel face even more discrimination than African-Americans in a society that is openly racist and within a state which proclaims that it belongs only to the favored Jewish population. When Palestinian hear their supposed national anthem, Hatikva, rhapsodize about the triumphant conquest of the land by “returning” Jews, they know that it does not even pretend to included them. Imagine if the US national anthem were “Dixie” and you get the idea.

A few days ago, We’am Zmaru, the City Manager of Qalansuwe, was gunned down by automatic weapons fire outside his house in a brazen gang-style hit. Last September, the Mayor’s brother was also murdered during an assault that also left one bystander dead and five wounded. Local leaders see the response by Israeli police tepid at best, contrasting with the overwhelming deployment of resources to investigate crimes against Jews – or to provide security to Settler communities deep within the West Bank.

In fact , there have been 18 murders in Qalansuwe during the past 15 years and 73 in nearby Taibe, a city of 40,000 that is sometimes known locally as “Chicago” after its gangland atmosphere of rival drug peddling families and protection rackets. Only one of these murders has been solved, apparently “by accident” according to locals. Community leaders give little credence to the official claim that police resources are limited in a country that spends many billions of dollars on its war-making power, a costly occupation infrastructure and the construction of a wall/security barrier hundreds of miles long in the West Bank.

Palestinian on Palestinian crime is apparently tolerable, so long as it remains largely confined to their own communities and does not spill over to the more favored Jewish population centers. State-subsidized Jewish communities of privilege are often located close to and among the Palestinian the Palestinian towns in a conscious policy to “Judaize” areas of Israel with high Arab population, much like the settlement project in the West Bank. Just down the road from the mean streets of Taibe can be found the lushly landscaped streets and spacious red-tiled roof houses of Kakhav Yair, with excellent schools, a modern shopping mall and numerous parks and playgrounds. (In the absence of government-financed resources, the only public park in Qalansuwe was established through private community fund raising.) Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other high government officials live there, but the gated community, like most favored Jewish town in Israel, is off-limits to Arab residents through a complex web of legal barriers and community rules. Recently, a large group of Orthodox Israeli rabbis issued a letter urging Jews not to rent apartments to Arabs in those few mixed communities where it is legal.

Yesterday, at the mourning tent for the slain Qalansuwe was filled with local mourners as well notables from many of the Palestinian towns of Israel. The leadership of Qalansuwe was joined by the mayors of Tira, Kufr Kassem and Jaljulia. In the kind of language that could be equally heard from US African-American leaders, Ramiz Jeraisi, the mayor of Nazareth, Israel’s largest Palestinian city, who is the elected leader of the Council of Arab Municipalities, urged local anti-crime initiatives and community mobilization, but he also condemned the lack of economic opportunities for Palestinians and the apparent indifference of government ministries to violence among “Israeli Arabs.” Jeraisi reported on a meeting with the Israeli police chief held several months earlier, where promises were made for increased law-enforcement resource were made, but no new actions followed. The mourners, drinking the traditional bitter coffee beneath the black tent nodded in agreement.

Later that Saturday evening, young people from Qalansuwe gathered at a local outdoor café to watch a large-screen projection of the soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Palestinians are mad for Spanish futbol especially, with posters decorating the walls of stores and restaurants in every town in the West Bank and Israel. When Barcelona scored the first goal early in the second half of the game, after midnight local time, the crowd cheered among the wafting clouds of nargila (water pipe) smoke and horns honked loudly outside. The Catalans, once a long-oppressed national minority under Franco’s Fascist regime, had made startling progress and prosperity, along with regional and cultural autonomy, in the modern Spanish democracy. They were the clear local favorite. But Madrid later scored a tying goal and the game ended in a draw.

Why BDS can’t be an internal Jewish conversation

Apr 17, 2011

Tom Pessah

Mondoweiss recently posted several pieces on J-Street and the BDS debate. The organization’s executive director, Jeremy Ben-Ami, expressed his need to keep the debate intra-Jewish. Palestinian BDS activist Omar Barghouti called this strategy racist, while Ben-Ami sees it as a legitimate form of a “communal conversation.”

In relation to the powerful forces attempting to stifle any discussion of BDS, Ben-Ami’s willingness to create any space at all for such a discussion is truly praiseworthy. Nevertheless, the attempt to keep it as a “communal conversation”  is very counterproductive. From my Jewish Israeli perspective, I want to explain why.

We need to remember there is a power dynamic here. American Jews enjoy privileges over Palestinians, just as Israelis do. They are encouraged to visit Israel at almost no cost on Birthright trips, while Palestinians born in the country are barred from entering it. They can donate money to the most extreme settler organization with little fear of FBI investigations, while any donation to Palestinian charities is inherently suspect. They can heckle an Israeli prime minister while pro-Palestine Arab activists who heckled the ambassador face criminal charges. If popular journalists like Glenn Beck make anti-Jewish comments, they lose their jobs – while ignorant anti-Palestinian or islamophobic statements are widely tolerated. Given all these privileges, this isn’t just a communal conversation – it’s a conversation within the privileged community about what to do with the less powerful: how should “we” promote “their” rights?

Keeping this separation of “us”  and “them” may seem more palatable, but it places huge barriers in the way of a truly effective conversation. For one thing, it overly amplifies voices of Jewish victimhood in relation to those of Palestinian suffering, because Palestinians are excluded from the conversation. In the UC Berkeley divestment debate last year we heard many times how the discussion made Jewish students uncomfortable, or damaged their existing relationships with Muslim students. What helped put these descriptions of suffering into proportion was hearing Palestinian students talk about how their relatives in Palestine had been tortured, or were prevented from receiving medical aid by checkpoints, leading to their deaths. A conversation that doesn’t take these voices into account will ignore the very issues that need to be resolved.

But perhaps some Jews could represent Palestinians in this internal conversation, and bring these issues up? However, this is also problematic. Aside from never having the depth of experience to do so, this attempt to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians prevents American Jews and Israelis from coming to terms with our own racism and with our own privileges. One of the biggest barriers to effective Jewish-Palestinian peace work is a widespread sense of Jewish moral and intellectual superiority, which often makes it impossible for Palestinians to work with us. This is why so much of the discussion of BDS is in the form of Jews giving Palestinians advice about how they should resist. We can’t honestly face this sense of superiority while we are busy representing others, but an internal Jewish conversation will inevitably push us in that direction.

Preserving the “us/them” distinction also leaves “us” more vulnerable to fear-mongering. One of the easiest ways of preserving the current system is portraying any of its opponents as extreme, hateful and dangerous – just as Mubarak and Qaddhafi have presented themselves as the only alternative to al-Qaida. This stigmatization is ongoing. Without hearing genuinely progressive Palestinian voices, the fear-mongering can never be overcome.

An internal Jewish discussion of BDS can only go so far. We need to open it up.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Gazans to hold ‘state funeral’ for slain Italian


by crescentandcross


GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Palestinians in Gaza are to hold a “state funeral” for a murdered Italian activist, Hamas said on Sunday, adding it was close to arresting all those involved in his death.

Hamas foreign affairs and planning minister Mohammed Awad told reporters that slain activist Vittorio Arrigoni’s body would be moved to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on Monday after a funeral in Gaza.

“We’re waiting for his friends and relatives to arrive in Gaza. Some are already here but there are others we are waiting for, and then there will be a state funeral,” Awad said.

“We expect afterwards that his body will be taken to the Rafah crossing and then on to Cairo, according to the wishes of his family.”

Hamas officials said Arrigoni’s girlfriend was already in Gaza, and his mother told Israeli media that she too planned to visit the coastal territory to see where her son “lived and died.”

In an interview with the Israeli news site YNet, Egidia Beretta said her son had embraced life in the Gaza Strip.

“Vittorio spoke a lot about Gaza and now he’s gone. I plan to visit the Gaza Strip in the future. I want to see where my son lived and died, to see what he spoke of and for what cause he sacrificed his life,” she told the news site.

Arrigoni was found hanged in an abandoned house in the north of the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, hours after he was kidnapped by a fringe, radical Salafist group.

Security forces of the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza have arrested four people in connection with his murder, but Awad said some suspects remained at large in the coastal strip.

“Some suspects have been arrested but there are still some people with ties to the operation in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Hamas security officials on Sunday named three suspects they were hunting as Bilal al-Omari, Abdul-Rahman al-Birizit — a Jordanian — and Mohammed al-Salfiti, himself a Hamas policeman.

Awad said Hamas expected to arrest all those linked to the killing “shortly” and that security forces had set up roadblocks to ensure those tied to Arrigoni’s death could not slip out of Gaza.

Arrigoni, 36, was a long-time member of the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian organisation, and had been living and working in the Gaza Strip for much of the past three years.

His kidnapping was the first of a foreigner in the Gaza Strip since the 2007 abduction of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was later released unharmed.

Hamas has vowed to bring Arrigoni’s killers to justice, and Awad said on Sunday that the group planned to rename a street in Gaza City in the activist’s honour.

Posted in GazaComments Off on Gazans to hold ‘state funeral’ for slain Italian

Syria city ‘boiling’ after security forces reportedly kill 12 protesters


Homs protesters were reportedly shot ‘in cold blood’; deaths come a day after three mourners were killed after attending a funeral of a man killed by Syrian security forces.

Syrian forces killed 12 protesters overnight in the central city of Homs in clashes after the death of a tribal leader in custody, a rights campaigner in Homs said on Monday.

“Homs is boiling. Security forces and the regime thugs have been provoking armed tribes for a month now. But civilians in large numbers also took to the streets in different areas of Homs last night and they were shot at in cold blood,” the rights campaigner told Reuters.

Syria - Reuters - April 17, 2011 Boys hold a banner during a demonstration in the the Syrian port city of Banias April 17, 2011.
Photo by: Reuters

The violence comes shortly after Syrian security forces killed three mourners on a highway outside the town of Talbiseh, slightly north of Homs, on Sunday when they opened fire on a funeral that had turned into a demonstration, two witnesses said.

They had been attending the funeral of a man killed the day before by security forces, the witnesses said. The mourners marched across a bridge on the highway near where security police and gunmen loyal to President Bashar Assad were stationed.

Despite Assad’s promises of reform such as lifting the decades-old emergency laws, protests continued to erupt in several cities in Syria with thousands of people taking to the streets to call for greater freedom.

Thousands of protesters in the southern town of Suweida participated in a rally to mark Evacuation Day, commemorating the departure of the last French soldiers 65 years ago and Syria’s proclamation of independence.

Supporters of Assad were present alongside protesters, declaring loyalty to the president.

Several hundred people chanted “the people want freedom” at the grave of independence leader Ibrahim Hananu in Syria’s second city Aleppo on Sunday, a rights campaigner in contact with the protesters said.

Aleppo, a large trading and industrial hub, has been mostly free of protests since mass pro-democracy demonstrations challenging President Bashar al-Assad’s authoritarian rule erupted more than a month ago in southern Syria and spread to large parts in the country of 20 million people.

Assad said on Saturday that the emergency laws, in place for almost 50 years, would be lifted by next week. But he did not address protesters’ demands to curb Syria’s pervasive security apparatus and dismantle its authoritarian system.

“God, Syria, freedom, that’s all,” chanted several hundred protesters in the South Syria town of Suweida. They also shouted “no fear” and slogans in support of the city of Deraa, where protests first broke out a month ago and has suffered the heaviest bloodshed.

Human rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed since demonstrations erupted in Deraa on March 18 in protest against the arrest of youths who had scrawled graffiti inspired by the Arab uprisings in North Africa.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syria city ‘boiling’ after security forces reportedly kill 12 protesters

Libyan Rebels Say They’re Being Sent Weapons from “Unknown Countries”


by crescentandcross

BENGHAZI, Libya — Libyan rebels in their eastern capital of Benghazi said they had begun receiving arms from abroad, at the same time as forces loyal to Col.Muammar el-Qaddafi escalated their attacks on the besieged western city of Misurata.


The rebel military leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah Younes, said Saturday in an interview with Al Arabiya, a satellite news channel, that his forces had received weapons supplies from unidentified nations that supported their uprising.

A spokesman for the rebels’ National Transitional Council, Mustafa Gheriani, confirmed General Younes’s statement but also refused to provide details. 

Asked whether any arms shipments had arrived yet, a spokesman for the rebel military, Col. Ahmed Bani, smiled broadly, but then insisted, “I didn’t quite confirm it.”

On Thursday, however, the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, told CNN that his country would provide weapons to the rebels and that deliveries of antitank weapons might already have reached them. Qatar, along with Italy and France, has already recognized the rebels as the legitimate government of Libya.

Qatar hosted an international conference on Libya last week in which participants called for the ouster of the Qaddafi family from power in Libya. Afterward, the Italian foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said arms shipments to the rebels would be justified, but he stopped short of confirming whether Italy would make such shipments.

The assistance from other countries would come as evidence emerges that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s military forces have used ground-to-ground rockets and cluster bombs, which have been banned by much of the world. Witnesses, survivors and physical evidence in recent days indicated that these so-called indiscriminate weapons, which cannot be fired precisely, had struck residential neighborhoods of Misurata.

The violence continued in Misurata on Saturday. Mortar barrages and a gun battle that began Friday evening raged past 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, but at last quieted before dawn. But early in the morning more mortars could be heard exploding in the city, and gunfire lit up the front-line fighting position near Tripoli Street for much of the morning and early afternoon.

NATO aircraft could be heard overhead intermittently, but seemed not to quiet the fighting. At one trauma center, the wounded arrived throughout the afternoon, including a 10-year-old boy with a shrapnel wound in his head. His cries and screams filled the center’s corridors.

Another man arrived near death, both of his legs severed by a blast. A wounded soldier from Colonel Qaddafi’s forces also turned up, shot through the upper left leg. He gave his name as doctors treated him, but refused to answer any further questions.

In the evening, a wounded doctor arrived at a trauma center near the front, saying that the Zawiya Hospital had been shelled and several people wounded.

In recent days, the port here has received large shipments of humanitarian aid in containers bearing the Qatari flag, although there has been no sign of arms shipments; parts of the port, however, are restricted to military only.

Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, the deputy chairman of the National Transitional Council, said at a news conference last week that the Libyan rebels would welcome both arms shipments and foreign trainers to teach them how to use more advanced weaponry, although no foreign ground troops were wanted.

On Saturday, Mr. Gheriani said the rebels had opened “professional training centers.” Asked if he meant that foreign advisers or trainers were present, he declined to reply but winked broadly, twice. “We have a lot of people being trained, real professional training, that we don’t talk to the world about,” he said.

Such training, he added, is in addition to a Libyan-run training camp for rebel volunteers to get basic instruction before heading to the front line, which is now about 100 miles south of here, outside of Ajdabiya.

On Saturday, that volunteer training camp was closed to journalists, although previously it had been open. A machine gun emplacement guarding the main entrance was abandoned, although the machine gun and live ammunition were left in place there, unattended.

Also on Saturday, the Ionian Spirit, a ferry boat chartered by the International Organization for Migration, returned from the besieged western city of Misurata, carrying nearly 1,200 refugees fleeing there. They were among an estimated 8,000 migrant workers who had been trapped in Misurata, most of them from Egypt and Bangladesh, with others from many Middle Eastern countries, according to Jeremy R. A. Haslam of the organization.

Mr. Haslam said the ship would return Saturday to ferry more of the migrants out of Misurata.

“They’re desperate,” he said; “everyone wants to go.”

He said security concerns obliged the ship’s crew to accept some of the healthier people for the first trip out, instead of those who were weakest and most in need.

“It was survival of the fittest,” he said.

C. J. Chivers contributed reporting from Misurata, Libya.

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Libyan Rebels Say They’re Being Sent Weapons from “Unknown Countries”

WikiLeaks: Hariri Proposed New Syria Regime


by crescentandcross


Leaked diplomatic cables allege that Saad Al-Hariri suggested isolating Bashar Al-Assad and forming a coalition of Muslim Brotherhood and former regime figures to take power

Ahram Online ,

A WikiLeaks document published by a Lebanese daily claims that former prime minister and head of the Future Movement Saad Al-Hariri called for the isolation of the Syrian regime in 2006.

Hariri reportedly suggested replacing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad with a coalition that included the Muslim Brotherhood and several individuals that were once part of the regime.

Hizbullah-friendly Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar published the leaked documents the day Syrian authorities accused “Lebanese forces.” including a Future Movement MP, of supplying  a “terrorist group” with arms and funds to incite them to overthrow the regime.

Syria has been struggling with unprecedented pro-reform protests for the past month.

According to the leaked diplomatic cable, Hariri, who was not yet in office at the time, met on 24 August 2006 with US officials and urged for the isolation of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad warning of unrest in Lebanon following a speech in which Al-Assad threatened a civil war in Lebanon, Al-Akhbar wrote.

The leaked document added that with regards to who would fill the void left in Damascus should the regime fall, Hariri suggested a coalition between the Muslim Brotherhood and some figures that were once part of the regime.

Former Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam and former army Chief of Staff Hekmat Al-Shehaby were among the figures.

Hariri and the 14 March Alliance had accused Syria of orchestrating former Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri’s assassination on 14 February 2005 in Beirut. The car bombing that claimed Hariri’s life also killed 22 others and was followed by a series of assassinations of prominent Lebanese anti-Syria figures.

The Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon in April 2005 in the aftermath of the assassination following three decades of occupation. After Syria’s withdrawal, Hariri was elected to parliament heading a new majority.

Be the first to like this p

Posted in SyriaComments Off on WikiLeaks: Hariri Proposed New Syria Regime

Ahmadinejad warns of divisive plots


by crescentandcross


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned against plots hatched by arrogant powers with the purpose of stirring up Iran-Arab and Shia-Sunni strife, urging regional nations to remain vigilant.

“Arrogant powers are trying to sow the seeds of discord in the region. They are trying to provoke regional divisions and provoke wars among nations and governments in order to sell their weapons,” said the Iranian president on Monday in a ceremony marking the national Army Day.

He added that enemies are making efforts to reinforce their evil pillars in the region and pointed out, “By God’s grace, Iranians and other regional nations are vigilant. All nations in the region need to remain vigilant.”

He stated that the US and its allies hatched a pre-planned plot some 10 years ago and infiltrated into the region in a bid to “occupy the heart of politics, economy and culture of the world which is our region.”

President Ahmadinejad noted that their efforts aimed to control the awakening of regional nations, inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and to “save the capitalist system and economy from a definite death.”

He emphasized that vigilance of the Iranian people and unity among nations thwarted all their plots.

“The capitalist system is nearing its collapse. It has mobilized its military and political capacities to survive a definite death. This is the reason that all regional countries should keep vigilant,” he pointed out.

The Iranian chief executive stressed that the time of deceit, interference, dual attitude and bullying has come to an end.

“The US is not an honest friend because it has always betrayed its friends. However, Iran is a true friend of all nations,” he said.

President Ahmadinejad emphasized that a new Middle East would take shape without the presence of the United States and Israel, stressing, “Enemies of nations have no option but to accept defeat.”

Posted in IranComments Off on Ahmadinejad warns of divisive plots

Ben Ali accused of Spying for Zio-Nazi’s



Deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
The bodyguard of deposed Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has revealed that the ousted president was allegedly spying for the IsraHell intelligence service, Mossad.

Abdurrahman Sobair accused Ben Ali, his wife and his son-in-law plus a number of senior Tunisian security officials of spying for IsraHell, IRNA quoted the bodyguard as telling the Algerian al Shorouk newspaper. 

Back in 1991, Leila Trabelsi, Ben Ali’s wife, instructed two Tunisian intelligence agents to assassinate a Tunisian businessman who was one of Ben Ali’s closest friends, said the bodyguard.

“Leila was also involved in the assassination of several Palestinian leaders in Tunisia,” added Ben Ali’s bodyguard.

Ben Ali’s son-in-law was also involved in the murder of a 4-year-old girl in 1992, Sobair said.

Moreover, he noted that Mohammad al-Arabi al-Mahjubi, the former secretary of the Interior, has had a close cooperation with Mossad in 1990.

Investigations carried out by the Tunisian security apparatus showed he had commissioned somebody to commit the crime, Ben Ali’s bodyguard added.


Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Ben Ali accused of Spying for Zio-Nazi’s

Zionist Facebook Blocks Muslim Party’s Pages


In a blatant violation of freedom of speech, the social networking website Facebook has blocked access to the pages belonging to Egypt’s main political group — the Muslim Brotherhood.
This comes after US lawmakers voiced concern over the growing popularity of the Islamic group among the Egyptian public. 

Abdul Jalil el-Sharnouby editor of Ikhwan online site says that the social networking service has given no reason for the partial blocking.

He added that the move is part of Islamophobia and anti-Islamic agenda pursued by US officials in various parts of the world.

The Muslim Brotherhood has launched an active online campaign to inform the youth about the Islamic Awakening in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sharnouby added that Washington opposes the Islamic intellectual movements, while welcoming the presence of al-Qaeda terrorists in cyberspace.

The developments come two month after a popular revolution toppled US-backed former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and his associates in the region.

Senior officials in Washington fear that the Muslim Brotherhood will play a crucial role in the future democratic government and can endanger the illegitimate interests of the US and IsraHell in the region.


Posted in EgyptComments Off on Zionist Facebook Blocks Muslim Party’s Pages

World: News**News**News


Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on World: News**News**News

Inside the mind of Gobbels



Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Inside the mind of Gobbels

Shoah’s pages