Archive | February 14th, 2012

Egypt Military Rejects US Threats and Braces for General Strike


“A phone call from the American embassy in Cairo used to be the sure thing to straighten up such a wretched mess. But this time it wasn’t enough.”


Dr. Ashraf Ezzat / Cairo


Egypt’s ruling military council has rejected US threats to end aid payments to the country.

One of the 19 is the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Sam LaHood and five other Americans are in Egypt while the others have left, according to a statement from the Egyptian prosecutor’s office.

US-Egypt tensions have risen considerably following the decision to ban 43 pro-democracy staffers- including 19 Americans- from travel and refer them to a Cairo court on charges of violating laws regulating the operation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Among those hit by travel bans is a son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as other foreign staffers of the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute.

A statement released on the council’s official Facebook page stressed that Egypt is a country with a rich heritage that cannot be pressured or blackmailed into doing someone else’s bidding.

The council also added that Egypt’s international relations with the US and other countries were governed by the common interests of both parties, and that “Egypt does not bow to the domination of anyone.”

… Now, such a statement, coming out from a military that has been indulging in an obscenely large American aid (US$1.3 billion annually) for the past 30 years, is quite perplexing and calls for some contemplation.

Egyptian investigative judges Sameh Abu Zeid, right, and Ashraf el-Ashmawi, who are investigating the foreign funding of NGOs, enter a press conference at the Justice Ministry in Cairo on Feb. 8, 2012

To begin with, and to put the reader into perspective, the whole “crackdown on foreign NGOs Cairo offices” with the decision to prosecute 43 staffers is but a cheap political stunt we Egyptians have seen it so many times before but with slight variations.

The catch goes like this. …  In dealing with any foreign investment, be it in the field of industry, publishing, tourism, etc, Egyptian authorities would grant the applicant for investment, or in our case, the NGOs, a temporary permit to operate in the country until all the required paper work is completed, but of course the paper work is never completed and the final authorization is never granted for security reasons.

If things went smoothly and convenient for the authorities, nobody would bring up this final authorization issue, if not, the targeted venture/business would be suspended and its workers/staff legally convicted of breaking the regulation rules and also of illegal foreign funding.

It’s a dirty old trick, but works fine and even looks good before any court of law.

A phone call from the American embassy in Cairo used to be the sure thing to straighten up such a wretched mess. But this time it wasn’t enough.

Workers from a non-governmental organization National Democratic Institute, wait as Egyptian officials raid their office in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, 29 December, 2011

The American embassy aggressively intervened; Leon Panetta, the US defense secretary, telephoned Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and asked him to lift the travel ban on the American citizens, even a delegation from the supreme council of armed forces (SCAF) flew to Washington for negotiations over the issue.

The awfully weird thing is that SCAF grew more hostile and adamant about legally pursuing this NGOs case after the generals had cut short the visit to the U.S and returned to Cairo.

Something unusual happened back there in the Pentagon behind closed doors.  “Egypt military generals play risky game with U.S” The associated press reported … Watch the video here.

Were the Egyptian generals so naïve and stupid as to jeopardize 30 years of US alliance and support over this small NGOs’ issue … or is this a whole new deal aimed at helping the military to censor freedom of expression and silence the growing tide of dissent in Egypt?

But on the other hand, SCAF may also fear it has much more than US aid to lose if it fully embraces a democratic transition that could bring civilian oversight of its considerable financial assets and curb its long-standing domination of power.

In the meantime, Egypt’s ruling generals have deployed additional soldiers and tanks across the country in preparation for the anniversary of former president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster from power on 11 February.

The move is seen as a warning to activists planning to mark the day with a national strike and civil disobedience campaign to demand a swifter transition to civilian rule.

Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri told a press conference that calls for civil disobedience were part of a plan to “overthrow the state” and all Egyptians should unite to get through the crises and dangers the country was facing.

More military tanks are deployed in Egyptian major cities as the country braces for general strike.

Al-Azhar, a prestigious seat of Sunni Muslim learning, also criticized the calls for civil disobedience, the state-owned Al-Ahram news portal reported.

Pope Shenouda, head of the Orthodox Coptic church, said the civil disobedience was against Christian religion, according to the MENA news agency

Egypt’s de facto ruler Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, called earlier this week for plans for the first post-Mubarak presidential election, currently scheduled for June, to be completed quickly.

As Saturday will mark one year since the ouster of President Mubarak, Egyptians remain deeply divided and confused, amid increasing political fog, over how they perceive post-Mubarak Egypt.

For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website.


Are the Freedom Fighers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the Vanguard of a Global Revolution?

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NATO Killed Children in Afghanistan



These days, when I watch state-run Afghan TV, which is funded by American money, I am surprised by how openly Afghan experts criticize US military tactics in Afghanistan. This is new.

By Hanan Habibzai

Kapisa district police chief Abdul Hamid Erkin told AFP: “Two nights ago foreign special forces carried out a raid on a house in Geyawa village in Nejrab district.” The next morning their plane carried out an airstrike on a house in the village as a result of which seven children and one adult were martyred.”

He said commanders of French troops who operate in the area “claimed that the target was a group of Taliban facilitators, but we checked the area and there were no Taliban.” In fact the people in the area have very strong anti-Taliban feelings. We filmed the victims, who were children, and showed it to the French commanders,” district police chief told AFP.

Presidential statement confirmed Thursday that NATO airstrike killed eight children in Kapisa province northeast of the capital Kabul. The children were aged between  seven and 15, he said, while the adult was a mentally-handicapped 20-year-old. The tragic incident comes about two weeks after Four French soldiers were killed by a loyalist Afghan officer in the same province (Kapisa) last month, pressuring French mission in Afghanistan.

President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately announced that France will pull out its soldiers from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, a year before the international deadline for a pulling out of combat forces in 2014.

An article that I wrote almost two years ago on a similar case is still relevant, I’d like to share that again.


 Promote peace talks, Afghan war is not a success


The attack on Kabul on January 17,2010 which took place only metres away from the Presidential Palace, was evidence that not only have the international community and the Afghan government failed to win the people’s hearts and minds, but also they have lost their trust. The military conflict has now reached even the heart of Kabul. It is hard to imagine anywhere safe in the whole country.

But at this time of intensification of conflict, a debate is taking place among Afghan parliamentarians questioning the presence of the US and NATO in Afghanistan.

This is the anti-Western sentiment that the Taliban have for long been whispering into the ears of ordinary Afghans in the villages and valleys of the restive regions. Those Afghans who saw their children die, those who watched their women and elders in pools of blood, are increasingly becoming susceptible to this type of rhetoric.  Many are in the process of changing their minds about the international troops.

The military commanders say that they have now made “protecting civilians” their priority, but just last month, 10 children were killed during a night-time raid carried out by US-special forces in eastern Kunar Province. As long as these incidents keep happening public anger against the US presence in Afghanistan will continue to grow.

Military attacks carried out by foreigners and that result in the killing of civilians are an insult to Afghans’ traditions and beliefs. In many instances, when the local population accuse international forces of killing civilians, the troops deny it and often dismiss evidence provided by Afghans. Also commonly heard is that troops were targeting terrorists in a raid, even when the victims are school children, or mothers with young children.

Sadly these tradgedies overshadow the killing of civilians in suicide attacks  by the Taliban – preventing the public mourning of the innocents who lose their lives in such attacks. It has given cover to Taliban attacks that result in civilian killings across the country. Ordinary Afghans are now only talking against US military behaviour and forget attacks by Taliban which have killed hundreds of civilians.

In 2003 and 2004, I was reporting for international media agencies on clashes between two notorious warlords in the north, Rashid Dostom and Atta Mohammad. At the time I regarded the American presence in Afghanistan as crucial for protecting the country from war criminals and for helping to bring stability to the country. But now, I have begun to lose hope. The international security forces are creating such a terrifying atmosphere that it is hard for people to sleep at night.

These days, when I watch state-run Afghan TV, which is funded by American money, I am surprised by how openly Afghan experts criticize US military tactics in Afghanistan. This is new. A recent discussion program featured an influential historian and supporter of President Karzai, Habibullah Rafi. Rafi was talking about civilian casualties and warning American troops to end their animosity towards Afghan people.

The other guest, parliamentarian Iqbal Safi, warned that if American troops continue to kill civilians, they will face the same fate as the Red Army, which left Afghanistan, defeated, and shamed.The MP’s anger was clearly visible. The tension between Afghans and Americans is just beginning to surface but both countries are yet to see the terrible consequences of the discrepancy.

Americans should stop their stubborn approach in Afghanistan and take a more diplomatic and talk oriented track. Afghan Taliban should be brought to the political process and should be recognised as a political entity in Afghanistan.

Traditionally, mosques are run and controlled by Mullahs and historically they have enormous impact on peoples’ opinion in Afghanistan. One of the most effective ways to achieve stability in Afghanistan is to win the support of Mullahs and of influential religious leaders.  I recommend that the international community negotiates with Taliban.  War alone will never produce a brighter future for Afghans; it can only result in the loss of more and more lives.

Only when the violence ebbs will the torch of democracy be lit. As long as the fear and instability spreads, as long as each family is mourning a loss, so the enmities will deepen between families and tribes, and between the US and Afghanistan. Negotiation is always going to be more productive than violence.

Some will say that the Taliban are too cruel, and that if they become a part of the government, they may not allow women to go to work or school. Others will say that before negotiations there needs to be political reform to remove the warlords who massacred thousands, and some of whom were backed by the United States. There will be questions, and concerns. But in spite of these, there can be no doubt that what Afghans want more than anything is for the violence and killing to stop.

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Economic Recovery? What Recovery?


by Stephen Lendman


Reporting it doesn’t make it so. In fact, it’s more illusion than fact, but that doesn’t surprise half of US households impoverished or bordering on it, according to recent US Census data.

Nor are independent analysts and economists fooled. Last summer, economist Richard Wolffcalled “so-called economic ‘recovery’ since mid-2009….chiefly hype, a veneer of good news (benefitting corporations and elitists) to disguise and minimize the awful underlying economic realities.”

Since crisis conditions began in fall 2007, most people experienced pain without gain. For them, current conditions are worse, not better, with no policies proposed to help them. That’s today’s grim reality, especially across America and Europe.

In his most recent co-written February 2 article, titled “Manifesto for Economic Recovery and Ecological Sanity,” Wolff said:

“Capitalism today abuses the people, environment, politics and culture in equal measures. It has fostered new extremes of wealth and poverty inside most countries, and such extremes always undermine or prevent democratic politics.”

It’s also “plunged the world into the second massive global economic crisis in the last 75 years.” Yet in America and Europe, policies adopted assure harder than ever times ahead. Elections don’t matter as no major parties offer better choices. Whatever their name, they’re all involved in benefitting the few at the expense of the many.

Progressive Radio New Hour regular economist Jack Rasmus discussed the latest February 3 jobs report. He said it belies economic reality. Real unemployment’s at 22.5%. Most jobs created since 2009 have been low pay temp or part-time ones with few or no benefits. Higher-paying full-time manufacturing, construction, high-tech, and others keep declining.

For example, since the downturn’s mid-2009 low-point, 79,000 fewer manufacturing jobs exist, 680,000 aren’t replaced in construction, and other data show similar declines.

Unlike all previous post-WW II recessions, “the government sector has not created jobs to offset private sector losses.” In fact, federal, state and local governments destroyed almost 650,000 jobs since mid-2009. Nearly, 250,000 were teachers. Moreover, around 20,000 public workers on average are laid off monthly.

If Obama maintains this trend in 2012, over one million public sector jobs will be lost with hundreds of thousands more coming after November 2012, whoever’s elected.

In addition, long-term unemployed numbers rose from 24% in mid-2009 to over 40% now. Rasmus said “the Employment to Population Ratio that measures how well the economy (creates) jobs” shows the it’s creating increasingly fewer numbers as population totals rise.

In late 2007, 63% of Americans were employed. Today it’s 58.5%. The JOLT ratio (Job Opening to Labor Turnover) shows 4.2 workers for every job opening, over double the pre-recession 1.8 to 1 ratio.

Obama’s so-called job creation program is illusory. In January 2009, he promised six million jobs. Instead, over 40% of his $787 stimulus bill went for tax cuts, largely to America’s rich and corporate favorites. In June 2009, 25 million were unemployed. A year later it was unchanged.

Another $802 billion in tax cuts followed plus extending the Bush-era tax cuts. GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt and Wall Street banker Bill Daley were then enlisted to run Obama’s new jobs council.

Their solutions included job destructive “free trade” agreements, corporate tax cuts, offshoring more jobs, hoarding profits in foreign subsidiaries to avoid tax obligations, patent law reform for greater profits, raiding Social Security, cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and other ways to enhance bottom line priorities without creating jobs.

Moreover, monthly Labor Department figures are rigged. So-called job creation is illusory. Seasonal adjustments alone distort data. So does the birth/death ratio producing 48,000 monthly jobs in downturns when they’re lost.

As a result, nearly 600,000 annual fake jobs are created in recessions. In addition, millions of discouraged workers aren’t counted. Doing so masks the depths of today’s jobs crisis. Yet major media scoundrels suppress it like a non-issue.

Obama’s economic program serves Wall Street, other corporate favorites, and America’s super-rich at the expense of ordinary households. “What was once a trickle down approach to job creation (became) a drip-drip policy.”

Neither party offers credible fixes. Long-discredited programs are featured. Greater harm ahead is assured. Protracted Depression years will follow. Unemployment and poverty ranks will swell. So will human need. Hard times will get harder.

Social benefits will face more cuts. Defense spending and corporate handouts will increase. Jobs will be destroyed, not created. That’s today’s dismal reality because America’s aristocracy doesn’t care.

On January 31, economist Paul Craig Roberts called America’s economy “dead,” saying:

Reports of GDP growth are greatly exaggerated. For example, the alleged Q IV 2011 2.8% annualized growth was, in fact, “eight-tenths of one percent” net of unsold goods. In other words, “involuntary inventory build-up” produced more goods than sold.

Moreover deflating real inflation masks “no recovery (and an economy) in deep recession for four years despite” NBER (the National Bureau of Economic Research) claiming otherwise “based on rigged official numbers.”

By understating real inflation, Washington created an “illusion of economic growth….” Main Street pain explains otherwise.

On February 2, Roberts repeated, “There is No Recovery,” saying:

Virtually all key economic data show decline, not improvement. They include average weekly earnings, real inflation, unemployment, consumer confidence, housing starts, real GDP, retail sales, and much more.

“A government and media that will deceive you about simple things such as inflation, unemployment, and GDP growth,” said Roberts, “will lie to you about everything.”

Indeed so from lowly bureaucrats to congressional leaders, to presidents, to top officials representing them, and major media scoundrels regurgitating their lies.

A Final Comment

Roman philospher/stateman/political theorist Marcus Tullius Cicero once said “A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable” because he’s known. But covert traitors rot “the soul of a nation…A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague.”

America’s infested with them top to bottom in government and corporate board rooms. They serve elitist interests while popular needs go begging. They wage wars on false pretenses. They specialize in deception and fear. They profit from predation, destruction, and exploitation.

They cause human misery on an incalculable scale. They’re driving America to tyranny and ruin. They made the country unfit to live in. They’re now replicating their agenda on planet earth. It includes permanent war, banker occupation, super-wealth extremes, mass poverty, ecological destruction, and militarized control to curb opposition.

Reality’s ignored to continue mass wealth transfers to banks, other corporate favorites and super-rich elites at the expense of deepening human need. The longer this continues, the worse the eventual ending. It’s coming though timing can’t be predicted.

On arrival the bang will be felt round the world. So will greater than ever misery for billions already experiencing too much. That’s what Washington and rogue European leaders plan complicit with bankers and other corporate scoundrels.

Only mass outrage can stop them. It’s there, growing, and if crosses thresholds of no return, all bets are off.

Ordinary people have more power than they realize when used collectively for change. It takes pain to energize action.

It’s happening though only the fullness of time will determine where it’s headed with what effect. Hopefully, better times will follow. The alternative’s too unacceptable to tolerate.

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Zio-Nazi, Suppressed Story Verified

Photo Accurate, Israel Lied Says French News Agency

AFP confirms veracity of debated Israeli abuse story

Agence France- Presse

Editor’s Note:  Israel Caught Lying About Apartheid Abuse:

“Following the surfacing of the photos, the Israeli Embassy in Washington had asked all American newspapers “to consider ceasing to publish the photographs of Hazem Bader,” claiming both the caption and the photo of the injured worker were untrue and “perhaps staged.”

AFP (Agence France-Presse) agency responded to criticism over a Jan. 25 photo showing an Israeli Army soldier driving a truck over the leg of an injured Palestinian construction worker, saying both the story and photo were valid.

A recent press release by the news agency said “after several days of thorough research […] AFP wishes to confirm the veracity of both the picture and the accompanying photo caption.”

Confirmed as Accurate, Evidence of Criminal Assault

Photos were taken by AFP photojournalist Hazem Bader during the Israeli soldiers’ attempts to stop Palestinian construction workers from building on their land, defined as “occupied zone C” whereIsrael forbids any Palestinian construction from taking place. The caption to the photo showing an injured worker screaming in pain said an Army driver had intentionally driven over his legs.

Following the surfacing of the photos, the Israeli Embassy in Washington had asked all American newspapers “to consider ceasing to publish the photographs of Hazem Bader,” claiming both the caption and the photo of the injured worker were untrue and “perhaps staged.”

AFP said the Jerusalem bureau of the agency went back and consulted other press agencies that were present in the area and also revisited footage filmed at the location.

“Their [Jerusalem bureau reporters] trust in the events described by Hazem Bader is unequivocal,” the press release read.

The official medical certificate by the doctors who treated the injured worker, Mohammed Abu Qbeita, was included in the press release, as well as a recent interview of Qbeita, conducted by AFP reporters.

“I started walking over to where my stuff was so I could get my phone and my ID card and that’s when the tractor hit me. It hit me twice, first on my side, which knocked me over on the ground,” Qbeita was quoted saying.

“Then it drove over one of my legs. I didn’t see it coming. It went over one of my legs, one was under the wheel, the other one was outside it.

Israelis Told Press to Suppress This Photo

“I went to the hospital, they examined me and treated me and I have a medical certificate and I will show it to anyone who wants to see it. Anyone who wants can talk to me and take a picture of my leg and of me,” Qbeita added.

“In the light of these inquiries and based on the trust we have in our photojournalist, AFP Management does not believe that this event could ever have been staged,” the press release read.

There will be no further comment on the matter, the release stated.

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Where is Conyers With Impeachment Threats Against President for Iran Attack Now?


By Ralph Lopez


It may have been the one and only thing which prevented an attack on Iran during the Bush years. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee John Conyers spent years fending off nationwide calls to impeach George W. Bush over the invasion of Iraq, the shredding of the Constitution after 9/11, and other high crimes and misdemeanors culminating in a summer of 2008 “non-impeachment impeachment hearings, in which witnesses such as Rep. Brad Miller, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Rep. Walter Jones, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, constitutional scholarBruce Fein, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, Vincent Bugliosi and many others came together to implore the committee to bring articles of impeachment.

At one point Conyers closed to the committee room to any further audience members, prompting calls of “shame! shame! shame!” from the packed halls of the Rayburn Building to which people had traveled from across the country, but established numerous closed-circuit television viewing rooms for the public in other parts of the Hill.

Conyers refused to impeach, but did in fact draw one hard line in the sand, saying that if Bush attacked Iran, it would guarantee impeachment proceedings. George Bush must have believed him. Now as the crazies beat the drums for war with Iran, driving Obama almost irresistibly to war, Conyers has fallen silent. As recently as January 25, Obama said no options were “off the table.”

If we attack Iran, it will be an excuse to pour millions of rounds of utterly demonic – there is no other word – depleted uranium ammunition into a country which has done us no harm, which acknowledges the right of navigation in international waters but merely insists that it will not be bullied. The U.S. is determined to impose sanctions no matter what Iran says about its weapons programs, in a perfect replay of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Then as in Iraq, this will kill and maim entire generations of the most innocent life imaginable, that which sits and will sit in their mothers’ wombs.

One of the most little-noted after effects of the invasion of Iraq is the rate of horrifying birth deformities caused the the U.S.’s use of these weapons, with rates of birth deformities now running as high as 75% in Fallujah. The Iraqi nation, for all practical purposes, is destroyed. Hospitals do not know how to care for or deal with the epidemic. A country still rife with problems like clean water and sewage systems ravaged by the war is struggling with how to care for these babies for life. The greatest evil of the Iraq war, no one ever talks about. (See: “DU-Induced Birth Deformities in Iraq” by William Shannon.)

President John F. Kennedy sat alone in the war councils during the Cuban Missile Crisis demanding to know of his generals how what they wanted, strikes on Cuba, would not culminate in World War III. Our youngest president faced hawks in politics and the military who assured him that he would be made to look like a weak appeaser if he did not give them what they wanted: war. Kennedy stood firm. When General Curtis Lemay taunted him in the war room that “you’re in a pretty bad fix” Kennedy shot back: “You’re in it with me.” Kennedy may have been making it eminently clear that he was playing hardball, and if he were to go down, he would make sure that the generals who helped make it happen would go with him.

When Conyers drew his line in the sand, the system of checks and balances for once worked. He also, as a junior congressman, led the impeachment of Richard Nixon. I am no great fan of Joe Biden, but I believe he would make a perfectly fine, if unremarkable, Democratic president. I don’t care what anybody thinks. The war drums are beating, and the time to speak is now or never. The parallel to the Cuban Missile Crisis is not as far-fetched as some would believe. Pakistani nukes are probably already one step from Al Qaeda thanks to theIslamist-riddled Pakistani officer corp, and an attack on Iran might force an open coup which would place the Pakistani arsenal at the disposal of revenge-minded factions. Why Iran is being demonized, a country greatly wronged by the U.S. in the past, while Pakistan, a proven threat which has been caught helping the Taliban in Afghanistan, is left alone is a mystery.

The Israeli people should be furious that their hawkish leaders are playing this dangerous game, and the world would be safest now if they drove them out of office. On NPR the other night the topic was “Is it time for an attack on Iran?” – with one guest saying “yes” and the other saying “not yet.” Host Tom Ashbrook kept referring to the emails and and Facebook posts he was getting from his horrified listeners at Nice Peoples’ Radio, marveling that the overwhelming sentiment was “WE WANT A DIFFERENT CONVERSATION!”

Obama has said repeatedly that he finds outside pressure healthy and useful, saying “make me do it.” Now is the time to do that with respect to talk of war with Iran. Joe Biden would make a competent president.

Millions more depleted uranium rounds into another Middle Eastern country. 75% deformities in Fallujah. This great evil must not come to pass.

Depleted Uranium babies in Iraq:

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Bamboozeled- The NDAA Trojan Horse


Legislation Written and Passed to be Discredited – but Why?

     … by  Gordon Duff,  Senior Editor


Coming to a State Near You ?

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 has provisions in it so illegal, so unconstitutional that any moron could see it. 

Now we hear that state after state is introducing laws to “nullify” this silly law.  This should sound like good news, states loving democracy.

Bull. How do we know this for sure? 

With terrorism inside this country non-existent for decades unless you count the FBI’s fiasco in Oklahoma City and the 9/11 insurance fraud as “terrorism, there is a problem with “timeliness.”

Nobody cares anymore.  Ask for a vote.  Would 99% of Americans vote to disband the TSA and allow guns on planes?

Anyone want to bet on that one, ten to one odds?

States, especially those lined up to oppose the NDAA act are run by lobbyists from health care, public utilities, organized crime (which should have been put first), the casino industry and, over the past couple of years, the Zionist lobby.

Controlling state governments in the most extreme imaginable ways, always to the detriment of workers, farmers and decent citizens, is an American tradition. Not just that, there is something much worse going on here, with the passage of the NDAA, a law that virtually puts America under martial law.

Patriot Act and NDAA – Are Bookends

This is a law that was created to fail.  Nobody wanted it.  We already have two illegal Patriot Actsthat do the same thing. We suspended habeas corpus in 2005 and everyone whining about the NDAA supported the same things they now say they hate.

It’s worse, those who still support the Patriot Acts, still support torture, those who have a long tradition of love of totalitarianism are now trying to rebrand themselves as lovers of individual liberty. Normally, this term is used to defend gun ownership.

The sad part of gun ownership in America is that when the government comes after patriots to take their guns, 95% of gun owner/activists will be siding with the police and helping kick down doors.

No, the NDAA is a fascinating and very typical piece of gamesmanship in Washington, in lobbying circles, they call it a “fundraiser.” 

That is what they call a phony law that is put on the books to raise money to oppose it or to use it to unite opposition groups so they can be bamboozled into shooting themselves in the foot.

This means, of course, that bribe money is flowing everywhere and we are surrounded by cheats and liars, whodathunkit?

As a lobbyist I have seen this done continually, in fact, this is how Washington and 50 state capitols run, hoodwinking interest groups out of lobbying cash in order to kill regulatory bills or to band idiots together under some imaginary threat.

Real as the NDAA sounds, there has never been more imaginary legislation in our history, almost as though congress had legislated gravity away.

Remember this sergeant from Occupy Wall Street?

First of all, nobody wanted this law, not really.  The FBI never asked for it, the Army says they would never allow their troops to use it, the president says he was forced to sign it and found it offensive.  Then why was it written?

Let’s start with the doctrine of “nullification.”

This is how states left the union during the Civil War.  States in the South were being threatened with an end to slavery, something which the constitution, if enforced as it should have been, would never have allowed in the first place.

The Declaration of Independence, a law I tend to place well above the constitution, a prostituted document if I ever saw one, really freed the slaves in 1776. We had cheats and liars then too.

The problem we have is that a horrible law has been written…but what kind of law.  If nobody wants it, if there is no one to enforce it, why was it created?  Was it created to cause a controversy to bring back the issue of “nullification?”

Then, secondly, we look at those who are complaining about this law but who backed the same thing for years.  I don’t take any of them seriously, they were phonies, thieves and liars before and now they plan on saving us all from evil, it reminds me of something I learned when I was a Republican lobbyist.

There is a huge “pro-gun” organization.  They don’t care about guns, they are really a pack of right wing Wall Street lawyers and thieves who use an organization that is regularly lied to, propagandized and bilked out of money to support totalitarian causes.

Does the NRA play games like all the rest?

The folks who brought you the NRA are the same folks who brought you Homeland Security and the TSA. They sell you the gun then hire a thug to put a flashlight up your rectum looking for it.  Why do they do this?  Money.

Anyway, here is their game, one they and other lobbyist groups have been pulling for decades.  The NRA drafts anti-gun legislation.  What? Why would they do that.

The answer is easy, if there is no “enemy,” then there is no “fundraising” and no private meetings in the wonderful vacation spots of the world, no huge bonuses, no payoffs to politicians and no more laws that they really supported like the Patriot Acts or the laws that formed the monstrosity of all time, the Department of Homeland Security.

When you think “homeland,” doesn’t the word “reich” also come to mind?

The game is simple, the NRA sends a childish law, like the NDAA 2012, to a “shill,” usually a Democrat who runs unopposed.  They offer a significant bribe to get this legislation entered, legislation that is never put before committee, it would be laughed out of congress.

Then the NRA puts out a mailer and ad campaign telling how this “liberal” has created a law to take guns from decent “white people” and let “evil negroes and Mexicans” have their way with the womenfolk.

This is how New York lawyers that run organizations like this and so many others see the ignorant members who send them money, as sub-human morons who fall for the same childish trick over and over.

The worst part, of course, is that it works every time. The NDAA is one of these but the first questions are why.

The are always in everything

Let me explain a plot. 

A combination of organized crime, Wall Street and the insurance lobby (yes, more organized crime), along with the Zionist lobby, the “neocons,” the pharmaceutical crooks and industries like “fracking” and “clean coal” or “nuclear power” that plan to kill us all off with one poison or another, have bought a number of state governments.

They are always Republicans.  Wisconsin is worst with Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Florida to follow.  There are more, many more.

The money that put these monsters in office is laundered drug cash, allowed into the country through the Supreme Court’s “Citizen’s United scam, cash from the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, the Israeli propaganda mogul, Vegas casino boss Adelman and more.

To this we can add the cigarette lobby, the doctor’s union and an endless group of democracy hating busybodies who would send you to their snake handling churches at gunpoint and demand 10% of your paycheck.

Mitt Romney is one of those.

“Nullification” as it is peddled by the Tenth Amendment crowd has these goals:

  • Keeping the boot of health care companies, all “bailout recipients” on your neck.  They don’t care how many kids die of lack of medical care.  And they tell you they accept no money?

  • Outlawing unions, ending workplace safety rules ,  forcing cuts in pay for nurses and teacher and more, much more.  They tried in Ohio and were defeated by 67%.

  • Allowing unregulated “fracking,” use of cancer causing chemicals to find natural gas we don’t need.   We already have a thousand year supply sold to us at prices 300% over market.  Our real problem is disposing of natural gas, not finding it.  It is going to be as big a problem as finding places to put crude oil and gasoline we no longer need.

  • The real goal is to create states that are run by the mob, where the “feds” won’t be able to interfere when the money boys and their army of police and sheriff thugs start squeezing people.  This has been going on for decades and is getting worse and worse.  Our state governments, rather than deserving more power, actually need to dissolved.  They are even worse than congress, if such a thing is possible.

" Here's Looking at You."

So we have a simple story.  We have people who worked hard for years to take your freedoms now asking for special powers to save you from the government.  I don’t trust them.  I don’t trust the federal government either.

I am drowning in contradictions here, all those conservative judges and lawyers, those congressmen and senators who supported the NDAA are politically aligned so closely with those now sworn to push through “nullification” to beat the NDAA.

Liars and cheats, caught them again.

If one state attorney general would file a case against the offensive provisions of the NDAA, which is what we elect them to do, and the Supreme Court overturned the illegal law as required, especially with a majority of five conservative justices, the whole thing would be over.

This is how the law was meant to work, unless, of course, it was all supposed to be a scam in the first place.

No case has been filed but laws for “nullification” have been submitted, laws that fail to limit the other federal laws they plan to overturn.

It’s an Old Trick That Keeps on Being Used

Some laws protect people, like the ones that keep your mortgage from going up to 10% or your credit cards at less than 30%, both things the Republican party has been in favor of.

Then states can pull out of “Obamacare,” the real reason for the “Trojan Horse” we call the NDAA.

Then goes Social Security.

Then Medicare and Medicaid.

Then veterans benefits.

You want to see a real police state?  Go to Wisconsin or Ohio or Indiana or Michigan.   Those are police states, up and running, financed by organized crime, the Zionist lobby and every crook in the world.

When we check the elections in state after state, though rigged voting machines have made that a bit of a joke, we find huge foreign contributions, and huge Zionist lobby contributions.

They almost invariably supporting candidates who supported torture, supported the invasion of Iraq, never mention the flood of narcotics from Afghanistan and who now are all talking about the abuses of a federal government, abuses they were totally behind for years.

Since our new friends who support “nullification” also support hundreds of political candidates whose actual practices are totally the opposite of the stated beliefs of our new friends, am I, just perhaps, becoming a bit too cynical?

Let’s do a count.  How many “Liberty Preservation” people want Iran bombed?  Where do you think their marching orders are coming from?

Posted in USAComments Off on Bamboozeled- The NDAA Trojan Horse

West’s Shenanigans against Syria, Iran


By Ismail Salami


Militants with the rebel Free Syrian Army

The volatile situation in Syria generated by the Saudi-Qatar-funded Wahhabi armed group known as the Free Syrian Army and backed by the West is now an accident waiting to happen.

There is certainly one ulterior motive behind the US-friendly Syrian crisis extravagantly fuelled by the presstitute media which keep distorting the facts on the grounds. A recent article published by the New York Times by Efraim Halevy, who headed Mossad from 1998 to 2002, sheds light on this motive. He states that Iran’s foothold in Syria has enabled Tehran to pursue its “reckless” regional policies, and to stop those policies, Iran’s presence in Syria must be ended.

To this end, the events in Syria must be so choreographed that they should lead to the overthrow of Assad regime and consequently “result in a strategic debacle for the Iranian government.”

“THE public debate in America and Israel these days is focused obsessively on whether to attack Iran in order to halt its nuclear weapons ambitions; hardly any attention is being paid to how events in Syria could result in a strategic debacle for the Iranian government,” he said.

So, it seems that the fate of Syria is intimately interwoven with that of Iran. The exorbitant efforts the West is expending in Syria to overthrow the Assad regime are in fact directed against the Islamic Republic. Once the regime of Assad is trampled under the imperialist boots, the political influence of Iran will be severely damaged. In the meantime, some media such as the state-funded BBC, the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera and the Saudi-run Al Arabiya are carving out a similar scenario in league with western imperialists.

In point of fact, Qatar’s sabotage activity in Syria started in February 2011 when Al Jazeera embarked on a pointlessly mischievous act. A page titled “The Syrian Revolution 2011” was created on Facebook which was an open invitation to rebellion in Syria. It was sonorously called “Day of Wrath” in the manner of similar Facebook pages created for uprisings in the region. Instantly, the page received over 80000 likes which was of course a technical manipulation to create multiple accounts. Interestingly, the only channel which promoted and highlighted the spurious event was Al Jazeera which was bitterly disappointed with the failed attempt as the snare it laid failed to catch any game.

Furthermore, Al Jazeera’s reporting is partly based on what it receives from the London-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, an ostensibly independent institute which has recently come into limelight thanks to its fallacious name. Funded by the Qatari and Saudi Wahhabis, the institute is composed of two groups: some members of the extremist Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and some elements from the PKK, a branch of the terrorist PKK groups who are scattered in parts of Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

Along the lines of the same policy, Saudi-run Arabic channel Al Arabiya keeps delivering exaggerated reports on the number of those killed in Syria and pointing the finger of blame at the Syrian government while independent reports reveal that the terrorists financed by the West and the Wahhabis are behind the killings. On 13 December 2012, armed terrorists exploded a gas pipeline in the Syrian province of Homs. In Idleb province, a homemade bomb killed six workers of a textile factory and wounded 16 others who were going to work on a minibus. The terrorists have also engaged in a number of sabotage activities including attacking Syrian military facilities and law enforcement agencies, exploding oil pipelines, railroads, and killing citizens, burning schools and killing students and teachers all in the name of Syrian government.

On January 18, the Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in an interview called for deployment of Arab troops in Syria in order to put an end to what he described as “deadly crackdown” in Syria.

Also, a recent report by DEBKAfile reveals that “British and Qatari troops are directing rebel ammunition deliveries and tactics in the bloody battle for Homs”.

According to the report, Britain’s intelligence arm MI6 has set up four operation centers in the city with the troops on the ground gearing up for an undercover Turkish incursion into Syria.

Reportedly, part of the talks between Syrian officials and head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Mikhail Fradkov which took place on Tuesday (7 February) was focused on the presence of British and Qatari forces in Homs.

Apart from the extremist Wahhabis, the US and Turkey have been training Syrian armed groups in southeastern Turkish city of Hakkari. A former employee with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Sibel Edmonds says the US is involved in smuggling arms into Syria from Incirlik military base in Turkey in addition to providing financial support for Syrian rebels.

The US has reportedly released hundreds of terrorists from its prisons in Iraq provided that they leave the country for Syria and fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The terrorists have entered Syria via Turkey.

Therefore, the US and Turkey have been paving the ground for military intervention in Syria by providing the terrorists with training and arms. Large caches of weapons including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, mortar bombs and heavy machine guns have been sent via ground to major unrest-wracked Syrian cities.

Add Israel to this list of anti-Syria and anti-Iran groups.

In recent years, Qatar and Israel have cemented their ties to brotherly levels. In January 2008, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland.

In line with this meeting hitherto kept secret by Israel, a senior Qatari figure reportedly paid a visit to Israel in mid-January 2008 and met Israeli officials with a common agenda: Iran. Also, former Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni visited Qatar in April 2008 and met the Emir, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Oil and Gas. Numerous meetings between the two sides have taken place since then under different pretexts; yet, they have agreed on a number of points, inter alia, diminishing Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

Be it as it may, they are all moving in one single direction in targeting Syria without consciously wishing to form a concerted front.

What a farce!

The extremist Wahhabis, the neo-colonist Zionists and the Western imperialists have taken up arms against those who fly in the face of extremism and expansionism in the region each with its own agenda on Syria as a whipping boy with the ultimate goal of relegating Iran to the outer fringes of political power.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on West’s Shenanigans against Syria, Iran

Independent Report Contradicts Western Portrait of Syria


Arab League Report Shows that Syria Has Been Mischaracterized


While the Western media act like the Syrian government is wantonly and indiscriminately killing its own people without provocation, an independent investigation has found a different reality on the ground.

Specifically, over 160 monitors from the Arab League – comprised of both allies and mortal enemies of Syria – toured Syria and published a report on January 27th showing that the situation has been mischaracterized.

Initially, the report noted general cooperation by the Syrian government:

The Mission [i.e. the Arab League investigative team] noted that the Government strived to help it succeed in its task and remove any barriers that might stand in its way. The Government also facilitated meetings with all parties. No restrictions were placed on the movement of the Mission and its ability to interview Syrian citizens, both those who opposed the Government and those loyal to it.

The report noted that the media has greatly exaggerated the amount of violence in Syria:

The Mission noted that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded.

The Mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns.


Since it began its work, the Mission has been the target of a vicious media campaign. Some media outlets have published unfounded statements, which they attributed to the Head of the Mission. They have also grossly exaggerated events, thereby distorting the truth.

Such contrived reports have helped to increase tensions among the Syrian people and undermined the observers’ work.

Indeed, some of the observers themselves violated their oath of neutrality and exaggerated the violence:

Some observers reneged on their duties and broke the oath they had taken. They made contact with officials from their countries and gave them exaggerated accounts of events. Those officials consequently developed a bleak and unfounded picture of the situation.

While the government has exaggerated the number of detainees released, it has in fact thousands of detainees:

On 19 January 2012, the Syrian government stated that 3569 detainees had been released from military and civil prosecution services. The Mission verified that 1669 of those detained had thus far been released. It continues to follow up the issue with the Government and the opposition, emphasizing to the Government side that the detainees should be released in the presence of observers so that the event can be documented.

The Mission has validated the following figures for the total number of detainees that the Syrian government thus far claims to have released:

  • Before the amnesty: 4,035

  • After the amnesty: 3,569.

The Government has therefore claimed that a total of 7,604 detainees have been released.

The Mission has verified the correct number of detainees released and arrived at the following figures:

  • Before the amnesty: 3,483

  • After the amnesty: 1,669

The total number of confirmed releases is therefore 5152. The Mission is continuing to monitor the process and communicate with the Syrian Government for the release of the remaining detainees.

While the government has not withdrawn all of its forces, the military has withdrawn from many areas:

Based on the reports of the field-team leaders and the meeting held on 17 January 2012 with all team leaders, the Mission confirmed that all military vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons had been withdrawn from cities and residential neighbourhoods. Although there are still some security measures in place in the form of earthen beams and barriers in front of important buildings and in squares, they do not affect citizens.

Perhaps most importantly, the report notes that the Syrian people do not want foreign intervention:

However, the citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab
mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire.

The report condemns violence by both sides, but stresses that much of the violence has been perpetrated by the rebels against government forces:

In Homs and Dera‘a, the Mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, Government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.

In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.


Recently, there have been incidents that could widen the gap and increase bitterness between the parties. These incidents can have grave consequences and lead to the loss of life and property. Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free
Syrian Army [the main opposition group] and some by other armed opposition groups.

Why Hasn’t The Report Received Media Coverage?

Why hasn’t the Arab League report received any press, given that it provides a much more reassuring and less apocalyptic picture of what is going on in Syria?

Pepe Escobar reports in the Asia Times:

When the over 160 monitors, after one month of enquiries, issued their report … surprise! The report did not follow the official GCC [i.e Arab League] line – which is that the “evil” Bashar al-Assad government is indiscriminately, and unilaterally, killing its own people, and so regime change is in order.

The Arab League’s Ministerial Committee had approved the report, with four votes in favor (Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and GCC member Oman) and only one against; guess who, Qatar – which is now presiding the Arab League because the emirate bought their (rotating) turn from the Palestinian Authority.

So the report was either ignored (by Western corporate media) or mercilessly destroyed – by Arab media, virtually all of it financed by either the House of Saud or Qatar. It was not even discussed – because it was prevented by the GCC from being translated from Arabic into English and published in the Arab League’s website.

Until it was leaked.


Still [the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – what Escobar calls the NATOGCC], blocked from applying in Syria its one-size-fits-all model of promoting “democracy” by bombing a country and getting rid of the proverbial evil dictator, won’t be deterred. GCC leaders House of Saud and Qatar bluntly dismissed their own report and went straight to the meat of the matter; impose a NATOGCC regime change via the UN Security Council.

So the current “Arab-led drive to secure a peaceful end to the 10-month crackdown” in Syria at the UN is no less than a crude regime change drive. Usual suspects Washington, London and Paris have been forced to fall over themselves to assure the real international community this is not another mandate for NATO bombing – a la Libya. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described it as “a path for a political transition that would preserve Syria’s unity and institutions”.

But BRICS members Russia and China see it for what it is. Another BRICSblank Independent Report Contradicts Western Portrait of Syria member – India – alongside Pakistan and South Africa, have all raised serious objections to the NATOGCC-peddled draft UN resolution.

There won’t be another Libya-style no fly zone; after all the Assad regime is not exactly deploying Migs against civilians. A UN regime change resolution will be blocked – again – by Russia and China [this happened last week]. Even NATOGCC is in disarray, as each block of players – Washington, Ankara, and the House of Saud-Doha duo – has a different long-term geopolitical agenda. Not to mention crucial Syrian neighbor and trading partner Iraq; Baghdad is on the record against any regime change scheme.

Sound familiarNo wonder.

Source: Washington blog

Also see:

A mistaken case for Syrian regime change


Democracy promotion: America’s new regime change formula

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Independent Report Contradicts Western Portrait of Syria

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


‘Love Under Apartheid’ tells the story of Palestinians fighting for the right to love

Feb 13, 2012

The Love Under Apartheid Team


Checkpoint date: When dinner isn’t the only check you have to worry about – watch more funny videos</div>


On Monday February 13, human rights advocates launched a new website — — with the goal of sharing the stories of Palestinians struggling to maintain love and family relationships despite the boundaries imposed by Israeli apartheid. Israel’s systematic discrimination and segregation of Palestinians, the division of family by the apartheid wall and checkpoints, and the imposition laws of impeding Palestinian marriages have made certain forms of love impossible. By the afternoon, tweets using#LoveUnderApartheid had caused the hashtag to trend worldwide and in the United States, joining Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift in popularity on the social media website.


A Palestinian citizen of Israel and a Palestinian from Gaza struggle to plan an uncertain future; Samer, a native Jerusalemite, is prevented from being with his mother during her last days battling cancer; Taiseer and Lana Khatib – who have captured the hearts of many already – fight to keep their family of four together in the face of the Israeli Citizenship Law. These are just some of the stories you will find in the short video clips on our website.


In a place where love is too frequently impeded by the Israeli government and its discriminatory laws, these stories hope to capture singular moments of love in struggle.

For more info, contact

Twenty Israeli military vehicles descend on village south of Hebron, demolish 22 buildings, displace 120 Palestinians

Feb 13, 2012



Israeli airstrikes kill 1, injure 3 in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli warplanes killed an elderly man in the central Gaza Strip overnight Saturday, in a series of airstrikes across Gaza that injured three others. Palestinian medics said 69-year-old Abdul-Karim Az-Zaytouna was killed and two others were injured when warplanes bombed steel sheds near the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. Israeli forces also targeted sites in the southern Gaza Strip, injuring one near Khan Younis when a missile landed in an open area. A house belonging to the Imteir family was shelled east of Rafah, causing severe damage, but no reported injuries … [An Israeli army statement] said the strikes were in response to a rocket fired from Gaza that caused light injuries to a woman when it hit Israel’s Hof Ashkelon district on Saturday.
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Israel launches wave of bombings in Gaza
MEMO 13 Feb — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES Israeli aircraft launched a wave of coordinated bombings across the Gaza Strip last night. F-16 jets bombed an area east of Khan Yunis and the Shawka district, east of Rafah, leaving behind an unexploded missile. The area east of al Shujaeya was also targeted where a number of residential homes were badly damaged. East of Al Zaytun, a car accessories outlet was hit; as well as a farm where the 71 year-old guard, Abdul Kareem al Zaytouna, was killed. Two other workers were injured in the attack.
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Gaza municipality says electricity crisis stopped water pumping
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Gaza City’s municipal council asked residents on Sunday to move their water tanks to ground level as the electricity crisis hampered pumping water any higher. Electricity interruptions as Gaza’s sole power plant runs out of fuel have stopped the pumping of water above the ground floor, the municipality said. It called on residents to use water economically.
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Fuel shortages in Gaza threaten environmental disaster
MEMO 13 Feb — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES The Municipality of Gaza has begun pumping untreated sewage onto Gaza’s coast as a result of the continuing Israeli blockade, and the ever worsening fuel shortages that threaten the sector. Certain types of fuel are no longer being provided to the Gaza Strip and as such, the Municipality’s purification plant has stopped functioning threatening an environmental disaster.  According to information released by the Municipality during a recent press conference, the lack of fuel has also led to the accumulation of tonnes of garbage as waste disposal trucks are unable to transport rubbish to dumping grounds in the east of the city.
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Official: Gaza faces 18-hour power cuts
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Gaza will soon have only six hours of electricity per day if more fuel is not delivered to the blockaded strip, an energy official said on Monday. Gaza power authority official Ahmad Abu al-Amaren said a small delivery of fuel on Monday staved off a wide-scale blackout, but the authority will soon be forced to introduce a highly restricted schedule, with cuts for 16 to 18 hours each day. A solution to the electricity crisis depends on Egypt allowing the necessary fuel to pass into the coastal strip, he said … While limited amounts of gas, mainly used by individual households, are purchased from Israeli suppliers and permitted to enter the besieged strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, most of Gaza’s energy is brought unofficially from Egypt using underground tunnels.
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Staving off a blackout in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — …Sayil says the best and most feasible solution is to bring natural gas from Egypt instead of the current diesel which is purchased from Israeli suppliers. It would take six to eight months to arrange, but would save the Palestinian Authority about 60 percent of its budget on fuel, he told the forum.Another option is an emergency injection of fuel and electricity, Sayil added, without specifying possible sources. The Gaza Strip could also connect to a joint electricity grid current shared by eight Arab states. The energy authority recently visited Egypt to discuss this possibility, but he warned that such a connection would take more than a year. A prerequisite to each option it the upgrading of Gaza’s electricity network to handle the new wattage, he said. Sayil indicated the major cause of the current energy crisis is the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority’s delay in payments for fuel.
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PCHR calls for investigation into the drowning of boy in sewage water basin in northern Gaza Strip
13 Feb — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon competent authorities to open an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the death of Ahmed al-Zein, 10, from Beit Lahia, by drowning in a sewage water basin near the Bedouin Village in the northern Gaza Strip. PCHR reiterates its call for competent authorities to take protective measures around sewage basins which threaten the safety and security of Palestinians, especially children, living near sewage water basins in the Gaza Strip … PCHR notes that incidents of this kind occurred several times and believes that the recurrence of such incidents is the result of lack of effective protective measures around sewage water basins. In December 2011, two siblings died in a sewage water basin near Khan Yunis refugee camp.
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Israel’s navy detains 4 Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces detained four Gazan fishermen overnight Sunday and Monday morning, Ma‘an’s correspondent said … An Israeli army spokeswoman said that in both incidences the boats had deviated from the designated fishing area and failed to respond to Israeli navy calls to return. Jamal al-Sultan and his son Fadel were transferred to the custody of security forces. Abu Riyaleh and his brother were returned to the Gaza Strip after being briefly detained, but navy forces confiscated their boats, the spokeswoman said. Under Israel’s maritime blockade, Palestinians are forbidden from fishing more than three nautical miles from the coast. During the Oslo accords negotiators had agreed on 20 nautical miles of fishing access along Gaza’s coastline.
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UNRWA to stop financial aid to impoverished families
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said Monday that it will not be able to continue cash allowances for impoverished families in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said a program providing 40 shekels to each individual in poor families will have to be cut after April due to a shortage in donor funds.
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Hip hop leads the way in Gaza’s first talent show / Annie Robbins
13 Feb — I love these videos by our friend in Gaza filmmaker Mohammed Al Majdalawi and edited by talented writer and MW contributor Jehan Alfarra. The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) has an article about an upcoming talent show in Gaza that highlights these artists and many more.
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Police: Israel encourages drugs trade in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip on Monday accused Israel of encouraging the drugs trade in the coastal enclave. Director of the anti-drugs police in northern Gaza Ashraf al-Bayari said Israel deliberately sends large quantities of drugs to the Gaza Strip “in order to blackmail youths and trick them into becoming collaborators with Israeli intelligence.” Police arrested a drug dealer on Sunday evening in Jabalia, northern Gaza, who was in possession of 1,000 ecstasy pills. The pills were smuggled into Gaza from Israel via the Erez crossing, police said.
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Militant killed in the Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — The An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades told Ma‘an Sunday evening that one of their members had been killed in an operation in the Gaza Strip. The group, which is affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committee, did not specify how Ali Juma Abu Athira died.
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Two injured in Beit Lahia blast
IMEMC 11 Feb — Palestinian medical sources reported, on Friday at night, that two Palestinians were wounded in an explosion that took place in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported that the explosion took place while Israeli drones were heard flying over the area. Yet, local sources reported that the blast was a result of a failed attempt to fire homemade shells into an adjacent Israeli area.
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Land theft  / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement

Israeli demolition ‘displaces 120’ in Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces demolished 22 buildings in a Palestinian village south of Hebron on Monday, displacing 120 villagers, residents told Ma‘an. Twenty Israeli military vehicles accompanied bulldozers to raze the 16 domestic tents and six animal shelters inKhirbet al-Rahwa, they said. Villager Salim Salem al-Tal told Ma‘an forces also demolished a well that was the village’s only water source. Soldiers did not give the villagers any time to remove their possessions from their homes, he said.
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Israel Authority demolishes Bedouin village for 35th time
AL ARAQIB, NAQAB (WAFA) 13 Feb – The Israeli authorities Monday demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab desert, southern Israel, for the 35th time, said a local activist. ziz al-Tori, member of the committee for the defense of al-Araqib, said Israeli bulldozers accompanied by a large Israeli police force demolished the makeshift homes the village residents keep rebuilding after each time the government demolishes them.
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88 Palestinian houses to be demolished for Israeli park
[with map] Al Haq 11 Feb — Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem continue to face an increased threat of home-demolition and forced eviction. The neighbourhood of Silwan, located to the south of the old city of Jerusalem, and with a population of over 50,000 Palestinians, is at particular risk. The city municipality, whose unilaterally drawn borders were established by Israel in 1967 when East Jerusalem was illegally annexed, plans to demolish 88 Palestinian homes in al-Bustan area in the centre of Silwan (see map below) to make way for the development of a so-called archaeological park, known as King David’s Garden. If the plan goes forward, more than 1,500 Palestinians will be left homeless and forcibly transferred.
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Israel bulldozes Palestinian community center, making was for a visitor center on stilts / Allison Deger
Mondo 13 Feb — Today, a Palestinian community center, café and playground in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem was demolished, making way for a second “City of David” visitor center. Haaretz reports: “The new visitors’ center is to be built above the Givati parking lot and will be called the Mercaz Kedem (Kedem Center). The building will be built on stilts and beneath it there will be an area where visitors can view recently discovered archeological findings.”
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Israel bars Al Quds University doctors from practicing in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 13 Feb — Health Ministry officials refuse to allow 35 Palestinian doctors from East Jerusalem to attend Israeli certification exams – and help relieve a shortage of doctors there. The ministry claims the doctors, who graduated from Al-Quds University, are not eligible to sit the certification exams, usually taken by doctors who qualified abroad to enable them to practice in Israel. The ministry says Al-Quds cannot be considered a “foreign university” since it holds offices in Jerusalem.
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Israel panel okays bill calling for tax exemption to Zionist donations
Haaretz 12 Feb — Ministerial Committee on Legislation approves legislation sponsored by Likud’s Zeev Elkin, Zion Pinyan that seeks to give 35% break to funds given to institutions that promote ‘Zionism and settlement.’
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Feiglin barred from Temple Mount over political flyers
Ynet 12 Feb — Posters calling for ‘purification of Temple Mount from the enemies of Israel’ prompt police to temporarily block visitors’ access to holy site … The decision followed a district security assessment. The police expressed concerns that the intent of some of far-right Likud member Moshe Feiglin‘s followers to enter the compound would incite riots. The publicized visit caused what the police described as “agitation” among east Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods.  “Feiglin’s people come to Temple Mount almost every month. The difference this time was the flyers,” a police source said.
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Egypt’s Lt Gen Anan: Harming Al-Aqsa Mosque threatens Egyptian national security
MEMO 13 Feb — Egyptian sources have reported that the Egyptian army’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Chairman of the ruling military council, Lt Gen Sami Anan, announced on Thursday night that Egyptian Armed Forces have raised their state of preparedness and sent a strongly-worded message of warning to Israel informing it that any act of provocation that may affect the al-Aqsa Mosque, will be considered a threat to Egyptian national security.
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Israel to fence off main road to Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 13 Feb – Israeli military personnel began Monday putting marks on the main West Bank road leading to Hebron where the Israeli authorities plan to build a fence to separate Palestinian towns and camps in the area from the road, according to a local activist. Ahmad Abu Hashem, secretary of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, a town north of Hebron, said Israel plans to build a four-meter high fence to separate Arroub refugee camp and Beit Ummar from the main road known as Highway 60 linking Jerusalem with Hebron … Abu Hashem said the Israeli military had recently completed building a new road on Palestinian-owned land in Beit Ummar and Halhoul for the benefit of settlers only.
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Arrested development: Strangling Palestine’s green power
MASAFER YATTA (Ma‘an) by Charlotte Alfred — Development organizations and green energy pioneers face a political quagmire when working in Palestinian communities under full Israeli control. In recent months, the army issued demolition warnings against six solar and wind power systems in the South Hebron Hills, which were funded by European governments and development groups. “What can you do if there are impediments to development, such as an undefined de-development policy?” says Tsafrir Cohen, Middle East coordinator of Medico International, which supported two of the systems.
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Mount Hermon’s pure snow can’t hide Israel’s dark past / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 12 Feb — The entire Golan Heights is occupied exactly as the West Bank is — These are wonderful days at Jabal al-Shaykh. It’s high season, ideal conditions and the visibility is excellent. Thousands of Israelis spent their weekend there, and the weather forecast for the next few days is promising. It’s just the name, Jabal al-Shaykh, that sounds so unfamiliar. Where did you say it was? We managed to delete Mount Hermon’s original, Syrian name as if it had never existed. Precious few Israelis have ever heard the name, or are aware of the 200 towns and villages that were obliterated in the Golan Heights. Most Israelis, we might assume, aren’t aware that they were ever there, since Israeli collective consciousness also erased the existence of their 120,000 residents – refugees that no one knows or cares about.
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Hundreds of settlers storm Palestinian land in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 12 Feb – Hundreds of Jewish settlers from Kiryat Arba settlement Sunday stormed and planted Palestinian-owned land in an area east of the northern West Bank city of Hebron, according to local sources. They told WAFA hundreds of settlers, including their students, protected by Israeli soldiers, began early morning planting about 20 dunums of land belonging to Palestinian Hosni al-Ashhab as a prelude to annex it to expand the settlement.
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Settlers open road through Palestinian land south of Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 12 Feb – A group of Jewish settlers Sunday opened a new road through Palestinian-owned land, in Qarut, a village south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, to use it on their motorcycles, according to a Palestinian activist.
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Israeli court forbids Nablus mosque from using loudspeakers
The Israeli Supreme Court issued a preliminary ruling, forbidding Burin village mosque, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, from using loudspeakers, and even from using lights on the mosque’s minaret. The Israeli Radio reported that the ruling was made after an extremist right-wing settlers group submitted photographs proving the mosque was renovated, and that lights and loudspeakers were installed despite a court ruling made nearly 18 months ago forbidding further constructions and renovations.
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Asira al Qibliiya: The time for settler attacks is now
ISM 11 Feb by Amal — As warm days sneak into this cold month of February, illegal settlers begin their season of attacks early. Although there is no “off season” for settler attacks, the number of these criminal acts increases in the spring and summer. The residents of Asira al Qibliiya unfortunately have the experience to believe the attacks will only increase. This was evident as a group of 20 settlers from Yitzhar illegal settlement descended on Asira on a beautiful Saturday afternoon on February 11, 2012. It was approximately 3:30 PM when the settlers gathered on top of a hill overlooking Asira and stood only a couple hundred meters from residential homes. They were armed and dangerous as they drew closer and closer to one of the homes,but fortunately crowds of locals gathered near the home and the settlers retreated back up the hill.
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Burin: Yitzhar settlers leave the mark of violence
[photos] ISM 10 Feb by Veronica — On Thursday 9 February at about 10pm, a house in the village of Burin near Nablus was attacked by settlers. Approximately 50 armed settlers approached a house near the edge of the village and threw stones and rocks at the inhabitants, shouting at them to get out of the house. Young men in the village were alerted and came to the assistance of the family … Later that night, at about 1am, a house on the other edge of the village was attacked by another group of settlers. They rolled burning tires down the hill towards the house, filling it with acrid smoke. Hanan Nasser who lives in the house with her family said that she was asleep when someone from the village called them to say settlers were attacking … Hanan’s house is very close to the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, and they have suffered innumerable attacks from settlers over the last 10 years. In 2002 when her husband built the house, it was set on fire by settlers. Her husband suffered a heart attack and died from the shock of seeing his house on fire. Since then settlers have set fire to the house twice more, poisoned sheep, regularly burn their olive trees and injured her son by throwing a stone at him.
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Witnesses: Settlers break car windshield with stones
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — A group of settlers attacked a Palestinian car near the Hebron settlement of Kiryat Arba on Sunday evening, witnesses told Ma‘an. Settlers threw stones at the car of Hamza al-Takrory’s car, breaking the windshield. Hamza passed out during the incident and was taken to a nearby clinic for treatment.
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Settlers: Migron deal in place
Ynet 13 Feb —  Settlers residing in the illegal West Bank outpost of Migron said Monday that a deal ensuring that the outpost will not be razed has been reached. The settlers have reportedly agreed to have Migron relocated to a nearby hill, where it will rest on government-owned land. The Civil Administration will have to decide what to do with the structure left in Migron’s current location, which is subjected to a land despite with Palestinians who claim prior ownership. link to

Israeli officials: West Bank outpost relocation plan isn’t feasible
Haaretz 13 Feb — A tentative compromise that would allow residents of the West Bank outpost of Migron to relocate to nearby land is “not feasible,” sources recently quoted Civil Administration officials as saying … The proposal, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports, is intended to prompt residents of the West Bank’s largest outpost to leave their homes voluntarily. In that way, the government hopes to avoid the violent clashes that could accompany a forced evacuation next month.
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Israeli forces

Golani Brigade report: Incidences involving the detention, intimidation, abuse, or arrest of children and youth 
ISM 13 Feb — Since the arrival of the Golani Brigade in Hebron on December 27th, international accompaniment organizations (Christian Peacemaker Teams, International Solidarity Movement, and others) have documented an increase in the number of serious human rights violations against the Palestinian people, particularly youth and children in the Old City and Tel Rumeida. All recorded incidences have been documented through first-hand observation and/or the victims’ testimony. The following report demonstrates a sharp increase in harassment, violence, and human rights violations by the Israeli military towards the Palestinian population of Hebron. Contrary to given justifications, none of those involved were observed to voice or pose any threat to the soldiers.
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IOF soldiers break the legs of Palestinian minor
RAMALLAH (PIC) 12 Feb — The international organization for the defense of children has said that the Israeli occupation soldiers savagely beat up a Palestinian child after breaking both his legs. The organization quoted the 16-year-old boy Mahmoud Qatna as saying that he was heading to an area near the separation wall in his village Beit Sorik along with a number of his friends when the soldiers surprised them. He said that the soldiers arrested him along with two of his friends, threw him on his stomach on the ground and started beating him savagely, adding that before that he was hit with a rubber bullet in his left leg fired by those soldiers. Qatna said that he was screaming out of pain and told the soldiers that his leg had broken but they did not heed his screams and continued to beat him.
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3 injured as soldiers raid Jericho
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Three people were injured on Sunday as Israeli soldiers raided several areas in and around Jericho, a local official and medics said. Seven tanks and dozens of heavily armed soldiers raided Ein al-Sultan and Aqbat Jaber refugee camps, prompting clashes between residents and military forces, governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley Majed al-Fetyani was quoted as saying by official news agency Wafa. Saed Saleh Sefan, 22, Muhammad Ali al-Masri, 23, and Muhamad Jaber al-Gharabla sustained injuries in the clashes. Director of the Jericho hospital, Dr. Nasser al-Anani said Sefan was in a serious condition upon arrival and has been transferred to a Ramallah hospital. Soldiers also raided the Jericho neighborhood of al-Nuweima.
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3 injured as Israeli forces raid Jerusalem home
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Three people were injured on Sunday when Israeli forces raided a family home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Isawiya. Israeli forces were looking for freed detainee Samer Issawi, relatives told Ma‘an. His mother and sister tried to prevent the soldiers from entering their home, at which point they broke down the door. Issawi’s sister Shireen suffered a broken hand and foot, and his mother and brother were also beaten, relatives said. They were taken to Hadassah hospital for treatment. Issawi was released in the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 18, 2011.
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Witnesses: Boy injured as soldiers raid Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — A boy was injured by Israeli forces in Hebron on Sunday as residents and soldiers clashed, locals told Ma‘an. Israeli forces raided several homes in the village of al-Tabaqa, southwest Hebron, leading to clashes with local residents. Muhammad Mahmoud Imtayer, 16, sustained injuries to his head and was taken to Hebron hospital for treatment.
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IOF troops raid village, detain two children
BETHLEHEM, (PIC) 12 Feb — Heavily armed Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed a number of houses in the village of Housan to the west of Bethlehem at dawn Sunday, local sources said. They said that the soldiers deliberately humiliated inhabitants and searched their homes thoroughly and scrutinized their IDs. The sources said that the soldiers left after arresting two 16-year-old boys, who were taken to the Ofer jail near Ramallah.
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Khader Adnan

Israeli court rejects Adman appeal, 23 injured at protest
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — An Israeli military court rejected the appeal of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan on Monday, as 23 people were injured in a nearby protest against his continued detention. Israel’s Ofer military court ruled against Adnan’s appeal of his four month administrative detention order. The Islamic Jihad leader has refused food for 58 days to protest his treatment by Israeli authorities, and the practice of detention without charge.  Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma‘an the ruling showed “utter disregard for Adnan’s life, effectively condemning him to die.” … The PA is racing against time in talks with the UN, Jordan and other nations to save Adnan’s life, Qaraqe said.
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Randa Adnan: The world must intervene to save my husband / Joe Catron
13 Feb — As Khader Adnan entered his 59th day on hunger strike, his wife Randa appealed for the international community to end his isolation and save his life. “My husband is dying inside an Israeli jail. The world should make sure I am able to see him,” she said. “And it should pressure the Israeli government to release him before it’s too late.”
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Other political detention

Israeli military court extends detention of speaker Dweik
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Feb — The Israeli military court of Ofer jail extended the administrative detention of Dr. Aziz Al-Dweik, the speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, for another six months at the pretext he poses a threat to Israel’s security.
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Israeli forces detain youth from north, south villages
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces detained three youths in the Qalqiliya village ofJayyus overnight Saturday, residents told Ma‘an.  Soldiers seized the son of the village mayor Jala Tahir, 19, and the mayor and his wife were injured in the raid on their home, witnesses said, adding that Tahir’s mother was taken to hospital. Forces also detained Nadir Khreisha and Omar Khalid, both aged 24, during the house raids.
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Israel arrests 10 ‘wanted’ men
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Israeli forces detained 10 people overnight Sunday and Monday morning, witnesses and the army said. Two men were arrested in Nablus, four in Ramallah, one west of Bethlehem, two in Tubas and one near Jericho, an Israeli army spokeswoman said. All the men were said to be “wanted” by security forces, the spokeswoman added.
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Soldiers arrest 5 in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces raided a construction site in the Jenin village of Yaabad on Sunday evening and detained five people, witnesses told Ma‘an. Subhi Ali Abu Bakr said that Israeli soldiers detained his sons Firas, 26, and Muhammad, 24, along with three laborers who were working in a building under construction … Israeli soldiers told Abu Bakr that the men were arrested in connection to a suspected stone throwing incident earlier on Sunday.
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Report: IDF detains another prisoner freed in Shalit deal
Ynet 13 Feb — The IDF detained Ayman Abu-Daud, a prisoner freed in the Gilad Shalit swap, Palestinian sources said. Troops raided the former detainee’s home and apprehended him, the sources said.
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Video: Kufr Qaddoum: Road and electricity cutoff does not deter demonstrations
ISM 11 Feb by Jonas Weber — Villagers and internationals assembled in Kufr Qaddoum after prayer time to demonstrate against the blocking of their main road to Nablus. The army cut off the electricity in the entire village as collective punishment  for the ongoing demonstrations in Kufr Qaddoum … The occupation forces finally retreated into the illegal settlement, where they kept on taking pictures and filming the protesters. The crowd walked down closer, and gathered under an olive tree, to honour the memory of a man shot dead by a settler 20 years ago in that exact spot.
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Settlers attack demo in Qaryut
10 Feb Popular Struggle Coordination Committee – Demonstrators in Qaryout attempted to plant olive trees to resist land grab. On the way, they were attacked by settlers and the army. Approximately 100 residents of the Qaryout joined the weekly protest against the occupation this week, aiming to plant olive trees on their lands, as an action against confiscation of lands by neighboring settlements. One of main legal mechanisms used by Israel to expropriate Palestinian land is the Ottoman Land Law of 1858, which was in force on the eve of the occupation. According to this law, if privately owned agricultural land is not cultivated for three years it may be declared as “abandoned property” and seized by the state.
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Meitar Checkpoint: Women demand an end to strip-searching by Israeli military and prison administration
ISM 12 Feb — A demonstration was held Sunday, February 12th at the Meitar checkpoint north of Beer Sheba in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in the Naqab (Negev) region as well as their family members who must pass through this checkpoint to visit them. The demonstration was organised by the Al-Khalil (Hebron) chapter of the Palestinian Prisoners Society and was attended by affected families, along with Palestinian and International supporters … A young Palestinian woman named Fadwa told ISM that to visit her brother Jihad, who has been held in Israeli prison for a decade, she must make a 12-hour journey involving strip searches and extensive interrogation at Meitar only to be repeated again at the prison. She recalls that several times she has been forced to leave her shoes and jacket in the interrogation room and pass through the checkpoint barefoot, even in cold weather. Ranna, whose husband Yasser has been held in Rimon prison in the Naqab for nine years, recounts a similar story of humiliation by Israeli border authorities.
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Jerusalem: Racist graffiti daubed at Jewish-Arab school
AFP 12 Feb —  Unidentified assailants scrawled racist graffiti on a playground at a bilingual Jewish-Arab school over the weekend, police officials said Sunday, in the second such incident targeting the Jerusalem institution. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said unknown attackers had spray painted “Death to Arabs” and “Kahane was right” on the school’s playground in the Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa.
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Political developments

Abbas confirms he will head transitional government
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — President Abbas confirmed Sunday during a speech in Cairo that he will head a transitional government responsible for presidential and parliamentary elections. Abbas made the announcement during a speech before a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital.
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Hamas chiefs wrestle with split over Abbas premiership
GAZA CITY (Reuters) 13 Feb — The two top leaders of Hamas failed to resolve an internal crisis over a reconciliation pact with the rival Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas at secret talks in Qatar on Sunday, a diplomat in the region said. “(Hamas chief) Khalid Mashaal and (Gaza Premier) Ismail Haniyeh met last night in Qatar to discuss the dispute in Hamas over the Doha agreement,” the diplomat told Reuters on Monday.
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Fatah holds meeting to discuss election candidates
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Feb  — Leaders within the Fatah movement met in Ramallah on Friday to discuss candidates for presidential and parliamentary elections. The meeting, which took place at the headquarters of the Palestinian teachers union, aimed to provide suggestions for qualified candidates for elections, a statement said. The movement aims to avoid the mistakes of the 2006 election, which saw Fatah lose a significant sector of its popular support base to other factions.
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Report: Mashaal to visit Jordan in February
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal is set to visit Jordan in February, Israeli news site Walla reported Sunday. Mashaal will visit Amman in February for the second time in 2012, the Hebrew language daily quoted Jordanian sources as saying. The Hamas chief had visited Jordan on Jan. 29 along with the Qatari heir to the throne Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani. Mashaal, a Jordanian citizen, was deported to Qatar after a crackdown on Hamas by Jordan’s security forces in 1999 amid charges it harmed Jordanian national interests.
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Gaza protests Syria crackdown
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Palestinians gathered to condemn the Syrian regime’s violent crackdown on demonstrations in Gaza City on Sunday, as Syrian forces continued their bombardment of protest center Homs. Dozens of Gaza protesters assembled in the city’s Square of the Unknown Soldier, chanting “Homs is being slaughtered just like Gaza.” … A day earlier, Palestinians held a mass in support of the victims of violence in Syria in a church in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
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Israeli operations abroad

Iran summons Azeri envoy over Mossad allegations
AP 12 Feb — Iran’s state-run news agency says the country’s foreign ministry has summoned Azerbaijan’s ambassador to protest alleged Israeli intelligence activity in the oil-rich Caucasian state. The Sunday report by IRNA says that the ministry handed a protest note to Azeri envoy Javanshir Akhundov and demanded that his government prevent Mossad from using its territory to launch operations against Iran. The report said “terrorists’’ linked to the killings of Iranian nuclear scientists escaped to Israel through Azerbaijan.
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Report: Israel’s Mossad still using foreign passports in undercover operations
Haaretz 12 Feb — Israeli Mossad spies are still using foreign passports, including those of British nationals, when cond

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1 The Independent

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Israel rejects Palestinian hunger-striker’s appeal

Donald Macintyre

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Palestinian prisoner who human rights organisations say may be “approaching death” after 58 days on hunger strike has lost his appeal against an order holding him for four months without trial.

An Israeli military appeals court ruled yesterday that Khader Adnan, 33, who is shackled to a hospital bed in the town of Safed, Galilee, will have to serve his full term of detention – even though he has not been told why he is being held.

Mr Adnan began refusing food the day after his arrest at his home in the village of Arrabe near Jenin in the occupied West Bank on 17 December. He continued refusing food after being subjected to what his lawyers say was physical abuse, threats of assault, insults, prolonged interrogation and “unsanitary” conditions of detention.

The case has overtones of the hunger strikes by IRA prisoners in the early 1980s, 10 of whom died after not eating for between 55 and 75 days, according to a British Medical Association study.

Mr Adnan’s wife, Radna, told Human Rights Watch that her husband had been arrested nine times since 1999, and was convicted of being a spokesman for the militant organisation Islamic Jihad.

The rights group said it condemned the armed wing of Islamic Jihad’s attacks on Israeli civilians as war crimes. But it pointed out that Israel has not claimed Mr Adnan has participated in such attacks or been charged with any other crime.

Israel’s prison service has insisted that Mr Adnan is being treated humanely in accordance with his “definition as a security-administrative prisoner”.

2 Ali Abunimah is author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. He is a co-founder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada and a policy adviser with Al-Shabaka.

The Electronic IntifadaBooksRSS

Starving for freedom: The hunger strike of Khader Adnan

Khader Adnan, currently on hunger strike in an Israeli prison, runs the risk of dying without international help.

14 Feb 2012


According to Amnesty International, as of December 31 last year, 307 Palestinians were in Israeli administrative detention, including 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council that was elected in January 2006 [EPA]

Amman, Jordan – By the time you read these words, Khader Adnan could be dead. After 58 full days on hunger strike, his body is already well past the stage where his vital organs may cease to function at any moment. But Khader Adnan is dying to live.

The 33-year-old Palestinian baker, husband, father, and graduate student has refused food since December 18, a day after he was arrested in a nighttime raid on his family home by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank. He has lost over 40 kgs and his wife Randa and young daughters have described his appearance as “shocking”.

Adnan, whom Israel says is a member of Islamic Jihad, was given a four month “administrative detention” order by the Israeli military – meaning that he is held without being charged for any crime or trial, a practice continued by Israel that dates back to British colonial days.

Yesterday an Israeli military court rejected Adnan’s appeal against the arbitrary detention. Having vowed to maintain his hunger strike until he is released or charged, the judge – an Israeli military officer – might as well have sentenced Khader Adnan to death, unless there is urgent international intervention.

Though the life in his body hangs on by a thread, his spirit is unbroken.

 Hundreds of Palestinians join hunger strike

“The Israeli occupation has gone to extremes against our people, especially prisoners,” Adnan wrote in a letter published through his lawyer, “I have been humiliated, beaten, and harassed by interrogators for no reason, and thus I swore to God I would fight the policy of administrative detention to which I and hundreds of my fellow prisoners fell prey.”

According to Amnesty International, which has issued two urgent appeals on Adnan’s behalf, as of December 31 last year, 307 Palestinians were in Israeli administrative detention, including 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council that was elected in January 2006.

“I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on,” Adnan wrote in his letter.

In addition to Amnesty, Human Rights Watch too has heard Adnan’s message, calling on Israel to release or charge him.

Adnan’s insistence on his dignity and autonomy and his unwillingness to be broken by an overwhelmingly powerful oppressor contrasts starkly with the increasingly directionless and unprincipled actions of Palestinian leaders who continue to make dubious “reconciliation” deals that go nowhere, and pursue “negotiations” with Israel that have no chance of liberating Khader Adnan, his young daughters and millions of their countrywomen and men from Israel’s occupation, colonisation and apartheid.

Adnan’s fast has drawn support from people all over the world. Hundreds staged peaceful protests outside Israel’s Ofer Prison – where they were met with violence and arrests by Israeli police – and other protests were held as far as Washington DC, New York and Chicago. Many others have fasted in solidarity with Adnan.

Khader Adnan’s struggle reminds us that nonviolence is not the easy choice. It is often the harder one.

Yet the world is still failing to act. The Palestinian prisoner’s group Addameer undoubtedly spoke for many when it declared that it “holds the international community responsible for not taking action to save Khader’s life”. It demanded “that the European Union, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross intervene with Israel immediately before it is too late”.

And there has been silence too from prominent voices such Nick Kristof, the New York Times columnist famous for using individual stories to draw attention to human rights abuses around the world. In a 2010 column titled “Waiting for Gandhi”, Kristof scolded Palestinians for not adopting nonviolent tactics.

Of course Kristof was ignoring or simply ignorant of the rich history and present of such popular resistance in Palestine ably documented by Mazin Qumsiyeh in his recent book, Popular Resistance in Palestine: a History of Hope and Empowerment- which includes hunger strikes. Last Autumn hundreds of Palestinian prisoners spent weeks on hunger strike against punitive Israreli prison conditions, and many are on hunger strike now in solidarity with Adnan.

“If Kristof and others claim to be ‘waiting for Gandhi’ why haven’t they spoken up for Adnan?”

But if Kristof and others claim to be “waiting for Gandhi” why haven’t they spoken up for Adnan? After all it was Mahatma Gandhi himself who when repeatedly imprisoned by the British famously used hunger strikes to draw international attention to his people’s cause.

In more recent memory are the Irish hunger strikes by IRA and Republican prisoners in Belfast’s Maze Prison in 1980-81. Ten of the men – most famously Bobby Sands, just 27 years-old, who endured 66 days – fasted to death. During his strike Sands was even elected a member of the British Parliament – a fact murals on the walls of Belfast still commemorate by affixing the letters “MP” after his name.

The government of Margaret Thatcher refused to yield to the demands of the hunger strikers to be treated as political prisoners. Yet their sacrifice galvanised global support and greatly embarrassed the British, pressure that arguably contributed to eventual peace.

 A message of support from Tommy McKearney

Last week Tommy McKearney, who spent 53 days on hunger strike in 1980, sent a video message of solidarity with Khader Adnan. McKearney, himself a former member of the IRA, lived to contribute to peace in his country, just as his comrades did with their deaths.

But Bobby Sands and his comrades need not have died had wiser, more humane policies prevailed at the time. And Khader Adnan need not die today or tomorrow. But it will take the world to speak out now to save him.

The determination, unflinching courage and self-sacrifice of Adnan’s hunger strike has captured the imagination and support of people everywhere. He deserves our respect, but more importantly right now, he needs us to raise our voices.

Ali Abunimah is author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. He is a co-founder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada and a policy adviser with Al-Shabaka.

Follow him at: @AliAbunimah


3 BBC 14 February 2012

Gaza’s only power station closes

By Jon Donnison

BBC News, Gaza City  Political instabiilty in Egypt is believed to have reduced fuel supplies to the power plant

The authorities in Gaza say the Palestinian territory’s only power station has shut down because of a lack of fuel.

The closure is believed to be caused by a shortage in fuel being supplied through smuggling tunnels from Egypt.

Power cuts, already common, are expected to increase. The station provides around 30-40% of Gaza’s electricity.

The rest of the electricity used by the territory is supplied by Israel.

The Gaza Power Company said the strip would soon be “swimming in a sea of darkness”.

Supplies of fuel smuggled into the territory have diminished due to the recent Egyptian political unrest.

Many families and businesses have private generators to avoid the blackouts. But fuel for those is also hard to come by.

This week long queues can be seen outside petrol stations with people worried about filling up their cars.

A statement from the power station called on Egypt to allow more fuel to pass through the tunnels. It also blamed Israel’s continuing blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Hamas came to power in 2007.

Last year Egypt eased restrictions allowing people to travel more easily, but all legal trade is still forbidden and the tunnel industry continues to thrive.


4  Haaretz

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Israel Project: ‘American Hispanics are the most hostile toward Israel’

The founder of the influential pro-Israel advocacy group, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, is leaving, and the hunt is on to find her replacement.

By Chemi Shalev

The Israel Project recently conducted a public opinion poll in Jordan that shows that ‘things do not look good for the King.’

Americans of Hispanic origin, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, are relatively hostile towards Israel because they are ignorant about Middle East affairs and are influenced by traditional anti-Israeli Catholic views, according to the Israel advocacy group, The Israel Project (TIP).

In a media briefing in New York to mark the resignation of TIP’s founder, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the group’s Executive Director for the Americas, Allan Elsner, said that Israel is more popular among older Americans, Republicans, conservatives and Evangelicals and less popular among “liberal elites”, African-Americans and Democrats. Elsner said that the Israel Project was focusing its efforts on “groups where we have a problem.”

In the global arena, according to TIP’s Executive Director of Global Affairs, Laura Kam, the Project has found anti-Israeli public opinion in Europe difficult to budge and is therefore devoting most of its efforts on the continent to working with local Jewish communities.

At the same time, TIP is rapidly expanding operations in Russia, China and India where people “are less interested in the conflict and more in Israeli innovation,” Kam said. But the same approach of trying to “brand” Israel by highlighting its creativity and innovation is “a complete fiasco” in the United States, according to Laszlo Mizrahi, because Americans “are not interested.” In America, she says, one has to focus on Israel’s “quest for peace, shared values and the common front in the fight against terrorism.”

Laszlo Mizrahi founded the Israel Project ten years ago and turned it into one of the most influential pro-Israel advocacy groups in America, with 75 employees, a $12 million annual budget, a 240,000 strong mailing list and an Arabic media website with 300,000 “likes”, half of them from Egypt.

She does not seem to be a great fan of Israeli hasbara efforts, saying that the government should be spending more money on its public relations. Israel, she once said, “is the only government that puts on TV people with a face for radio, and the only government that puts on radio people with an accent for print.”

She said that her group spends over a million dollars a year on polling and focus groups, pinpointing the messages and words that work most effectively. She said that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress last year was formulated in consultations with TIP, as are other statements put out by the Israeli government. She said that TIP deserves much of the credit for the large support that Israel receives in American public opinion.

Laszlo Mizrahi also revealed that her group had recently conducted a poll in Jordan and that “it does not look good for the king”.

Commenting on her decision to leave an organization with which she is so closely identified, Laszlo Mizrahi said that too many Jewish organizations in America are “dominated by strong people who make decisions for the entire organization.” She said that contrary to other groups, TIP is “performance based and run like a business” by TIP’s board of directors, which includes six million-dollar donors.

Laszlo Mizrahi added that TIP had hired an executive recruiting company that would find her replacement before she departs in five months. She expressed confidence that TIP would continue to function well even after her departure. “But I will always be the founder of the Israel Project,” she added.


5 Le Monde Diplomatique

‘Don’t ever let the Palestinians feel at ease’

Israel: a mission to disrupt

by Meron Rapoport

In testimonies collected and published by the NGO Breaking the Silence, we learn what Israeli soldiers did, and were expected to do, in the West Bank and Gaza in the past decade, to impose the occupation

“I’ll tell you when I flipped. We were in action in Gaza… We were in a trench and children got closer and threw stones. The orders were that the moment [a Palestinian] can hit you with a stone, he can hit you with a grenade… so I shot him. He was 12, or 15, something like that. I don’t think I killed him. I’m saying that … to sleep better at night. I flipped when … I talked about it with my friends [and] family: I was fucking aiming [a weapon] at someone and I shot him in the leg, in the ass. Everyone was happy, they made me a hero, they announced it in the synagogue. I was in shock” (1).

In his book If This Is a Man (2), Primo Levi recalls a dream he kept having in Auschwitz; later he learned that many other prisoners had the same dream. He was back home, telling his family about the horrors of Auschwitz, but nobody was listening; they left the table and went away. This was his nightmare: to tell his story and not be heard, or understood.

Gaza is not Auschwitz, and the Israeli soldiers whose testimonies are collected in Occupation of the Territories are not Shoah survivors. Yet they share with Levi the need to tell their stories. Those around them are not interested, they feel threatened by the stories and prefer to ignore them or reinterpret them within their existing ideas of how things work in Gaza, the West Bank, behind the Wall, behind the newly reconstructed checkpoints which look more like international border-crossing facilities than the military outposts of an occupation army.

“What did you want the parents of this soldier to say to him?” said Avihai Stoler, an ex-soldier who helped to collect the testimonies for the book. “‘Don’t worry, kid, you killed a child, so what?’ The parents prefer not to understand his dilemma.”

The book collects testimonies from men and women who have served in the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza in the last 10 years, since the beginning of the second intifada. It is the most comprehensive insider account of Israel’s modus operandi in the occupied territories – not the decisions taken in high places, just the everyday reality of Israeli military control over Palestinian homes, fields, roads, property and time, the lives and deaths of inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza.

Some 40-60,000 Israeli conscripts have served in combat units in the last decade (3). All are likely to have spent some time in the occupied territories (except for those in the air force or navy). Seven hundred and fifty of them were interviewed for this book – 1-2%. The sample is far larger than that needed for an opinion poll or an academic study, so it can’t be denied that this is the way things work.

The ‘normal’ soldier

Shovrim Shtika (Breaking the Silence), which collected the testimonies, was founded in 2004 by some Israeli soldiers who had served in or around Hebron and wanted show Israeli society, and the world, what the occupation felt like. At first they tried to publish horror stories: photos of soldiers who cut off the heads of Palestinians killed in battle and stuck them on the barrel of their guns. But later, they understood that cases of extreme cruelty missed the point. “We are not interested in the soldier who abuses an old man at a checkpoint,” explained Michael Menkin, a founder of the group. “We are interested in the soldier who stands beside him, the ‘normal’ soldier.”

Even so, the book chronicles war crimes: a mentally handicapped Palestinian beaten so badly that he bleeds all over; Palestinian passers-by sent to detonate suspected bombs at the top of a minaret because the military robot cannot climb the stairs; the killing of a unarmed Palestinian because he was standing on a rooftop (“Why did I shoot, you ask me today? Just out of pressure. I surrendered to the pressure of the guys,” according to one testimony). There are also the premeditated executions of unarmed Palestinian policemen in revenge for an attack on a checkpoint; the orders from a high-ranking officer on how to deal with a presumed terrorist lying wounded or dead  (“You approach the corpse, you put a [gun] barrel between its teeth and shoot”); the stealing, looting or destruction of property.

But “this book is not a Tsahal [army] horror show,” said Stoler. “It is the story of a generation, our generation.” In the first 30 years after the 1967 war, much of the debate within Israel centred on the occupation – the need for it, its evils – but in the last 15 years the word has almost disappeared. Israelis will talk about Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank, or just “the territories”, without using the word “occupied”. The word “occupation” became almost taboo, not to be spoken in public. I was working on a television show and one of the guests said that violence in Israeli society was rising “because of the occupation”. My colleagues in the control room were alarmed. They pleaded with me – tell the anchorman to ask the guest to take back the word. As if it had the power to burn them.

There are several reasons. The terrorist attacks of the second intifada gave the army carte blanche, in the view of the Israeli public, to “prevent terrorism”. The futile “peace process” became background music, and convinced Israelis that there was no rush to solve the conflict; it made them feel the conflict was already solved because the Israelis had already agreed to give up the territories, have a two-state solution and grant self-determination to the Palestinians. Israel’s most influential columnist, Nahum Barnea, recently wrote: “The story of the territories is over.” Time ran a cover story in September 2010 titled “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace” (4).

‘Our mission was to disrupt’

There is a military factor. Since the beginning of the second intifada, and especially since the construction of the Separation Wall, military control over the Palestinians has become more systematic and “scientific”. The book translates the military jargon, and Breaking the Silence, based on these testimonies, proposes new terminology better suited to the realities: it suggests we talk of “spreading fear among the civilian population” in the West Bank and Gaza rather than “terror prevention”; “appropriation and annexation” instead of “separation”; “controlling every small detail of Palestinian lives” rather than “Life Fabric” (the military term for the road system that serves the Palestinians); and “occupation” rather than “control”.

“Our mission was to disrupt – this was the phrase: to disrupt and harass the lives of the citizens,” reads one of the testimonies. “This is how our mission was defined, because the terrorists are citizens, and we want to disrupt [their] activity, and the operational way to [do this] is to harass the lives of the citizens. I am sure of this.” Harassing the locals and disrupting their lives is not just carelessness or abuse but the cornerstone of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.

Avihai Stoler, who spent almost three years in the Hebron area, met Israeli soldiers who had detonated explosive devices in the centre of a village “so that they will know we were here”. According to Stoler a “noisy patrol”, “violent patrol”, “manifestation of presence”, “low-key activity”, “Happy Purim”, are all names for a regular type of action: to enter a village or city in force, throw shock grenades, erect makeshift checkpoints, carry out random house searches, remain there for hours or days “to produce a sense of being persecuted, so they will never feel at ease”. Stoler was citing his orders.

Stoler and Avner Gvaryahu served in an elite unit whose activity had been measured (so they were told by a high-ranking officer) by the number of dead terrorists. They are aware that people don’t want to hear what they have to say. Not a single Israeli TV crew came to their book launch, only foreign media. “My father is second generation after the Shoah,” said Gvaryahu; “In his eyes, we are the persecuted.” But both he and Stoler are optimistic; both of them believe that eventually Israeli society will understand what is being done on its behalf and will change, because it is society that needs fixing, not the army. “I was once interviewed by a Colombian journalist,” said Stoler. “She asked me what all the fuss was about: in Colombia soldiers chop off insurgents’ heads on a daily basis and nobody pays attention. But I think Israeli society wants to be moral. This is what drives us forward; without this collective will there is no point in our action.”

Israeli society was taken hostage, said Gvaryahu. The hostage takers “have an interest which is not ours, they don’t have a face, and we [got] Stockholm syndrome, we fell in love with our kidnappers. It is easy to say that the settlers are our kidnappers, the face behind the scene. I don’t think so. The only face behind the kidnapping is our own.”

Original text in English

Meron Rapoport is a journalist at Haaretz, Tel Aviv

(1) Shovrim Shtika (Breaking the Silence, an NGO), Occupation of the Territories, chapter 1, testimony 45, Tel Aviv, 2010.

(2) Primo Levi, If This Is a Man, Everyman, 2000.

(3) Israel does not publish official data on its armed forces. In 2004 the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated there were 85,000 conscripts in the Israeli army. Assuming 10-15% were combat troops, this means 10-15,000 conscript combat soldiers. Military service in Israel is three years, so it is fair to assume that 40-60,000 Israeli conscripts have served in the Occupied Territories over the past 10 years;…

(4) Karl Vick, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace”, Time, 2 September 2010.


6 Today in Palestine

February 13, 2012


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