Sunday, March 1, 2015

Banksy goes to Gaza

http://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/israel-palestine-conflict-gaza-strip-street-art-banksy-3.jpg

http://mondoweiss.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/banksygaza-feb25-4.jpghttp://www.addictinginfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Banksy-gaza.jpg
British graffiti artist and political activist Banksy has turned his attention to the streets and walls of the Palestinian territory Gaza.
Banksy wants to highlight the plight of the nearly two million Palestinian people confined there beacuse of Israeli land and air blockade.
While his work bemuses some Palestinians in Gaza, others see a political message.
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Iraqis mourn destruction of ancient Assyrian statues

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Jane Arraf
Baghdad - On Baghdad’s al-Mutanabi street, Iraqis mourned the destruction of 3,000-year old statues in Mosul almost as if they’d been alive.
"I’m so upset I can’t speak about it," said an old friend, her eyes filling with tears.
The huge statues of winged bulls with human heads at the gates of Assyrian palaces are among the most iconic symbols of ancient Mesopotamia. Known as lamassu, they were meant as protective spirits. Their images are recreated on everything from copper plates to the walls of embassy buildings abroad.
The stone statues have guarded the gates of Nineveh in present-day Mosul since the palace was built in the 7th century BC. They stood during the sacking of Nineveh, the rise and fall of the huge Assyrian empire and all the empires that followed.
They stood while the palace was excavated in the 1840s and its treasures carried off to Britain and America. Last week, they fell to men with a power drill and a mission to eradicate every trace of Iraq’s pre-Islamic civilisation.
"Believe me, I couldn’t sleep all night when I heard the statues were destroyed," said Abdullah Doshan, a self-taught sculptor sitting on the ground with a chisel and pieces of stone.
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Iraq launches offensive to take back Tikrit from ISIL

Thousands of government troops, Shia militia and armed Sunni tribesmen converge in Samarra for the ground offensive.
ISIL has launched preemptive strikes as government forces and their allies advance into Tikrit and Samarra [Reuters]
ISIL has launched preemptive strikes as government forces and their allies advance into Tikrit and Samarra [Reuters]
Iraq has launched a military offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the latest attempt to oust the armed group from the strategic province of Salaheddin, which includes the ancient city of Tikrit.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi arrived on Sunday in the northern city of Samarra in Salaheddin to oversee the military operation, and vowed to "liberate" the province "from the tyranny of the terrorists".
Thousands of government troops, fighters from Shia militia and Sunni tribes have gathered around Samarra for the operation in the nearby strongholds of ISIL near the Tigris River, Al Jazeera has learned.
Iraq's military also told Reuters news agency that around 2,000 Shia militia fighters have arrived near Tikrit in preparation for the major operation.
Raed Jabouri, governor of Salaheddin, had said last week that 5,000 fighters from the security forces and Hashid Shaabi militia, which was formed last year with Iranian support, would join the operation.
Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad, said that "this is one of the biggest military operations that will eventually proceed to take back Mosul," referring to main city of Nineveh province, which is the stronghold of ISIL.
Our correspondent said that US air strikes are also expected to provide back-up for the Iraqi troops on the ground.
"This is not expected to be an easy fight," she said. "ISIL has dug in there."
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The long struggle of the Palestinians in Israel

Hatim Kanaaneh- The Electronic Intifada
 

A young Palestinian marks Land Day in Jaffa, present-day Israel, March 2014.
(Keren Manor / ActiveStills)
Concomitant with Israel’s founding in 1948, its armed forces systematically expelled Palestine’s native population and razed some 500 of their communities to the ground in the largest and most successfully denied ethnic cleansing campaign in modern times.
A mere six and a half decades later, who knows about Damoun, for example? Who remembers it except for its surviving refugee sons and daughters and their descendants?
Imprisoned in Gaza’s open-air jail or in Lebanon’s camps, they are terrorized daily by Israel’s sonic booms or real air raids to force on them an alternative narrative of history. Yet Damoun was another Palestinian village, of an equal size to that of Arrabeh, my home village.
Like Arrabeh, it was continuously inhabited for some 4,000 years, since the days of the Canaanites who first founded it. And like the rest of Palestine, each had absorbed into itself one conquering invader after another, adapted to a softened version of their dictates, practiced an altered version of their beliefs, and survived on the gifts of its good earth and its hardy crops, its olives, figs and wheat.
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Israeli settlers increase their attacks on Palestinian Christian sites



Graffiti sprayed on a church in Latrun in September reads “Jesus is a monkey” and the names of two West Bank settlements.

At the same time that thousands of Christian Zionist tourists descended on Jerusalem last week to display their unequivocal support for Israel, local Christian leaders say they fear a recent increase in attacks on their holy sites signals the potential for future, more extreme violence.
“Today, they attack holy sites in the night. Tomorrow, they will attack the holy sites while they are filled with people, and then [it] will end [with them] bombarding churches and mosques while people are praying,” Rifat Kassis, coordinator of Kairos Palestine, a Palestinian Christian activist organization, told The Electronic Intifada.
“If we fail to see this from now, and to stop this from now, then the whole international community is complicit with this,” he warned.
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Land theft: Settlers build Star of David on Palestinian land

Star of David built by settlers in West Bank (photo: Guy Hircefeld)
Star of David built by settlers in West Bank (photo: Guy Hircefeld)
 Settlers built a Star of David made out of rocks on private Palestinian lands in the village of Shweika in the South Hebron Hills on Saturday. The settlers, who live in the illegal outpost Eshtamoa near the village, built the Star of David in order to obstruct Palestinian residents’ sheep from grazing, and as a crude way of marking territory.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Noam Chomsky: America paved the way for ISIS

Noam Chomsky: America paved the way for ISIS

Interview
The Middle East is engulfed in flames, from Libya to Iraq. There are new jihadi groups. The current focus is on ISIS. What about ISIS and its origins?
There’s an interesting interview that just appeared a couple of days ago with Graham Fuller, a former CIA officer, one of the leading intelligence and mainstream analysts of the Middle East. The title is “The United States Created ISIS.” This is one of the conspiracy theories, the thousands of them that go around the Middle East.
But this is another source: this is right at the heart of the US establishment. He hastens to point out that he doesn’t mean the US decided to put ISIS into existence and then funded it. His point is — and I think it’s accurate — that the US created the background out of which ISIS grew and developed. Part of it was just the standard sledgehammer approach: smash up what you don’t like.
In 2003, the US and Britain invaded Iraq, a major crime. Just this afternoon the British parliament granted the government the authority to bomb Iraq again. The invasion was devastating to Iraq. Iraq had already been virtually destroyed, first of all by the decade-long war with Iran in which, incidentally, Iraq was backed by the US, and then the decade of sanctions.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Hundreds of rabbis from around the world call on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian homes


The Independent
More than 400 rabbis from Israel, Britain and around the world have called on Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) has submitted an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister claiming his stance is not in line with “international law and Jewish tradition”.
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BDS success: Pro-Israel appeal to US patriotism fails to halt “historic” California divestment vote

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Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada..
The campaign for divestment from companies that assist and profit from Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights took a big step forward in California this weekend.
The board of the University of California Students Association (UCSA) passed two resolutions at its 8 February meeting in Los Angeles urging university governors to divest from companies including Boeing, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard that make weapons and systems Israel uses to commit violations of Palestinian rights.
UCSA, which officially represents hundreds of thousands of students in the University of California (UC) system, passed both measures by a 9-1 majority with six abstentions.
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Nasrallah: The Rules of Engagement with Israel Are Over

“Don’t try us,” Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah told Israel in a televised speech Friday broadcast during a memorial ceremony to honor the six Hezbollah fighters and the Iranian general killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier this month.
On January 18, an Israeli helicopter airstrike on the Syrian city of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights killed six fighters of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, including a commander, Mohammed Abu Issa, and the son of assassinated senior commander Imad Mughniyeh, as well as Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi.
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Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen

 GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Feb – Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishermen off the coast of Gaza on Monday, damaging a fishing boat. Fishermen told Ma‘an that Israeli boats stationed off the coast northwest of Gaza City opened fire at them while they were inside the designated zone. One boat was damaged by the gunfire but no injuries were reported.

Hundreds mourn Palestinian teen shot by Israeli army

Palestinians children participate in the funeral of Ahmed Najjar (19 years-old), who was shot to death by the Israeli army on Saturday, nearby his village Burin, Nablus, West Bank, February 1st, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinians children participate in the funeral of 19-year-old Ahmed Najjar, who was shot to death by the Israeli army on Saturday, Burin, West Bank, February 1, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

The body of Ahmed Najjar (19 years-old), who was shot to death by the Israeli army on Saturday nearby his village Burin,  is carried by mourners during his funeral, Nablus, West Bank, February 1st, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
The body of Ahmed Najjar is carried by mourners during his funeral, Burin, West Bank, February 1, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Israeli helicopters seen over the village of Burin during the funeral of Ahmed Najjar, West Bank, February 1st, 2015. (photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Israeli helicopters are seen flying over the village of Burin during the funeral of Ahmed Najjar, West Bank, February 1, 2015. (photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinians participate in the funeral of Ahmed Najjar (19 years-old), who was shot to death by the Israeli army on Saturday, nearby his village Burin, Nablus, West Bank, February 1st, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Hundreds of Palestinians participate in the funeral of Ahmed Najjar, Burin, West Bank, February 1, 2015. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
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Palestinians to take Israeli settlements to the ICC following announcement of 450 new units

Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)
Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)
- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/palestinians-settlements-announcement#sthash.vEhpoTAu.dpuf
Middle East Monitor 1 Feb – The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Sunday said that it will respond to Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories by referring the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC). “Israel’s aggression on the Palestinian people and the Palestinian state has crossed all the red lines and the situation is nearing a complete implosion,” the ministry said in a statement. The decision came in response to Israel’s announcement of tenders to erect 450 new illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “This is a blatant challenge to the international community and defiance of the international condemnation to crimes of the Israeli occupation,” it said. The ministry added that the settlement expansion comes “amid the Israeli election, as Israeli right-wing politicians take advantage of the situation to confiscate more land expand illegal settlements.” “It also comes after the Palestine signed the Rome Statute, which confirms Israel’s arrogance and defiance to the rules and provisions of international law,” the ministry added. “This leads [us] to ask the ICC to look into the issue of settlement expansion as a full case, as soon as the membership of the State of Palestine comes into effect in April.”
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