Monday, February 28, 2011

The racist entity that is taking over Israel must be toppled

By Sefi Rachlevsky- Haaretz

The wretchedness of the law in the face of Rabbi Dov Lior has many meanings, and Lior's refusal to be interrogated over his support for "The King's Torah - The Laws for Killing Gentiles" - only marginally gets at the heart of the matter.

Thirty years ago, the terrorist organization known as the "Jewish Underground" was set up with the purpose of killing Arabs. The group's head of operations, Menachem Livni - who was convicted on multiple counts of murder before being pardoned by the regime - testified at the time that the living spirit, the initiator, the religious instructor and the coordinator of the murders was Lior.

Rabbi Dov Lior

Ultra racist rabbi Dov Lior

Deliberate hit! They do it because they always get away with it!

Hebron girl hit by settler car
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Feb -- Medical officials in Hebron said an 11-year-old girl from the city was transferred to Hadassa Hospital in Israel on Sunday, after she was struck down by a settler car at the Beit Ainun junction. The girl, identified as Amani Al-Mutawer, was said to have been walking to school when she was hit. Her condition was described as moderate.

Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem's visa revoked

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) 25 Feb -- Israel’s Interior Ministry has revoked the permit for the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, The Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, to live in Jerusalem, and has refused requests to reinstate it, in spite of protests by Anglican authorities in the West specifically the United States. The Bishop is a native of the Holy Land and has spent most of his life and ministry here, but cannot obtain either citizenship or legal residence in Israel, since he was born in Nablus ... Since the Bishop has of course remained at his post, in Jerusalem, without the permit, he could be arrested at any moment, be put on trial for being in Israel illegally, be sentenced to a prison term – or simply be forcibly removed from Jerusalem.
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Robert Fisk: The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia offered his citizens $36bn to keep their mouths shut

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia offered his citizens $36bn to keep their mouths shut

The Middle East earthquake of the past five weeks has been the most tumultuous, shattering, mind-numbing experience in the history of the region since the fall of the Ottoman empire. For once, "shock and awe" was the right description.

The docile, supine, unregenerative, cringing Arabs of Orientalism have transformed themselves into fighters for the freedom, liberty and dignity which we Westerners have always assumed it was our unique role to play in the world. One after another, our satraps are falling, and the people we paid them to control are making their own history – our right to meddle in their affairs (which we will, of course, continue to exercise) has been diminished for ever.

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History's shifting sands

The revolutions sweeping the Arab world indicate a tectonic shift in the global balance of people power.
Protesters in Egypt offered words of support to union workers in the US state of Wisconsin [GALLO/GETTY]

For decades, even centuries, the peoples of the Arab world have been told by Europeans and, later, Americans that their societies were stagnant and backward. According to Lord Cromer, author of the 1908 pseudo-history Modern Egypt, their progress was "arrested" by the very fact of their being Muslim, by virtue of which their minds were as "strange" to that of a modern Western man "as would be the mind of an inhabitant of Saturn".

The only hope of reshaping their minds towards a more earthly disposition was to accept Western tutelage, supervision, and even rule "until such time as they [we]re able to stand alone," in the words of the League of Nations' Mandate. Whether it was Napoleon claiming fraternité with Egyptians in fin-de-18e-siècle Cairo or George W. Bush claiming similar amity with Iraqis two centuries later, the message, and the means of delivering it, have been consistent.

Ever since Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, the great Egyptian chronicler of the French invasion of Egypt, brilliantly dissected Napoleon's epistle to Egyptians, the peoples of the Middle East have seen through the Western protestations of benevolence and altruism to the naked self-interest that has always laid at the heart of great power politics. But the hypocrisy behind Western policies never stopped millions of people across the region from admiring and fighting for the ideals of freedom, progress and democracy they promised.

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Occupied Golan residents recall their Tahrir

Residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights celebrate their Arab identity as a form of resistance.

Syrian residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights march to commemorate their 1982 uprising

Siham Monder was 14 when Syrian residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights took to the streets for a strike and protests that spanned six months of 1982.

"Now I'm 43," Monder says. "And I remember that every day in that period there was a conflict with the [Israeli army]. There were more soldiers here than residents."

While the Israeli military occupation of the Golan began after the 1967 war, the strike and protests started on February 14, 1982, two months after the Israeli knesset passed the Golan Heights Law, legislation that effectively annexed the territory.

The Israeli move was condemned by both the US and the United Nations - the latter has issued multiple resolutions against the annexation - and it remains unrecognised by the international community.

Here, in the Golan, the annexation was embodied by the army's effort to distribute blue Israeli identity cards. In 1982, some 15,000 soldiers came to deliver the IDs to Syrian residents, a group that numbered less than 10,000 at the time.
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US neo-cons urge Libya intervention !

Signatories to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) demand "immediate" military action.
Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman wants the US to arm Libyan rebels (one feels revulsion seeing this Israel lover touring Tunisia and Egypt to advise them on the way to go! TFOOH!)

In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

The appeal, which came in the form of a letter signed by 40 policy analysts, including more than a dozen former senior officials who served under President George W. Bush, was organised and released by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a two-year-old neo-conservative group that is widely seen as the successor to the more-famous – or infamous – Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

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Qaddaffi's palace/bunker unveiled!

Libyan leader's al-Baida palace is not just luxurious, but a bunker designed to withstand a nuclear attack.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Defiant Gaddafi confined to Tripoli

Libyan leader continues to blame foreigners and al-Qaeda for the unrest that is threatening his 41-year rule.
Al Jazeera-English

As more cities fall into the hands of the pro-democracy protesters, Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, is hanging on to the capital where security forces loyal to him seem to have a firm hold, even amid reports of sporadic gunfire.

On Sunday, protesters had taken control of the city of Zawiyah, 50km from Tripoli, further shrinking the control of Gaddafi's government after the opposition took over most of the eastern part of the country.

However, tanks were surrounding Zawiyah and locals feared an imminent raid by pro-Gaddafi forces.

An AFP reporter arriving in Nalut, 24km west of Tripoli, found that Gaddafi's security forces had entirely disappeared from the streets.

"The towns of Rhibat, Kabaw, Jado, Rogban, Zentan, Yefren, Kekla, Gherien and Hawamed have also been free for days. In all these towns, Gaddafi's forces have gone and a revolutionary committee put in place," Shaban Abu Sitta, a lawyer and member of a local committee, said.

"We have placed ourselves under the authority of the interim government in Benghazi," he explained, referring to the opposition council formed by former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil in the east of the country.

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And now it's Oman's turn!

Deaths in Oman protests
At least two people killed in industrial town of Sohar as police clash with anti-government demonstrators.
Oman has seen demonstrations, but protesters have emphasised their loyalty to Sultan Qaboos [Reuters]

At least two people have been killed in an industrial town in the northeast of Oman, after police fired rubber-coated bullets at anti-government protesters.

The military moved in to secure an area in the town of Sohar on Sunday where about 2,000 demonstrators had gathered for a second day to demand political reforms, according to witnesses reported by the Reuters news agency.

"Two were killed after being shot with rubber bullets as protesters attempted to storm a police station," a security official said, requesting anonymity.

State news agency ONA confirmed that there had been casualties in Sohar, saying that police and anti-riot forces had clashed with demonstrators.

"Police and anti-riot squads confronted this group of wreckers in a bid to protect people and their properties, which caused casualties," it said.

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At al-Jazeera, we saw the Arab revolutions coming. Why didn't the West?

On Feb. 11, the day Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt, al-Jazeera faced a welcome dilemma: Scenes of elation were playing out not just in Cairo but throughout the region, and even with our vast network of journalists, we found it difficult to be everywhere at once. From North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, Arabs were celebrating the reclamation of their self-confidence, dignity and hope.

The popular revolutions now sweeping the region are long overdue. Yet in some ways, they could not have come before now. These are uprisings whose sons and daughters are well educated and idealistic enough to envision a better future, yet realistic enough to work for it without falling into despair. These revolutions are led by the Internet generation, for whom equality of voice and influence is the norm. Their leaders' influence is the product of their own effort, determination and skill, unconstrained by rigid ideologies and extremism.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

RACHID KHALIDI: Reflections on the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt

by Rashid Khalidi - Foreign Policy - 24 February 2011

This is above all a moment of new possibilities in the Arab world, and indeed in the entire Middle East. We have not witnessed such a turning point for a very long time. Suddenly, once insuperable obstacles seem surmountable. Despotic regimes that have been entrenched across the Arab world for two full generations are suddenly vulnerable. Two of the most formidable among them — in Tunis and Cairo — have crumbled before our eyes in a matter of a few weeks. Another in Tripoli, one of the most brutal and repressive, is tottering at this moment. The old men who dominate so many of these countries suddenly look their age, and the distance between the rulers and the vast majorities of their populations born 40 or 50 or 60 years after them has never been greater. An apparently frozen political and social situation has melted almost overnight in the heat of the popular upsurge that took over the towns and cities first of Tunisia and then of Egypt, and which is now spreading to other Arab countries. We are privileged to be experiencing what may well be a world historical moment, when what once seemed to be fixed verities vanish and new potentials and forces emerge.
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What shari‘a law actually means

Justin Elliottt
Salon 26 Feb -- The right wants to ban it in America, but do they even know what it is? ... But even basic facts about shari‘a -- what is it? how is it used in American courts? -- are hard to come by. So I decided to talk to Abed Awad, a New Jersey-based attorney and an expert on shari‘a who regularly handles cases that involve Islamic law. He is also a member of the adjunct faculties at Rutgers Law School and Pace Law School. He recently answered my questions via e-mail.... Can you give a couple examples of when shari‘a has come up in cases that you've handled?

 In the past 12 years as an attorney, I have handled many cases with an Islamic law component. U.S. courts are required to regularly interpret and apply foreign law -- including Islamic law....

Deadly protests rock Iraq

AJ 26 Feb -- Al Jazeera has obtained pictures which appear to show police shooting at protesters in the Iraqi city of Falluja, during Friday's deadly nationwide 'day of rage'. An unprecedented lockdown of Iraq's capital failed to deter thousands of Iraqis from protesting, serving notice that the anti-government rage sweeping the Middle East will not be easily extinguished in Baghdad.

Yemen still on the boiling plate

Major Yemen tribes join protesters
AJ 26 Feb -- Pressure on Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, to resign has increased after the leaders of two of the country's most important tribes abandoned the president and joined the anti-government movement. Tribal leaders, including those of the Hashid and Baqil, pledged on Saturday to join protests against Saleh at a gathering north of Sana‘a, the capital.

What Umberto Eco does not understand about the cultural boycott

Joseph Dana
24 Feb -- Today, the Italian writing legend Umberto Eco caused more BDS controversy with statements denouncing the cultural boycott call as a ‘form of racism.’ Eco told reporters today at the Jerusalem Book Festival that, “I consider it absolutely crazy and fundamentally racist to identify a scholar, a private citizen, with the politics of his government.” Eco’s strong comments reflect the depth of ignorance that is populating the BDS debate.
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The Zionist Story - Through The Eyes of An Ex-Israeli Soldier - Full Documentary

The Zionist Story, an independent film by Ronen Berelovich, is the story of ethnic cleansing, colonialism and apartheid to produce a demographically Jewish State.

Ronen successfully combines archival footage with commentary from himself and others such as Ilan Pappe, Terry Boullata, Alan Hart and Jeff Halper.

"I have recently finished an independent documentary, The Zionist Story, in which I aim to present not just the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also the core reason for it: the Zionist ideology, its goals (past and present) and its firm grip not only on Israeli society, but also, increasingly, on the perception of Middle East issues in Western democracies.

These concepts have already been demonstrated in the excellent 'Occupation 101′ documentary made by Abdallah Omeish and Sufyan Omeish, but in my documentary I approach the subject from the perspective of an Israeli, ex-reserve soldier and someone who has spent his entire life in the shadow of Zionism.

I hope you can find a moment to watch The Zionist Story and, if you like it, please feel free to share it with others. (As both the documentary and the archived footage used are for educational purposes only, the film can be freely distributed).

I have made this documentary entirely by myself, with virtually no budget, although doing my best to achieve high professional standard, and I hope that this 'home-spun' production will be of interest to viewers." - Ronen Berelovich.

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's not what the people wanted!

Israel reopens embassy in Cairo
MEMO 25 Feb -- ... The decision was made by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The Zionist state's Ambassador to Cairo set out his country's assessment of the possible scenarios in a post-Mubarak Egypt, one of which implies that Egypt's Supreme Military Council will nominate a candidate in the presidential election. It is believed that one candidate may be Chief of Staff Sami Enan, who has good relations with Israel.

Hebron, a ghost town!

Ghost town / Gideon Levy
25 Feb -- ...The picture changes in a twinkling. The well-kept (relatively ) and busy (relatively ) streets now give way to ghost streets. The lower down the slope we drive, the more deserted they are. Hundreds of locked, sealed stores, hundreds of abandoned apartments, blinds shut, windows barred, ancient stone homes that could be Palestinian heritage sites but are now desolate. Welcome to Hebron H2, under Israeli control, the way to the caves of the patriarchs and the matriarchs. The feeling of a vast cemetery strikes the visitor, a cemetery of property that was plundered and rights that were trampled. Welcome to the scene of the crime.

Merkel rebukes Israeli PM Netanyahu for failing to advance peace

Israeli paper reports that PM was told in fractious phone call: 'You haven't made a single step'
Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu was rebuked after expressing disappointment that Germany voted for a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Photograph: Reuters

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has sternly rebuked the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in an unusually fractious telephone call, according to media reports.

Netanyahu had done nothing to advance the peace process, Merkel said in a conversation this week, reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The Israeli prime minister telephoned Merkel on Monday to say he was disappointed that Germany had voted for a UN security council resolution condemning settlements that was vetoed by the US.

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Feb 25: Demonstrations in Tripoli, airbase possibly overrun

Demonstrators in Tripoli showing extraordinary bravery today. Some of the reports suggest that protesters are able to assemble in the eastern suburb of Tajoura, indicating that Qaddafi no longer has the manpower to really dominate his own capital. Some marchers appear to have been met by troops who shot to kill, others by troops who fired in the air. Al Jazeera reports that Mitiga airbase, the major military airbase in the capital, was overrun by demonstrators with help from air force officers. They sabotaged planes, but did not attempt to hold the base. This again indicates that regime forces are stretched thin.

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Thousands join 'Day of Rage' across the Middle East

• In Iraq, six killed as frustration erupts over corruption
• Yemen holds its biggest pro-democracy rally
• Egyptians demand accelerated reforms
Protester in Sana'a

In Yemen's capital, Sana'a, an anti-government protester chants slogans demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The president ordered security services to protect protesters. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

Protests erupted in cities across the Middle East and North Africa. At least six people were reported killed and dozens injured in Iraq; thousands took to the streets in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a; and Egyptians gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand an accelerated reform programme.

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WikiLeaks: Gadhafi Turned Down Madoff

Even despotic leaders, it turns out, can make sound investment decisions. Libyan leader Moamar Gadhafi turned down a chance to investment with Bernie Madoff and accused ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, according to a new diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. (The U.K.'s Telegraph has the full cable, dated January 28, 2010.) The head of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund, Mohamed Layas, claimed to control $32 billion in liquid assents, most of which was deposited at U.S. banks. Layas, according to the cable, was miffed at Libyan funds were "mismanaged" by Lehman Brothers, the failed investment bank.

Gadhafi's grip on Libya slipping

BENGHAZI, Libya: The scope of Moammar Gadhafi’s rule in Libya was whittled away Wednesday as major cities and towns closer to the capital fell into the hands of protesters demanding his ouster. In Libya’s east, now all but broken away, the opposition vowed to “liberate” Tripoli, where the Libyan leader is holed up with a force of militiamen roaming the streets. In a further sign of Gadhafi’s faltering hold, two air force pilots, one from the leader’s own tribe, parachuted out of their warplane and let it crash into the deserts of eastern Libya, rather than follow orders to bomb a opposition-held city.
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90% of Libya in Rebel Hands, Juan Cole

The LAT reports that the rebellion against Muammar Qaddafi’s 41-year dictatorship in Libya headed toward an end-game on Wednesday, as Misurata, the country’s third-largest city (pop. 600,000), fell to the opposition. Significantly, Misurata is in the west of the country, where support for Qaddafi had been stronger. It is only 100 miles east of the capital, Tripoli.
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BREAKING! Caller Personally Confirmed: 1500 young men buried alive in an Underground room in Benghazi

"Jazeera, I want to deliver this information, I confirmed it personally, on my responsibility. I am a Libyan citizen. Today in Benghazi they discovered a room underground, a room that is completely locked-in. Completely locked. Holding 1500 young men from Benghazi. From the 15th of February the first day of demonstrations to today when they got them out, the 22nd, they had been without food or water. They heard the voices from the barracks, noise, people. After they went to check, they got them out, God be praised, alive. 1500 young men, buried alive, buried alive. Muammar must be obliterated. We will not surrender. Our dead are in heaven, he is in hell. God bear witness that I have delivered this message, if there are any Muslims. God willing."
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Robert Fisk: Tripoli: a city in the shadow of death

Up to 15,000 men, women and children besieged Tripoli's international airport last night, shouting and screaming for seats on the few airliners still prepared to fly to Muammar Gaddafi's rump state, paying Libyan police bribe after bribe to reach the ticket desks in a rain-soaked mob of hungry, desperate families. Many were trampled as Libyan security men savagely beat those who pushed their way to the front.

French doctor in Libya: over 2000 dead

A 60-year old French doctor working in Benghazi estimated the death toll to be over 2000. He says that out ambulances counted 75 bodies the first day, 200 on the second and more than 500 on the third day. “From Tobruk to Darna, they carried out a real massacre… In total, I think there are more than 2,000 deaths,” he said.
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Iraq too will have its uprising!

Iraqis rally through social media in 'day of rage'
BAGHDAD, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A wave of uprisings across the Arab world have inspired Iraqi youth to plug into social media and organise their own "day of rage" on Friday against poor basic services in Iraq. Thousands of Iraqis are expected to take part in the demonstration, organised mainly through social networking site Facebook, after weeks of scattered protests around the country calling for an end to shortages of jobs, food, power and water.

Irresponsible?! Rather racist genocidal kooks!

An irresponsible rabbinate / Yedidia Stern
Haaretz 24 Feb -- Rabbis are influential in Israeli society. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, 54 percent of Israel's Jewish citizens believe that rabbis should be consulted when the country makes diplomatic decisions. So it's important to examine how rabbis use their influence. The following was the harvest of recent weeks, a source of pride: Religious Zionist rabbis issued the "rabbis letter" that seeks to exclude Arabs from Israeli cities, the book "The King's Torah" permitted killing them, Rabbi Dov Lior refused to obey the rule of law, and dozens of rabbis supported this refusal.

People get ready -- there's a train a-comin'

Larry Derfner
JPost 23 Feb -- It’s become pretty clear to me how Israeli rule in the West Bank is going to end - through Palestinian people power ... Masses of Palestinians, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, marching to IDF checkpoints and outposts, marching to Israeli-only roads, to settlements, to the security fence – to the nearest Israeli presence and screaming, "Out! Out!" And refusing to leave. WHAT THE hell is the IDF going to do then? Shoot them? Arrest them? With the whole world not only watching but, for the first time, already won over by other unarmed Arab masses facing down their oppressors?

"In Israel, the revolution has already begun"

Bradley Burston
Haaretz 23 Feb -- This new revolution aims not only at the end of occupation, but at the beginning of a new Israel. Not for settlers, this time, but for Israelis -- People often ask why, at a time when revolutionary fervor has seized nation after nation here in the Middle East, no revolt has yet begun in my country. Actually, it has. Right under the government's nose ... Here, now, on this side of the recognized border, a potent opposition is emerging, young, largely unknown, social network-savvy.
Read more-Haaretz

Breaking the siege of Gaza is high priority for Egypt's young revolutionaries

With regards to lifting the siege of Gaza, Maher said that the issue cannot be ignored. It is, he stressed, one of the demands of the revolution: "Pressure exerted by the revolutionaries as well as Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi's call to end the siege has obliged the army to fulfill this demand." It is time to end the suffering of the people of Gaza, he said. This, ended Maher, has made the government in Israel "fearful" of Egyptian youth.
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Warsaw palm tree sculpture wears kuffiyeh in protest of Jerusalem annexation /

Philip Weiss
24 Feb - From the press release: Today, Palestinian and Polish activists tied a giant traditional Palestinian scarf (Kuffeyah) around the iconic Palm sculpture in Jerusalem Avenue, central Warsaw. ... The action is a response to the top-level meeting between Israel and Poland, taking place not in Israel’s diplomatic capital Tel-Aviv but Jerusalem – the Eastern part of which is recognised by the EU and United Nations as occupied territory.

Knesset debates bill to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel

Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is looking at a draft bill which proposes the abolition of Arabic as an official language in the Zionist state... The proposed law is one of a number of initiatives designed to undermine the status of Arabic, which is the mother-tongue of more than 1.25 million Palestinian citizens of the state, one-fifth of the population. A draft constitution, for example, supported by a number of Israeli institutions, also proposes the removal of Arabic's official status.
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Netanyahu seems as delusional as Qadhafi

If he wasn’t he would be analyzing the events in the region and scrambling desperately to make peace with surrounding Arab countries. Instead, since the fall of Ben Ali and Mubarak and now the impending fall of Qadhafi the world is witnessing increased brutality and cruelty by the Israeli regime against the Palestinian people, in particular the last few weeks Israelis have targeted children which they are harassing and arresting at alarming rates. But, aside from this inhuman treatment of young children the pace at which Palestinians are displaced from their homes has not slowed down, see here, here and here. Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance groups that were told by the international community (including Arabs) that they would see their freedom sooner if they backed and enforced a ceasefire just witnessed the Obama administration veto the UNSC resolution to condemn Israeli settlement expansion.
Read more-Mondoweiss

Toward Palestine's 'Mubarak moment'

The Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself, as it is acting in Israel's interest, writer says.
New elections will not give Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the credibility he needs, writer says [Reuters]

The slow collapse of Palestinian collective leadership institutions in recent years has reached a crisis amid the ongoing Arab revolutions, the revelations in the Palestine Papers, and the absence of any credible peace process.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction has attempted to respond to this crisis by calling elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the PA presidency.

Abbas hopes that elections could restore legitimacy to his leadership. Hamas has rejected such elections in the absence of a reconciliation agreement ending the division that resulted from Fatah's refusal (along with Israel and the PA's western sponsors, especially the United States) to accept the result of the last election in 2006, which Hamas decisively won.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Global community isolates Gaddafi

EU calls for investigation into possible crimes against humanity while US says "all options" are on the table.
World leaders and rights activists have criticised the Libyan government's violent response to protests [AFP]

International condemnation of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Libya has escalated, with the European Union pushing for a UN-led probe into human rights abuses and preparing for possible sanctions against the African nation.

A draft proposal by the 27-nation bloc on Wednesday spoke out against "extremely grave human rights violations committed in Libya, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators," and said they could "amount to crimes against humanity".

The bloc has also agreed to prepare possible sanctions on Libya. Experts will now draw up a list of proposed measures, which could include visa bans, asset freezes, an arms embargo and other restrictions, before EU governments agree when to impose them.

The agreement came after Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, urged the EU to impose "concrete sanctions" on Libya, and David Cameron, the British prime minister, called for a full United Nations Security Council resolution on the issue.

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US mulls all options against Libya

Barack Obama orders his national security team to prepare the full range of options for dealing with the crisis.
Obama branded Libya's orders to shoot protesters as "outrageous" and called on the world to speak as one [Reuters]

Barack Obama, the US president, has said the violent crackdown in Libya violated international norms and that he had ordered his national security team to prepare the full range of options for dealing with the crisis.

"I have also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we may have to respond to this crisis," Obama said in his first televised comments on the Libya crisis on Wednesday.

The US president said he would send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Geneva for a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council at the weekend and for talks with allied foreign ministers.

The Obama administration said earlier that it was looking at imposing sanctions on Libya to punish it for a violent crackdown on protesters seeking ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

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Gaddafi loses more Libyan cities

Protesters wrest control of more cities as unrest sweeps African nation despite Muammar Gaddafi's threat of crackdown.

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's long-standing ruler, has reportedly lost control of more cities as anti-government protests continue to sweep the African nation despite his threat of a brutal crackdown.

Protesters in Misurata said on Wednesday they had wrested the western city from government control. In a statement on the internet, army officers stationed in the city pledged "total support for the protesters".

The protesters also seemed to be in control of much of the country's east, and an Al Jazeera correspondent, reporting from the city of Tobruk, 140km from the Egyptian border, said there was no presence of security forces.

"From what I've seen, I'd say the people of eastern Libya are the ones in control," Hoda Abdel-Hamid, our correspondent, said.

She said there were no officials manning the border when the Al Jazeera team crossed into Libya.

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Gaddafi has lost it ...

With his hold over Libya loosening, Muammar Gaddafi seems to have lost his mind and perhaps his nerves.
Gaddafi has used bribes, blackmail and scare tactics, when necessary, to insure the tribes' loyalty to his regime [EPA]

The Libyan leader has lost all three pillars of his rule - tribal, military and diplomatic. Judging from his desperate speech last night, he seems to be losing his mind and perhaps his nerves.

That's why it's only a question of time for his regime to breakdown.

For the last four decades, Gaddafi has based the stability of his rule on a careful balancing act among more than 100 tribes and clans, especially the 30 influential among them, that pride themselves on playing an important role in freeing Libya from colonialism.

Gaddafi has used bribes when possible, blackmail and scare tactics when necessary, to insure the tribes' loyalty to the regime, or at least its neutrality.

However, over the last few days, one after the other, Libyan tribes have declared their opposition to the Gaddafi regime and vowed their support and allegiance to the revolution of February 17.

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Libya updates

Egyptians, Tunisians support Libya with medical aid
The trucks move to the Libya border. A group of Egyptians work fast to unload the medical supplies that are then passed over to the Libyan side of the border. It is a small part of the effort a group of Egyptians are giving to the Libyan anti-government protesters, who in recent days have been the target of mass killing by their government.

Libya: Benghazi airport runways destroyed

Egypt's foreign minister says flights cannot land in Benghazi airport . Egyptian military reinforces border with Libya.,7340,L-4032263,00.html

BREAKING: The Egyptian Army announces that Libyan-Egyptian borders are open fully!
Just now, the Egyptian army has announced that the Libyan-Egyptian borders are open fully! We hope that this will now allow for journalists and hospital supplies to filter through and help our Libyan brothers and sisters!

Egypt army opens hospitals as Libyans quit border
CAIRO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Libyan guards have withdrawn from their side of the border with Egypt after anti-government protests, Egypt's army said on its Facebook page on Monday, adding it had set up two field hospitals on the frontier.

Egypt army opens camps, hospitals on Libya border

CAIRO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Egypt's army has set up two field hospitals and also camps to receive Egyptians on the border with Libya, the army said on a website on Monday, after increasingly bloody battles between Libyan security forces and protests. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was under increasing pressure to hang on to power on Monday when anti-government protests against his 41-year rule struck the capital Tripoli after days of violence in the east.

Libya allows Egypt military planes to land

CAIRO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Libya has allowed two Egyptian military aircraft to land in Libya to evacuate Egyptian workers, Egypt's foreign minister was quoted as saying by the state news agency on Tuesday.
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Not Libya’s own aircraft!

BREAKING: Eye witness to Al Jazeera says F16 fighter jets sighted
An eyewitness on Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel has just reported that F16 fighter jets have been spotted over Tripoli, and not Libya’s own aircraft, shooting at people. (Libya’s Air Force does not have any F16 aircraft)

Gadhafi said barricaded in his compound

Former Arab League diplomat reports Gadhafi and followers are confined to two barracks in Tripoli; protesters are reportedly hunkering down after warnings by government loyalists that anyone in streets will be shot.
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Israeli bulldozers bury Bedouin village

HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Feb -- The five tents giving shelter to some 50 Bedouin residents of Amniyr, a tiny community north of Susiya in the south Hebron hills, were torn down on Monday, their olive trees uprooted and water sources covered over. An observer with the Christian Peacemaker Teams said Israeli demolition crews arrived before sunrise, at about 5:30 a.m., and began taking down the tents, then filled a well and a water cistern with earth ... Residents had moved back to the area during the winter, saying settler harassment at a second location one kilometer away had driven them out. Years earlier the same harassment had forced them from the location where the tents were demolished.

Soldiers empty containers of skunk water on houses in the centre of village,

Stinking collective punishment in West Bank village Nabi Saleh
AIC 21 Feb -- During the weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Salah against the creeping annexation of their lands by the area settlements, the Israeli army imposed a particularly stinking collective punishment. For several long minutes, soldiers emptied the containers of skunk water on houses in the centre of the village, also spraying the roofs of homes on which the residents collect rain water. The soldiers further sprayed the village cemetery with the skunk water. Israel’s massive use of tear gas and skunk water in the centre of the village was done with no intention of dispersing the demonstration, which had already ended by this time, but to stink up the homes of the residents and to contaminate their water sources.
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A new low for Canada!

Latrun villagers protest Canada-Jewish National Fund relations
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Feb -- Vigils were held outside Canadian representative offices in Ramallah and Tel Aviv Monday, to protest Jewish National Fund charitable status in Canada in light of its building of Canada Park on Palestinian village ruins inside the 1967 Green Line. The park was built on land from the villages Imwas, Yalo, and Bayt Nuba, near Latrun, that were destroyed in the 1967 war that saw Israeli capture the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordanian control ... A memorandum requesting Canadian divestment of JNF preferred tax status and a meeting for families of the displaced with the Canadian ambassador to Israel was received by the Canadian representative in Ramallah and delivered to the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Enemy of God? Maybe but enemy of the people for sure!!

Gaza protest against Moammar Gadhafi calls Libyan dictator 'enemy of God'
AP 22 Feb -- Hundreds of students in Gaza City have rallied in support of Libyan protesters who are trying to topple longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. About 1,500 Islamic University students marched Tuesday. Some held signs reading "Gadhafi is the enemy of God." Gadhafi has ruled Libya for over four decades. He has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinians.
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PA requests Israel to allow Palestinians in Libya to return to West Bank and Gaza

GulfNews 22 Feb -- Ramallah: Israel is considering a request by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to allow all Palestinians living in Libya to return to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Israeli Public Radio confirmed that the request has been submitted to Israel, which is reviewing it ... Around 20,000 Palestinians live in Libya and the PNA expects Israeli approval for their return to the West Bank and Gaza Strip on humanitarian grounds. A senior PNA official told Gulf News that hope of approval from Israel is very low.

Israeli Arab parents more concerned with homework than Jewish counterparts, study shows

Haaretz 22 Feb -- Researchers say differences reflect different views about the wider role of education as an instrument of social mobility -- Only 37 percent of Israel's Jewish parents believe it is important to do homework, compared to 60 percent of Arab parents, a new study has found. A poll of students showed a similar gap: Only 58 percent of Jewish students said they did all the homework they were assigned at school, as compared to 78 percent of Arab students.

The unstoppable revolutionary power of al Jazeera

Nir Rosen
Watching Qadhafi give his speech I’m relieved to see that somebody has more public relations problems than I do right now. Al Jazeera is juxtaposing his speech with footage of Libyan’s opposing him in Benghazi. This is similar to what Jazeera did in Egypt, when it went from Mubarak speaking to the reaction of Egyptians in Tahrir Square, or from Umar Suleiman speaking to those demonstrators.......

........Through Jazeera, the government of Qatar is effectively fomenting revolutions in much of the Arab world. And yesterday a leading Sunni cleric Sheikh Yusuf Qaradwi, who was exiled from Egypt and living in Qatar, issued a fatwa calling for Qadhafi to be killed, surely something unprecedented in the region’s history. The closest I can think of is when Seyid Hassan Nasrallah of Hizballah urged Egyptians to overthrow their government during Israel’s Gaza Massacre (in which the Mubarak regime collaborated).
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An end to this soft bigotry against the Arab world

The west must revise its low expectations as Moroccans and other Arab peoples speak their minds
  • issandr
  • Morocco protest flag Casablanca
    Protesters hold the Moroccan flag during a demonstration in Casablanca, Morocco. Photograph: Thibault Camus

    There is a phrase coined in 2004 by Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for George W Bush best-known for having come up with "axis of evil", that I've always liked. In a speech about education, he bemoaned "the soft bigotry of lowered expectations" that he believed existed against disadvantaged children.

    For several decades, there has been a soft bigotry of lowered expectations in the west and among Arab elites about the Arab world. The prevalent thinking about this region of over 300 million souls is that it offered no fertile ground for democracy, either because democracy risked bringing political forces hostile to western interests or because democracy is not a value that has much currency in the region. Many regimes understood this, and played a double game of decrying their societies' "immaturity" while encouraging anti-democratic tendencies such as populism and, at times, a reactionary social conservatism. After the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, no one will buy this any more – and nor should they about two more north African countries: Libya and Morocco.

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    (Thanks vza)

Neocon fantasy: Palestine has nothing to do with Arab uprisings

Alex Kane-Mondoweiss

As mass uprisings in Arab states continue, the Israeli government and its neoconservative supporters in the U.S. have tried to convince the world that Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians has nothing to do with the revolts. While it would be disingenuous to claim that Palestine drives the revolts, it’s equally disingenuous to claim that Palestine doesn’t factor at all in to the uprisings, or that Palestine is not a chief concern for Arabs all over.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the claim today. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Lieberman said: “The Israel-Palestinian conflict is not the main issue, not the main problem…I don’t see linkage between Israel-Palestine and unrest in Egypt, Bahrain or Egypt and Libya.”

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Libya: Celebrations in opposition-controlled east

Jon Leyne reports from the Libya-Egypt border which appears free of Gaddafi control

The BBC's Jon Leyne is one of the first foreign journalists to enter Libya since the anti-government protests erupted last week. He reports from the east of the country, where the military has largely abandoned Col Muammar Gaddafi.

We arrived in Libya through a border post now completely controlled by the opposition.

There were delirious celebrations there over the fact that they had vanquished Col Gaddafi's forces and Col Gaddafi's government.

There are no government officials at the border, the minimum of formalities. They are flying a new flag; there is a picture of Muammar Gaddafi crossed out.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The King of Kings' speech

Al Jazeera's senior policy analyst says Gaddafi's threats were no different from those of any foreign occupier.
Marwan Bishara

Gaddafi has ruled Libya for the past 42 years with an iron fist, but insists he has no official role [EPA]
Muammar Gaddafi is dangerously in denial. Alas, he's been that way for a long time.
Gaddafi has ruled Libya for the past 42 years with iron fist, but insists he has no official role and therefore couldn't resign. Otherwise, he would have done that long ago!

He thinks of himself as Zaim - a guru leader - or the king of kings of Africa as referred to himself repeatedly the last couple of years.
How do you resign from greatness, he wondered! After recounting his heroism, sacrifice and courage over the last few decades.
In reality, he wasted his country's fortunes, misused its sources and violated its people. He misspent hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues from oil.
He commands the state budget along with his family, and yet he insists he has no money, no fortune and no belonging to give away.
Why would he need any of that when he de facto had claim on the whole country.
One is speechless listening to him telling Libyans: Go ahead take back your oil.
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Writer/journalist David Cronin's account of his attempt at a citizen's arrest on Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman in Brussles

Why I tried to arrest Avigdor Lieberman

If apartheid is a crime, there is only one way to treat its practitioners: arrest them. That is precisely what I tried to do when I confronted Avigdor Lieberman, the architect of a series of laws designed to make Israeli apartheid even more draconian than it already is.

As the Israeli foreign minister was about to give a press conference in Brussels today, I stood in front of him and shouted: "Mr. Lieberman, this is a citizen's arrest. You are charged with the crime of apartheid. Please come with me to the nearest police station." I was about to explain the charge further but two security guards had already whisked me away from Lieberman and his inscrutable glare. So I shouted "Free Palestine" and "Israel is an apartheid state" to underscore my point.
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Condolences to the Angry Arab on the loss of his brother Midhat

I just learned of the loss of As'ad Abu Khalil's brother Midhat..My condolences to him and to his family.
The Angry Arab:
My late brother (right), Midhat and I

This picture was taken in 1972, with writer Mikha'il Nu`aymah. (What As'ad doesn't mention about Aby Nu'aymah is that he's a towering giant of Arabic literature and who was a close friend of Khalil Gibran )

How Arabs feel about the US: from one issue of the New York Times

As'ad Abu KLhalil
From David Kirkpatrick: "There were signs that the demonstrators had not forgotten their disappointment with what seemed to be American support for Mr. Mubarak until the end of the revolt. Though the demonstrators had returned to remove most of the graffiti around the square, one billboard remained inscribed with a message in English: “USA Admin — we will get democracy with our will. Play your games with the tyrant.”" Don't you like the word "disappointed" about Arab public feelings toward the US? Have you ever met an Arab who expressed her/his feelings toward the US with the word "disappointed"?
And then Neil MacFarquhar: "The widespread eruptions of antigovernment protests in the Middle East have focused on domestic issues and have not been tinged with anti-American sentiment. The Obama administration said it hoped that the veto, which it has as one of the Council’s five permanent members, would not change that public sentiment." Which of the two accounts is false? Both, of course. It is neither disappointed nor neutrality. It is rage at the US.

It is war: even within the same camp in the Arab world

As'ad Abu Khalil
Don't underestimate the severity of impact of Arab political developments. There are new features and developments at every level and corner. I can't keep up myself, especially that I am on the road in Michigan. But propagandists/journalists of House of Saud are at each other's throats. You see every Saudi journalist is affiliated with a Saudi Prince. Thus, Jamal Khashuqji (former Bin Ladente turned "liberal") is affiliated with sons of King Faysal, while Tariq Humayyid is of course affiliated with Prince Salman and his sons. So here, the latter berates the former for writing a glowing review of Qaradawi's speech in Cairo and even seems to threaten him by telling him "we are monitoring you." I kid you not. Check it out before it is taken down. They have that habit in House of Saud media.

Gaddaffi's son's professor remembers a torn Saif

Gaddafi's son 'will be in turmoil' says LSE professor who acted as adviser
London School of Economics' David Held remembers young man with deep commitment to liberal reform
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

Held remembers Saif as man with a curiosity for knowledge and a huge appetite for reading and learning. "He always wanted to test arguments for his views, always wanted to engage in dialogue," said Held.

But the professor was appalled by the contrast between the relaxed, charming student who took a masters in comparative politics at LSE and a PhD in philosophy and the man who scorned protesters on Monday, talking of "drunkards and thugs" driving tanks about the streets of Benghazi.

"I was appalled to see him on the television. That young man was not the person I knew: the funny, witty man who, while always guarded about his family, was always willing to talk frankly with me about the fundamental questions about his own country and the Middle East in general," said Held.

"Saif arrived at the LSE very set in his opinions. I was of the view that here was a relatively unformed young man, struggling to make sense of his life as a member of the Gaddafi family and someone who was also increasingly aware that the democratic reform of his country was essential to its continued existence. Over a period of time, however, he showed every sign of being committed not just to opening up his country but reforming it on liberal democratic principles."

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Tunisia seeks Ben Ali's extradition

Officials formally request extradition of former president from Saudi Arabia, where he fled last month after uprising.
Tunisia now has an interim government which is preparing the country for national elections [AFP]

Tunisia is seeking the extradition of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country's deposed president, from Saudi Arabia to face charges stemming from the violent crackdown on protesters last month, Tunisia's foreign ministry has said.

The country wants to try Ben Ali over his role in the deaths of protesters killed by security forces during the uprising, which brought an end to his decades-long rule, the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state media on Sunday.

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Fresh violence rages in Libya

Protesters say security forces using warplanes and live ammunition "massacre" them, raising death toll to almost 300.
Anti-government protesters say they have taken control of several towns [Reuters]

Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi are waging a bloody operation to keep him in power, with residents reporting gunfire in parts of the capital Tripoli and other cities, while other citizens, including the country's former ambassador to India, are saying that warplanes were used to "bomb" protesters.

Nearly 300 people are reported to have been killed in continuing violence in the capital and across the north African country as demonstrations enter their second week.

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Egypt asks to freeze Mubarak assets

Egypt's public prosecutor has requested the freezing of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's foreign assets as well as accounts held by Mubarak, his wife Suzanne and his two sons, Gamal and Aala, together with their wives.

Abdel Meguid Mahmoud made the request on Sunday in the first sign that the deposed president would be held to account by the rulers to whom he handed power on February 11.

Media reports suggested the former president's wealth may total billions of dollars and some anti-Mubarak protesters accused him of squandering the wealth of the Arab world's most populous nation, but aides insist he has done nothing wrong.

The public prosecutor also filed the first charges against a group of high-ranking officials currently in detention and under investigation for their wrongdoings while serving in Mubarak's government.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Libyan Muslim leaders order followers to rebel

PARIS, Feb 21 (Reuters) - A coalition of Libyan Muslim leaders has issued a declaration telling all Muslims it is their duty to rebel against the Libyan leadership. "They have demonstrated total arrogant impunity and continued, and even intensified, their bloody crimes against humanity. They have thereby demonstrated total infidelity to the guidance of God and His beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)," said the group, called the Network of Free Ulema of Libya.
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Qaddaffi vows not to flee Libya

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Libyan sources told Asharq al-Awsat that the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, will not flee the country if the situation escalates, and that he intends to die on Libyan soil.

Tweet tweet

Michael Cromer
So confusing. Arab nations becoming the new icons for freedom and democracy - just as America becoming the new symbol of oligarchy.
Hum, not quite yet but given the rapidly evolving situation, hopes are high!

Egypt-Israel "peace treaty" brought more war than peace

"... Israel also used the accords as a means to continue the destruction and dispossession of Palestinian society. Under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who won the Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israel developed a twin track approach with regard to the Palestinians of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip: a collaborationist "village league" form of governance was established, although due to Palestinian resistance it failed to take root, while simultaneously the number of illegal colonists in the West Bank and Gaza more than quadrupled (according to data published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, and collated by Peace Now, the number of settlers in the West Bank grew from 5,000 in the early 1970s to more than 20,000 in 1983).
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Gaddafi uses deadly force against protesters

A screen grab of a YouTube clip showing protesters in eastern Libya destroying monuments of Gaddafi's Green Book.

CAIRO (IPS) - Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi has unleashed the bloodiest crackdown so far against pro-democracy protesters seeking his ouster, killing dozens of people in only four days of protests.

On Sunday the unrest spread to capital Tripoli from the eastern port city Benghazi.

Libyan Internet activists have denounced the international community's failure to act over the "massacres" in Libya.

The Cairo-based Arab Organization for Human Rights has decried the use of violence against the protestors in Libya and called for an international investigation. The Vienna-based Friends of Humanity said the Libyan regime's onslaught was tantamount to "war crimes."
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Libya protests: 'Now we've seen the blood our fears have gone'

Mercenary attacks fail to deter anti-Gaddafi protests as people tell of bloodshed despite the news blackout
A police station on fire in Tripoli

A police station on fire in Tripoli’s Friday market square. Anti-Gaddafi demonstrators were said to have taken over parts of the Libyan capital yesterday. Photograph: YouTube

As determined demonstrators against Gaddafi headed to the vast, palm-tree fringed Green Square in central Tripoli on Monday, protesters talked of the gathering as the "new Tahrir Square".

Inspired by Egypt's revolution, they vowed to sleep out in the centre of Libyan's Mediterranean port capital there until "the job was done" and the Libyan dictator had fled.

Read more-The Guardian

Mercenaries wanted!

Adverts in Guinea and Nigeria for mercenaries, paying $2000/day, reports Arabic. Follow AJE's liveblog:

An important piece: Why the U.S. will not ‘do something’ about Palestine

Virginia Tilley

"There are three fundamental truths about US foreign policy that it is high time people in the Middle East grasp more fully.

First, the US is a world hegemon. Even with its credibility sinking and other powers rising, like China, the US comprises about one-fourth of the entire world’s economy by itself, controls most of the UN as well as the IMF and World Bank, and has vast influence over states everywhere. This factor has two effects that matter here. One is that US will not stop acting like a hegemon until it isn’t one anymore, which is still a long way off, and no political hegemon in history has ever acted altruistically. Especially, no hegemon has ever simply backed out of the affairs of a long-standing client and tossed its own hard interests to the wind in the name of human freedom. Human rights and democracy are optional to hegemons: they matter only where they impact the hegemon’s realist interests. And the driving interests of any hegemon are wealth and security: to abuse the phrasing of a famous Jewish philosopher, “the rest is commentary”. To expect a hegemon to behave any other way is futile fantasy."

Read more-Mondoweiss

Incredible treasure trove discovered in Ben Ali's office!

It's in Arabic but the images speak for themselves!

Jewish squatters uproot 220 olive trees near Nablus

NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Feb -- A mob of extremist settlers stormed Palestinian farmland and uprooted olive trees near Nablus in the northern West Bank, Palestinian officials said. Residents of an an illegal outpost "waged war on olive trees uprooting 220 using chainsaws and other means," in Duma and Qusra villages

Settler fascists armed with swords attack Palestinian village

AL-KHALIL, (PIC) 19 Feb -- Armed Jewish settlers attacked Palestinians in Um Al-Khair area south of Yatta village, in Al-Khalil district, on Saturday, local sources said. Eyewitnesses told the PIC that the settlers, escorted by Israeli occupation soldiers, threw stones and empty bottles on the Palestinian citizens. They added that the settlers prevented the villagers from tending to their land and forced them out of it, noting that the settlers were armed with swords and slingshots.

'Israel's isolation may affect financial ties with Europe'

Ynet 20 Feb -- State officials warn of political isolation following European nations' support of Palestinian bid to condemn settlement construction in Security Council. 'Every tender for settlement construction distances us from Europe. Some countries boycott Israeli goods and things can deteriorate,' one official says,7340,L-4030891,00.html

Israel contributing to the isolation of the US on the world stage

A Pyrrhic victory in the UN Security Council / Gush Shalom
Israel is becoming a liability to the United States, bringing US into the same international isolation into which Israel itself was cast.The so-called "Israel Lobby", which prevents Israeli misconduct from ever being corrected, is a grave danger to Israel's future

Obama the Likudnik!

Barack Obama has joined Likud / Gideon Levy
20 Feb -- A friendly U.S., concerned for Israel's fate, should have said no. An America that understands that the settlements are the obstacle should have joined in condemning them ... If the U.S. had been a responsible superpower, it would have voted for the resolution on Friday to rouse Israel from its dangerous sleep. Instead, we got a hostile veto from Washington, shouts of joy from Jerusalem and a party that will end very badly for both.

It's official: America's role in the Mideast is over / Ami Kaufman

18 Feb - They’re not “illegal”. They’re “illegitimate”. Those guys in the West Wing really got their act together when it comes to copy writing. Good stuff. But I still don’t get it. All you had to do was abstain. What’s the worst that could have happened? Lieberman would have gotten angry? Netanyahu would have frowned? Honestly, what is the worst thing that could have happened from just sitting back and letting the world show some solidarity with the Palestinians? Were the threats coming from AIPAC that bad? What other explanation could there be?
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

'Place Tahrir' (Tahrir Square) in the city of Nantes, France

City of Nantes renames it's Place de La Liberation, Tahrir Square!

'For Muammar Gaddafi it's kill or be killed'

Libya's leader faces the worst unrest since he seized power, but no-one expects him to give up peacefully

Libya's official name is the Jamahiriya, or "state of the masses", but 41 years after seizing power, a defiant Muammar Gaddafi still rules through secretive decision-making and as a family enterprise in which his sons play leading roles.

Now facing the worst unrest since the revolution, Gaddafi's moves are as opaque as ever. Amid feverish speculation about the future, everything he has ever done suggests he will not relinquish power voluntarily. "We will all die on Libyan soil," sources close to his family told the Saudi paper al-Sharq al-Awsat.

Read more-The Guardian

And now Morocco!

Moroccans march to seek change
Demonstrators demand large-scale political and economic reforms in the North African kingdom.
Ordinary Moroccans are demanding large-scale political and economic reforms [AFP]

Ordinary Moroccans are demanding large-scale political and economic reforms [AFP]

Calls for change sweeping the Arab world have now spread to the kingdom of Morocco, where thousands of people have taken to the streets in the capital to demand a new constitution.

The demonstrators shouted slogans calling for economic opportunity, educational reform, better health services and help in coping with rising living costs during the march on central Hassan II Avenue in Rabat on Sunday.

A protest organiser said the turnout at the rally was more than 5,000. But police said fewer than 3,000 people had marched.

Many in the crowd waved Tunisian and Egyptian flags, in recognition of the uprisings that toppled the two country's long-standing rulers.

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Libya Update: Gaddafi Losing Control Of Military?

There are reports today that seem to indicate that at least some elements of the Libyan Army are openly taking sides against the government:

Members of a Libyan army unit have told Benghazi residents they have defected and “liberated” the city from pro-Gaddafi forces.

Speaking from Benghazi, a local man named Benali, told Sky News members of the Libya’s armed forces have defected and that anti-regime protesters are now in control of the city.

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