Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another embarrassing American politician..

Michele Bachmann: U.S. Embassy In Iran (Which Doesn't Exist) Would Be Closed Under My Watch

Michele Bachmann Iran Embassy

Michele Bachmann told supporters in Iowa on Wednesday of her lofty plans for American diplomacy, claiming that a Bachmann presidency would mean no U.S. embassy in Iran.

Considering the recent hostility in the Iranian capital of Tehran against the British embassy, the comment might not seem particularly out of place -- if not for the fact that the U.S. hasn't actually had a functioning embassy in Iran since 1980.

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Mustafa Barghouti included in Forbes Top 100 Global Thinkers

Decades of terrorist attacks may have cemented the Palestinian cause in the world's consciousness, but they never delivered the Palestinians' national dream -- a state of their own. More than anyone else, politician and human rights activist Mustafa Barghouti has pioneered an alternative path that emphasizes nonviolent tactics to delegitimize the Israeli occupation and demands that the Palestinian national movement live up to its ideals. He was the only political figure to contest Yasir Arafat's anointed successor, Mahmoud Abbas, in the 2005 Palestinian presidential election, and he won a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 on a platform that promoted an alternative to Arafat's Fatah and the militant group Hamas.

Barghouti has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinians' bid this year for member-state status at the United Nations, framing the move as part of the "diplomatic resistance" to Israel. At the same time, he has pressed the Palestinian Authority to revitalize its often-ignored democratic institutions and provide a transparent accounting of its budget, while urging Fatah and Hamas to set aside their deep differences. "Democracy was the first victim of the split," he told Foreign Policy. "That's wrong for internal life in Palestine, it's wrong for the future of our kids, and it's wrong for peace."

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The liberal Zionist inability to confront the right of return

Entrance to the Aida Refugee Camp with a key signifying the right of return that says
"Not for Sale." (Photo: Reham Alhelsi)

Joseph Dana

The noted liberal Zionist writer, Bernard Avishai, has a longish piece on the Palestinian right of return in this month’s edition of Harper’s Magazine (no online version yet). Before I discuss its content, I believe it crucial to note one general aspect of this piece. We must ask ourselves why an openly Zionist thinker who happens to be a Canadian immigrant is writing about Palestinian right of return without a Palestinian counter article. His penmanship of the article speaks volumes about the ability of the press in the United States on the ability to allow Palestinians to speak for themselves. His voice might be an important one, but the absence of a Palestinian view on an issue of such weight such as the right of return should be taken as a sign of how far the American press must go in changing the way it covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Robert Fisk: Sanctions are only a small part of the history that makes Iranians hate the UK

It's a weird irony that Iranians know the history of Anglo-Persian relations better than the Brits. When the newly installed Ministry of Islamic Guidance asked Harvey Morris, Reuters' man in post-revolutionary Iran, for a history of his news agency, he asked his London office to send him a biography of Baron von Reuter – and was appalled to discover the founder of the world's greatest news agency had built Persia's railways at an immense profit. "How can I show this to the ministry?" he shouted. "It turns out that the Baron was worse than the fucking Shah!" Of which, of course, the ministry was well aware.
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A first in Western Europe: Iceland recognises Palestinian state

Icelandic parliament passes resolution making country the first in western Europe to accept Palestine as an independent state
Ossur Skarphedinsson
Iceland's foreign minister, Ossur Skarphedinsson, said he would discuss the outcome of the vote with other Nordic countries before making a formal declaration on Palestinian statehood.

Iceland has become the first western European country to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

The Icelandic parliament said in a statement on its website that it had passed a motion with 38 of 63 votes in favour of a resolution to recognse Palestine "as an independent and sovereign state" based on borders predating the six-day war of 1967.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cairo’s Liberation by Innovation

Protesters carry makeshift shields during clashes with riot police along a road that leads to the Interior Ministry, near Tahrir Square in Cairo 23 November 2011.

From onions, to milk, to shoe polish bombs, protesters in Cairo are coming up with new ways to counter the regime’s new weapons of stifling dissent.

The Egyptian revolution carries on with an unparalleled creative spirit. A rebellious and vibrant imagination is pushing up against a stultifying and authoritarian military regime.

The Egyptian youth are honing their resistance skills daily in the face of the oppressive and violent machinery of power.

The young revolutionaries waged the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud Street, home of the ministry of interior, with inventiveness and spontaneous innovation.

While the state had previously unleashed horses and camels to crush protesters, it is using a new lethal poisonous gas this time around.

In the days following the January 25 uprising, uninitiated protesters discovered that it is possible to counter the effect of tear gas by washing one’s face with soda, vinegar, and onions.

In recent clashes, however, these old methods did not work, because the riot police resorted to using an internationally banned type of gas against the protesters. It was necessary therefore to come up with new and unconventional solutions.

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Just Another Goldman Sachs Take Over

"If any of the European sovereign debt fails, US financial institutions that issued swaps or unfunded guarantees against the debt are on the hook for large sums that they do not have. The reputation of the US financial system probably could not survive its default on the swaps it has issued. Therefore, the failure of European sovereign debt would renew the financial crisis in the US, requiring a new round of bailouts and/or a new round of Federal Reserve “quantitative easing,” that is, the printing of money in order to make good on irresponsible financial instruments, the issue of which enriched a tiny number of executives."
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Small victories: UNESCO distances itself from Israeli government youth conference

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society struggling to uphold Palestinian rights, recently discovered that the Israeli Ministry of Education was claiming to be organizing a youth conference in Jerusalem “in cooperation with UNESCO (United Nations),” as the Ministry’s website claims. Specifically, the conference is to be held in an Israeli venue in occupied East Jerusalem, in clear violation of international law.

Since the involvement of any UN agency with the Israeli government in organizing projects in occupied Jerusalem would amount to complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and implicit, de facto recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the occupied city, the BNC brought this urgent matter to the attention of the PLO and the Fatah International Relations Commission, both of which acted immediately to obtain clarifications from the UN.

After intense communication with ranking UN officials, UNESCO issued the following public statement and posted it on the Organization’s website, distancing itself from the Israeli conference — effectively exposing Israel’s fabrication of such cooperation with UNESCO – and reiterating UNESCO’s long-standing position which regards East Jerusalem as an inseparable part of the occupied Palestinian territory.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan? No, Israel!

And more about this ultra Orthodox cult here.

Pakistan has had enough

The assumption that it has no choice but to obey America may turn out to be a dire strategic error
Aftermath of NATO's helicopters attack at Pakistani border checkpost in Mohmand Agency
Protesters in Karachi burn an effigy representing America.

Readers of Dawn newspaper, commenting online, were in no doubt how the Pakistani government should respond to Saturday's killing by US forces of 24 soldiers on Pakistan's side of the Afghan border. "Pakistan should acquire anti-aircraft defence systems ... so that in the future Pakistan can give Nato forces a proper reply," said Ali. "This is outrageous," wrote another reader, Zia Khan. "We should cut off all ties with the US. As long as we are getting US [anti-terror] aid ... Pakistan will be attacked in such a manner. They can never be trusted." Another, Obaid, turned his wrath on the Pakistani authorities: "Our self-centred establishment with their fickle loyalties can't even demand that the killers be tried in a neutral court ... What is the ability of our armed forces? If they can't repel or intercept an attack of this intensity, then what's their purpose? This is not a time to get mad. It's time to get even."

Read more-The Guardian

The French are right. Ma'le Adumim is in occupied Palestine

French document: Ma'ale Adumim part of 'Occupied Palestine'

Resident of city near Jerusalem finds 'Occupied Palestinian Territory' listed under state of residence on his temporary French passport; FM to demand French gov't to revise wording
A 21-year-old resident of Ma'ale Adumim who also holds a French citizenship was surprised to find "Occupied Palestinian Territory" listed under the state of residence on his temporary French passport recently.

Eddy, who was born in Israel to French immigrants, applied for a French passport intending to go study there. He completed the paperwork and was issued a temporary travel document. On his way home from the consulate in Jerusalem, he noticed something strange.
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The smug nation: Threats and more threats

Israeli officials threaten to cut electricity and water if Palestinians form unity government
The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister told reporters Saturday that the Israeli government is considering cutting off the Gaza Strip’s meager supply of electricity and water if the Palestinian Authority manages to form a unity government.
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Turkey: Relations Not To Be Normalized until Israel Lifts Gaza Blockade

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affair, Ahmed Dawud Aghlo, reconfirmed that relations between Turkey and Israel won't be normalized till the latter issues an official statement, apologizing for Israeli attacks on the Turkish “Freedom Flotilla” in bound to Gaza and lifting Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, the Maan News Agency reported Friday afternoon.

The Turkish Flag. Image by

His statement came after talks held with his Italian Counterpart, Giulio de Tertisa Santagata, on Friday in the Turkish Capital of Istanbul.
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Noam Chomsky: The Iranian threat

The UN could establish a Nuclear-Free Middle East Zone with the help of the US that is busy securing oil supplies [EPA]
Over the past week various elements both in Washington DC and Tel Aviv have been promoting a renewed rhetoric of an Iranian threat. Back in July of this year, Professor Chomsky wrote the following commentary on the issue that resonates even louder today.
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Pakistan tells NATO to leave air base

Washington pledges support for a full investigation into alleged NATO attack that killed 25 Pakistani soldiers.

The Pakistani government has given the US fifteen days to vacate an airfield in Balochistan province after an alleged cross-border attack which killed 25 Pakistani soldiers.

The attack on a military checkpoint in northwest Pakistan also wounded at least a dozen soldiers.

A spokesman for the NATO-led alliance in Afghanistan confirmed on Saturday that it was "highly likely" the alliance's aircraft killed Pakistani soldiers.

Read more-Al Jazeera

Taliban paid £100 a month to stop fighting

Members of the Taliban who give up their fight are being paid £100 a month and will be allowed to keep their guns in a new initiative to end the insurgency.

Taliban who kill British troops can escape justice if they agree to stop fighting
Taliban joining the programme are not interrogated but instead are asked to complete a questionnaire explaining their reasons for joining the insurgency.

The “reintegration” programme, which has the full support of Nato, is intended to keep them from attacking troops from the International Stabilisation and Assistance Force (ISAF).

Those who have attacked and killed British forces are also effectively given an amnesty, which means they will never be put on trial.

The amnesty extends to all Taliban fighters, including those who have taken part in atrocities, such as murdering children, beheadings and hanging women.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Israel plans forced transfer of 27,000 Bedouin from East Jerusalem and Jordan Valley

Bedouin homes

Israel plans to uproot Bedouin communities from 60% of the West Bank and forcibly transfer them into controlled enclosures. If this is allowed to happen, 27,000 people will be evicted from their homes and land - they will be forced to live in ghettos, with no land on which to make a living. This cruel and shocking new development represents the acceleration of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Bedouin communities from the West Bank, since it illegally colonised the area in 1967, and they aim to complete this plan within the next 3 – 6 years.

The first phase of this racist, apartheid strategy is scheduled for January 2012, with the forced removal of Bedouin communities from the land around East Jerusalem into a camp/ghetto next to a landfill site by Abu Dis in East Jerusalem. Work on constructing the ghetto has already started.

The second phase will be the expulsion of Bedouin communities from the Jordan Valley into a separate ghetto – the Israeli Civil Military Administration has not yet openly declared where this will be, but it is thought that an area close to Jericho is being considered.

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Haaretz owner: Obama can’t stop settlers’ ‘apartheid regime’ because of ‘Jewish lobby’

"Amos Schocken, owner of Haaretz, writes in Israel (not here, no way) that the settler movement Gush Emunim is building an "apartheid regime" in Israel and Palestine and that it is supported by the "Jewish lobby" in the U.S. That lobby is "totally addicted" to settler policies; and this explains Obama's collapse.

In trying to understand Obama's reversal of his declaration in Cairo in 2009, Schocken does what Walter Russell Mead of the Council on Foreign Relations swears never to do; he ascribes political influence on the Democratic Party to American Jews. Mead would classify Schocken as an anti-semite for saying this."

Read more-Mondoweiss

BDS: Rage in Israel as French bank BNP Paribas pulls out

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Banks Supervisor David Zaken and their top officials believe the bank's board of directors caved to pressure groups, contrary to its claims.
This is the first case in years of a foreign bank leaving Israel. BNP Paribas has had operations in Israel since 2003. Most of its business here involved financing large projects that involve French companies.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tahrir Square

More images here

Norman Finkelstein: Reasoned rejection of one-state position

"A just one-state solution has not been proposed by anyone engaged in the one-state-two-state debate. I’m not sure anyone in recent memory, including Hamas, has proposed it. A just solution would essentially repair the injustice done by Zionism. This would require far more than a democratic ‘binational’ state in Palestine. It would require that the Jews who came as Zionists to Palestine leave, and with them their descendants. (This is not ethnic cleansing; the original Jewish population and their descendants would remain.) Beyond this, it would require that massive compensation, in the billions, be paid to Palestinians who lost their homes and livelihoods. This compensation would have to remedy not only dispossession, primarily a crime against property, but all the deaths and agonies the Palestinians have suffered because of the Zionist project. There would have to be criminal proceedings against thousands of Israelis who have committed human rights violations, and convictions would have to involve further compensatory payments. Israeli firms that profited from and/or supported the occupation would be subject to yet further punitive and compensatory damages."
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Study: Israeli-imposed bureaucracy and movement restrictions deter investment in West Bank companies

Study: Palestinians invest twice as much in Israel as they do in West Bank

Private Palestinian investment in Israel, as of 2010, amounted to $2.5 billion in a conservative estimate, and according to a more optimistic estimate this investment possibly even amounts to $5.8 billion. For purposes of comparison, private Palestinian investment within the West Bank, as of 2011, was only $1.5 billion.

This is the surprising conclusion reached by Issa Smeirat, who for his master's thesis in economics has done the first research of its kind into this phenomenon, its extent and its implications - issues that until now have not been discussed in the professional literature.

Read more-Haaretz

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Legitimacy of Violence as a Political Act? Noam Chomsky debates with Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, et al. December 15, 1967

ROBERT B. SILVERS: ... Under what conditions, if any, can violent action be said to be "legitimate"? ...

NOAM CHOMSKY: My general feeling is that this kind of question can't be answered in a meaningful way when it's abstracted from the context of particular historical concrete circumstances. Any rational person would agree that violence is not legitimate unless the consequences of such action are to eliminate a still greater evil. Now there are people of course who go much further and say that one must oppose violence in general, quite apart from any possible consequences. I think that such a person is asserting one of two things. Either he's saying that the resort to violence is illegitimate even if the consequences are to eliminate a greater evil; or he's saying that under no conceivable circumstances will the consequences ever be such as to eliminate a greater evil. The second of these is a factual assumption and it's almost certainly false. One can easily imagine and find circumstances in which violence does eliminate a greater evil. As to the first, it's a kind of irreducible moral judgment that one should not resort to violence even if it would eliminate a greater evil. And these judgments are very hard to argue. I can only say that to me it seems like an immoral judgment.

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Losing eyes, but not vision

<p>(L-R) Activist  Ahmed Harara, Almasry Alyoum Videojournalist  Ahmed Abdel Fatah, Activist Malek Mostafa were all shot in the eye by police during clashes between protesters and riot police in Tahrir Square, November 19,2011.</p>
Photographed by Rana Khazbak

Al Masry alYoum

On a hospital floor where three people risk losing sight in at least one eye, the injured and their loved ones projected a positive attitude as they celebrated the return of protesters in large numbers to Tahrir Square.

“How is Tahrir?” asked Ahmed Abdel Fattah, an Al-Masry Al-Youm video journalist who was struck in the eye by a rubber bullet as he awoke from anesthesia. He immediately struggled to open his intact eye to check Twitter for news from the square.

Abdel Fattah was shot Saturday while filming on the front lines of the battle on Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

He had an initial surgery to close the rip in the eye and is expecting to undergo another surgery later this week to remove the bullet that is still lodged in it.

“I am a videographer, my eye is my most precious asset,” Abdel Fattah said. “But we will never stop. This is our job, it’s what we know how to do best and we’ll keep doing it.”

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(Thanks Abu Zuhair)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Egyptian police forces target eyes

A consensus that further isolates a repressive Israel

The latest international condemnation of Israel will receive the usual denunciation, but it is becoming harder to deny. There is a growing international consensus that Israel is constructing a repressive system governing Palestinians that can be compared to apartheid South Africa. It is a mark of shame, and one that Israel has tried to reject.

The Swedish government yesterday announced that it had thrown its support behind a new book, Colonialism and Apartheid - the Israeli occupation in Palestine, by providing funds for the project as a humanitarian aid project. A joint Swedish-Palestinian collaboration, the book accuses Israel of practising a system of apartheid and calls for an international boycott - as South Africa was isolated before the apartheid regime collapsed.

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Egyptian elections in doubt after crackdown in Tahrir Square

Several candidates suspend campaigns after army attack on protesters leaves five dead and almost a thousand injured
Egypt clashes
Egyptian riot police charge at protesters during clashes in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Photograph: Ahmed Ali/AP

Egypt's revolution entered a dangerous phase of confrontation on Sunday after the army attacked thousands of anti-junta protesters in Cairo, putting the viability of imminent parliamentary elections in serious doubt.

Several political parties and individual candidates said they were suspending their electoral campaigns after a weekend in which at least five people were killed and almost a thousand injured in some of the fiercest clashes seen since the heady days of February when Hosni Mubarak was ejected from power.

Read more- The Guardian

Saturday, November 19, 2011

South African Reverend Allan Boesak: Israeli apartheid “more terrifying” than South Africa ever was

Allan Boesak: It is worse, not in the sense that apartheid was not an absolutely terrifying system in South Africa, but in the ways in which the Israelis have taken the apartheid system and perfected it, so to speak; sharpened it. For instance, we had the Bantustans and we had the Group Areas Act and we had the separate schools and all of that but I don’t think it ever even entered the mind of any apartheid planner to design a town in such a way that there is a physical wall that separates people and that that wall denotes your freedom of movement, your freedom of economic gain, of employment, and at the same time is a tool of intimidation and dehumanisation. We carried passes as the Palestinians have their ID documents but that did not mean that we could not go from one place in the city to another place in the city. The judicial system was absolutely skewed of course, all the judges in their judgements sought to protect white privilege and power and so forth, and we had a series of what they called “hanging judges” in those days, but they did not go far as to openly, blatantly have two separate justice systems as they do for Palestinians [who are tried in Israeli military courts] and Israelis [who are tried in civil, not military courts]. So in many ways the Israeli system is worse.
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Ok, ok, they could have been shot at in Syria, but...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kissinger: ‘Is there a more self-serving group of people than the Jewish community?’

by Adam Horowitz on November 18, 2011
Henry Kissinger and Golda Meir. (Photo: Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

It seems the Israel lobby has not always been held in such high esteem within the White House. The AP reports on newly released documents regarding lobbying in the early 1970s on the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union:

A White House official, Leonard Garment, saying he was flooded with letters and phone calls with Jewish appeals, asked Kissinger for help and guidance. The late Alexander Haig, Nixon's national security adviser, sent him Mrs. Meir's letter and said "We will have to consider the best means by which to proceed."

According to transcripts released by the State Department, Kissinger, who was Haig's deputy, said to Garment: "Is there a more self-serving group of people than the Jewish community?" Kissinger is Jewish.

Garment, also Jewish, replied: "None in the world."

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Egypt, Syria, and the dynamics of counter-revolution

by Max Ajl-Mondoweiss, on November 18, 2011

As elections near in Egypt, the American-Gulf-Israeli counter-revolution gathers strength across the Mediterranean and the Middle East: overwhelming Libya, threatening to beat back the Bahraini upsurge, and vying for power in Egypt, as right wing parties prepare to take power in the face of the irrepressible and amazingly effervescent spirit of struggle that keeps erupting between the cracks in the Egyptian “transition” – a transition increasingly lubricated with the blood of the Egyptian people.

There has been a lot of it over the last month. On 9 October 2011 the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) murdered 28 civilians, killing Copts and Muslims alike in a state-orchestrated massacre intended to “manufacture a discourse of conspiracy and sectarianism,” and split the Egyptian working-class along religious lines. The SCAF is learning well from its backers, the American and Israeli governments that are attempting to shatter the region into a jagged mosaic of statelets over which Israel and the Saudi-centered Gulf Cooperation Council can rule unhindered, the Eastern and Western islands of “stability” in a chaos they themselves brought into being.

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Arabs have historically revolted every decade against rulers and the west has counter-revolted most attempts.

Arab revolts - past and present

Arafats Road to Olslo began in the 1970s with the large scale funding pouring in from the Gulf countries [EPA]
New York, New York - The current popular challenges to the Western-sponsored Arab dictatorships are hardly a new occurrence in modern Arab history. We have seen such uprisings against European colonialism in the region since its advent in Algeria in 1830 and in Egypt in 1882. Revolts in Syria in the 1920s against French rule and especially in Palestine from 1936 to 1939 against British colonial rule and Zionist settler-colonialism were massive by global standards. Indeed the Palestinian Revolt would inspire others in the colonised world and would remain an inspiration to Arabs for the rest of the century and beyond. Anti-colonial resistance which also opposed the colonially-installed Arab regimes continued in Jordan, in Egypt, in Bahrain, Iraq, North and South Yemen, Oman, Morocco, and Sudan. The massive anti-colonial revolt in Algeria would finally bring about independence in 1962 from French settler colonialism. The liberation of Algeria meant that one of the two European settler-colonies in the Arab world was down, and only one remained: Palestine. On the territorial colonial front, much of the Arabian Gulf remained occupied by the British until the 1960s and early 1970s, and awaited liberation.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Robert Fisk: Why the Middle East will never be the same again

The Palestinians won't achieve statehood, but they will consign the 'peace process' to history.
Personally, I think "Palestine" is a fantasy state, impossible to create now that the Israelis have stolen so much of the Arabs' land for their colonial projects. Go take a look at the West Bank, if you don't believe me. Israel's massive Jewish colonies, its pernicious building restrictions on Palestinian homes of more than one storey and its closure even of sewage systems as punishment, the "cordons sanitaires" beside the Jordanian frontier, the Israeli-only settlers' roads have turned the map of the West Bank into the smashed windscreen of a crashed car. Sometimes, I suspect that the only thing that prevents the existence of "Greater Israel" is the obstinacy of those pesky Palestinians.
Read more

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ADL in panic about Palestine solidarity at Occupy Wall Street

ADL promotes conspiracy theories to undermine support for Palestine at Occupy Wall Street

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the influential pro-Israel lobby group headed by Abraham Foxman, is in a panic about support for Palestinian rights at Occupy Wall Street protests across the United States.

Seeking to delegitimize US popular solidarity with Palestinians suffering under US-financed Israeli occupation, apartheid and brutal violence, the ADL charged in a release on its website that, “Anti-Israel Groups Attempt to Co-Opt Occupy Wall Street Message.”

Read more

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy and anarchism's gift of democracy

The US imagines itself a great democracy, yet most Americans despise its politics. Which is why direct democracy inspires them
Occupy Wall Street protesters regroup after eviction
Occupy Wall Street protesters regroup after eviction by riot police from Liberty Plaza on 15 November 2011.

As the history of past movements all make clear, nothing terrifies those running America more than the danger of true democracy breaking out. As we see in Chicago, Portland, Oakland, and right now in New York City, the immediate response to even a modest spark of democratically organised civil disobedience is a panicked combination of concessions and brutality. Our rulers, anyway, seem to labor under a lingering fear that if any significant number of Americans do find out what anarchism really is, they may well decide that rulers of any sort are unnecessary.

Read more- The Guardian

Bedouin oppose Israeli plans to relocate communities

Wide shot of Bedouin camp near Maale Adumim
Many Bedouin fled to the West Bank from the Negev after the creation of the Israeli state in 1948

Bedouin in the occupied West Bank and in Israel's Negev desert say they fear for their future as new reports circulate that the Israeli authorities plan to relocate them. International aid and Bedouin groups say tens of thousands of people could ultimately be affected.

Bedouin to the east of Jerusalem expect attempts will soon be made to move them against their will. They live in an area that is controlled by Israel's Civil Administration, part of the Defence Ministry that governs the West Bank.

Read more

Five Republican congressmen take Christian Zionist solidarity tour of settlements

Left to right, Avi Zimmeman - Ariel, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), Tony Perkins - President - Family Research Council, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA-4th), Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th), Rabbi Eliezer Melamed - Har Bracha, David Ha'ivri -Shomron Liaison, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th) (Photo: Heather Meyers)
From the Arutz Sheva , (the mouth piece of the fascistic settler movement) article "Congressmen with 'Judeo-Christian Spirit' Tour Heartland":

Read more

Separate Is Not Equal: Standing in solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Riders


The above image is part of a protest Jewish Voice for Peace is planning tomorrow in solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Rides. The artist, Ethan Heitner, explains in a post on the Just Seeds Artists Cooperative website how the images fit into the protest:

Read more

Hollywood actors, producers and executives taken for a ride to Israel by AIPAC

Twenty-one high-profile Hollywood actors, producers and film and television industry leaders are taking part in a delegation to Israel organized by The Creative Coalition (TCC), a New York-based arts and education non-profit, in conjunction with the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), which is affiliated with AIPAC, the US’ most powerful pro-Israel lobby group.

In a press release dated 13 November, TCC announced that the delegates will travel “through Israel to meet with Israeli and Palestinian policy leaders, members of the arts, culture and business communities, and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).”

Read more

WATCH LIVE: Police evict ‘Occupy Wall Street’ camp

Hundreds of police have surrounded the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration in New York City’s Zuccotti’s Park and have begun evicting the protesters from the park.
Watch here

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hottest Potato: British diplomat reveals cover-up on Israel Lobby's targeting of Iran

Craig MurrayTaking on the Zionist lobby head-on is well nigh impossible.

I have written a stunning piece on Werritty, Israel and a neo-con plot to attack Iran. It contains information not published anywhere, even here. I have circulated it to several national newspapers, for each of which I have written many times. I have never had a piece refused before.

Several national papers have checked out my story factually and nobody has found a single hole in it. But nobody will publish it. I reproduce below every email I have received from any of these papers in reply. They show what a hot potato a serious anti-Zionist is – and I strongly suspect that the repeated inability of editors to make decisions which emerges from these emails shows they need on this subject to consult their proprietors.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unreported World - Syria undercover -Ch 4 - مترجم للعربية

Channel 4 report.
Nov. 8, reporter Ramita Navai goes undercover for a rare look at the uprising from inside Syria.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Karl Marx's guide to the end of capitalism: a primer

Karl Marx
Karl Marx (1818-1883), author of Das Kapital. Photo: Bettman/Corbis

Sales of Marx's Capital are reportedly soaring as the world realises that this was where he prophesied how capitalism will destroy itself. So it's time for a Capital primer, time to talk fetishism (yay!) of commodities (d'oh!).

Read more

Friday, November 11, 2011

An All-American Nightmare: This Is What Defeat Looks Like

Tom Engelhardt ( TomDispatch )

"Bush’s American Dream was a kind of apotheosis of this country’s global power as well as its crowning catastrophe, thanks to a crew of mad visionaries who mistook military might for global strength and acted accordingly. What they and their neocon allies had was the magic formula for turning the slow landing of a declining but still immensely powerful imperial state into a self-inflicted rout, even if who the victors are is less than clear.

Despite our panoply of bases around the world, despite an arsenal of weaponry beyond anything ever seen (and with more on its way), despite a national security budget the size of the Ritz, it’s not too early to start etching something appropriately sepulchral onto the gravestone that will someday stand over the pretensions of the leaders of this country when they thought that they might truly rule the world."
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Netanyahu orders expediting settlement building in Jerusalem

The Israeli occupation Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the expediting of settlement building in occupied Jerusalem after the Israeli High Court ruled to dismantle some settlement outposts in the West Bank, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday. The paper said that Likud party members criticised Netanyahu, during a party meeting, because of a high court decision ordering the dismantlement of a number of settlement outposts in the West Bank. In his reply to them he said that he ordered expediting settlement expansion in Jerusalem, Maleh Adumim and some West Bank settlement.
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Father of 5 run over and killed by settler. This is how settlers routinely commit murder

This afternoon, 45 year old Abdullah Mutaled Al-Mashni, father of 5, was run over and killed by an illegal settler. Whilst returning from collecting his olives, Abdullah was last seen riding his donkey back towards his village of Deir Istia – 7km northwest of Salfit. Soon after the killing, Israeli Occupation Forces arrived to shield the scene from photographers and journalists gathered to report on the crime. It is believed the settler was a resident in the nearby illegal colony of Revava – established on occupied Palestinian land in 1991.
Read more

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Palestinian 'freedom riders' to board Israeli buses in occupied West Bank, inspired by the American civil rights movement.

A Palestinian boy waits with his mother, not seen, alongside with workers as
they try to cross an Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank city of
Bethlehem, on August 24, 2010. (MaanImages/Luay Sababa)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian activists will attempt to board Israeli buses in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday in an action inspired by the American civil rights movement.

"Palestinian activists will reenact the US Civil Rights Movement's Freedom Rides to the American South by boarding segregated Israeli public transportation in the West Bank to travel to occupied East Jerusalem," organizers said in a statement.
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Israeli judge tells two Canadian activists from Freedom Waves that in order to avoid being held in prison for 2 months without charges or trial, they must sign a statement that they entered Israel 'voluntarily' and 'illegally'
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Udi Aloni to judge Goldstone: Don't tell me Israeli apartheid doesn't exist. My father implemented agrarian apartheid policies long before 1967

Judge Goldstone’s offensive apology for apartheid
Richard Goldstone on Israel and apartheid

Richard Goldstone on Israel and apartheid

I write as an Israeli Jew who was brought up and molded at the very center of secular, Zionist Israel. My parents, Reuven and Shulamit Aloni, exemplify everything that is good and just about Israel for humanistic Jews like Judge Richard Goldstone, the noted South African jurist, who in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, denied the practice of apartheid in Israel.

My mother founded the Civil Rights Movement in Israel, was a member of the Knesset and a Minister of Education in Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s cabinet. She fought for equal rights for women, gays and lesbians, and, of course, Palestinian Arabs too. My father helped create the Israel Land Administration and managed all government lands.

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Speaking of that...

Netanyahu admitted lying before

Mazin Qumsiyeh
I do not know why people are surprised at what Sarkozy and Obama said to each other in private about Netanyahu as a liar. This is after all the same Netanyahu who gave a speech to dozens of Likud Party members in Eilat in which he admitted this is his strategy. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (15 July 2001): " his audience a bit of advice on how to deal with foreign interviewers (Netanyahu said): 'Always, irrespective of whether you're right or not, you must always present your side as right.'" So Netanyahu admits lying and Sarkozy and Obama merely agreed with Netenyahu and most of the Israeli public that the current Israeli prime minister is a liar. And here is Netanyahyu, thinking cameras are off, bragging about how easy it is to manipulate the US and go around the Oslo commitments: (make sure to click CC for English subtitle.)
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sarkozy and Obama's Netanyahu gaffe broadcast via microphones

French president called Israeli PM a liar in exchange with US president inadvertently shared with journalists
French president Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly said he could not stand Binyamin Netanyahu
The French president Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly said he could not stand Binyamin Netanyahu.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, described the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, as a "liar" in a private exchange with Barack Obama at last week's G20 summit in Cannes that was inadvertently broadcast to journalists.

"I cannot stand him. He's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama. The US president responded by saying: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."

Neither leader apparently realised that microphones that had been attached for a press conference had already been switched on, allowing journalists waiting for a press conference to hear the conversation.

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Gideon Levy: Insanity, not logic guides Israel's leadership

The mens' men who are threatening Iran now are the real cowards' cowards. The brave ones are in fact those who are trying to thwart the insanity, from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
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Farmers arrested for working on their land near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 7 Nov -- A farmer, his wife and her sister were arrested Monday for working on their land in the village of Irtas, near Bethlehem, according to local activists.They said Jamal Assad, 58, was working on his land, which is located near the Israeli settlement of Daniel, when a known extremist settler brought police claiming Assad was trespassing on her land and had cut down trees. Assad denied the claims saying he has papers to prove ownership of the land claimed by the settler. He said the settlers had cut down 80 olive trees and set fire to his house in order to force him to leave this land
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J'lem construction in next decades -- mostly on occupied territory

By Noam Sheizaf -- This is not a Peace Now report, but an official document of the Jerusalem Municipality: According to a survey conducted at the request of the mayor’s office, 60,718 new housing units are slated for construction in Jerusalem in the next decades. Of those, 52,363 of them will be built east of the Green Line, in the territory annexed to Israel after the Six-Day War.
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Russell tribunal on Palestine finds Israel guilty of the crimes of apartheid and persecution

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine and its eminent panel of jurists has determined that Israel's practices against the Palestinian people are in breach of the prohibition of apartheid under international law. Following two intense days in Cape Town listening to testimony from expert witnesses, the Tribunal concluded unanimously that "Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law." The jury reached this conclusion having paid particular attention to the legal definition of apartheid and ensuring that each of the defining criteria was met.
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Palestinians to challenge segregation by riding settler buses to Jerusalem

Palestinian Freedom Riders to Challenge Segregation By Riding Settler Buses to Jerusalem - Palestinian activists will reenact the US Civil Rights Movement's Freedom Rides to the American South by boarding segregated Israeli public transportation in the West Bank to travel to occupied East Jerusalem.
When: Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Meeting point: the Ramallah Cultural Palace at 1:00 PM
Media contact: 054-632-7736
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Monday, November 7, 2011

We are sailing! More in store and nothing will stop them

Gaza flotilla activists planning series of aid ships over coming months
In light of the previous flotilla's failure earlier this year, organizers have been operating quietly in an effort to avoid bureaucratic delays and Israeli efforts to stop the operation, says Huwaida Arraf.

An open letter from Anonymous to the Government of Israel

"Your actions are illegal, against democracy, human rights, international, and maritime laws. Justifying war, murder, illegal interception, and pirate-like activities under an illegal cover of defense will not go unnoticed by us or the people of the world.

We do not tolerate this kind of repeated offensive behavior against unarmed civilians. We along with 127 countries recognize Palestine as a state for people of Palestine and such acts by you and your military are acts of war against another sovereign nation.

If you continue blocking humanitarian vessels to Gaza or repeat the dreadful actions of May 31st, 2010 against any Gaza Freedom Flotillas then you will leave us no choice but to strike back. Again and again, until you stop."

As they threatened, hackers group Anonymous strikes at Israeli gov't's websites

Israel government, security services websites down in suspected cyber-attack

Attack follows threat by hacking group Anonymous in response to interception of Gaza flotilla; websites of IDF, Mossad and government ministries among crashed websites.

Several Israeli government websites crashed on Sunday in what appeared to be a cyber-attack by hackers. The websites of the IDF, Mossad and the Shin Bet security services were among the sites that went down, as well as several government portals and ministries.

The apparent attack comes after the international cabal of hackers known as Anonymous threatened a cyber-attack on the Israeli government’s computers in response to its interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla on Friday.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Macy Gray remorseful over her gig in Israel

"i had a reality check and I stated that I definitely would not have played there if I had known even the little that I know now."

Desmund Tutu: The suffering inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people shows that it has forgotten the Jewish scriptures

Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The suffering inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people shows that it has forgotten the Jewish scriptures, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Saturday.

"They have forgotten their own history. They have forgotten what their own prophets have said about our God," Tutu said in his opening address to the International Russell Tribunal on Palestine.

"We worship a God that is naturally biased in favour of the suffering, the underdog, those who are suffering underfoot... God is always on the side of the oppressed. In the Holy Land, the Palestinian people are the ones suffering."

Tutu said it pained him that a people who went through great suffering could in turn cause others to suffer.

"There is a great deal of preventable suffering being caused by people who themselves suffered so deeply... who have gone through a crucible of suffering.

"Those of us who are Christian have been influenced very greatly by what one might call the Jewish scriptures. The biased God of the past is the biased God of the present... and if God is to be God, watch out," he added.

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Chinese economic miracle fuels surge in carbon emissions: China overtakes US to become world's biggest pollu

Chinese economic miracle fuels surge in carbon emissions
Greenhouse gas output hits record high as China overtakes US to become world's biggest polluter
Soaring carbon dioxide emissions from China and the US have driven the world's output of greenhouse gases to its highest level, alarming new figures reveal.
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One day, dinner with a 16-year old Pakistani kid at event to explain US drone policy. Next day, kid killed by drone strike.

For Our Allies, Death From Above
LAST Friday, I took part in an unusual meeting in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
The meeting had been organized so that Pashtun tribal elders who lived along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier could meet with Westerners for the first time to offer their perspectives on the shadowy drone war being waged by the Central Intelligence Agency in their region. Twenty men came to air their views; some brought their young sons along to experience this rare interaction with Americans. In all, 60 villagers made the journey.

The meeting was organized as a traditional jirga. In Pashtun culture, a jirga acts as both a parliament and a courtroom: it is the time-honored way in which Pashtuns have tried to establish rules and settle differences amicably with those who they feel have wronged them.

On the night before the meeting, we had a dinner, to break the ice. During the meal, I met a boy named Tariq Aziz. He was 16. As we ate, the stern, bearded faces all around me slowly melted into smiles. Tariq smiled much sooner; he was too young to boast much facial hair, and too young to have learned to hate.

Read more-The New York Times

Tunisia’s Islamist-led government rejects laws to enforce religion

Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, smiles as he meets supporters in Tunis. (Reuters)

Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, smiles as he meets supporters in Tunis.

Tunisia’s Islamist-led government will focus on democracy, human rights and a free-market economy in planned changes to the constitution, effectively leaving religion out of the text it will draw up, party leaders said.

The government, due to be announced next week, will not introduce sharia or other Islamic concepts to alter the secular nature of the constitution in force when Tunisia’s Arab Spring revolution ousted autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January.

“We are against trying to impose a particular way of life,” Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi, 70, a lifelong Islamist activist jailed and exiled under previous regimes, told Reuters.
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Freedom Wave riders beaten, denied access to family; organizers demand accountability

Freedom Waves to Gaza organizers have not yet had any direct communication with the delegates from the ships Tahrir and Saoirse. Organizers are demanding that Israel immediately free the remaining people they have kidnapped and are illegally detaining; that they be able to speak with their families; that they receive immediate medical attention for all injuries inflicted by the Israeli military and that they are not harmed further.

“We have heard indirectly from our governments' ministries of foreign affairs (in Canada and Ireland), but that is simply not good enough. We want to speak with our people directly,” says Wendy Goldsmith, organizer with the Canadian Boat to Gaza. “Why will our governments not demand the delegates be able to speak to their families? We do not trust the Canadian government on this - as they have shown time and time again that they are complicit in Israel's violations of international law and gross human rights abuses.”

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Canadian boat to Gaza: I write to you from cell 9 of the Apartheid State of Israel

Dear sisters and brothers, friends and loved ones,

I write to you from cell 9, block 59 Givon Prison near Ramla in Occupied Palestine. Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok. We, Ehab, Michael, Karen from Tahrir, as well as Karen, Kit (US) and Jihan who we saw briefly this morning. We are most concerned about our Tahrir shipmate, Palestinian Majd Kayyal from Haifa, last seen by us at Ashdod being photographed and put in a police car.*

Although Michael and I (among others) were transported in handcuffs and leg shackles, let me stress that we are neither criminals nor illegal immigrants but rather political prisoners of the apartheid state of Israel. Four from the Tahrir are imprisoned with 12 Irish comrades from the Saoirse, who have more experience with such issues. The four of us, Ehab and I (Cdn), Michael (Aus) and Hassan (UK) have joined with the Irish in their political prisoners' committee in order to press our collective demands:
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The End of Egypt's Revolution, or the Start of Its Second?

Three weeks ago, peaceful Christian protesters were killed in what appeared to be an orchestrated attack by the state. But, whatever actually happened, many here believe it was the event that either closed the ill-fated Egyptian revolution or began its second chapter.
Mina's mother.JPG
CAIRO, Egypt -- Mina Daniel's mother slumped over his coffin, sobbing
and imprecating him one final time.
"We were supposed to be going to your wedding," she keened,
slapping her face and thighs in grief. Before he was killed, her son had
assured her he would fine. "Don't be afraid of the shooting, they are
just trying to scare us," he told her.
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Ex Mossad chief: 'Iran far from posing existential threat'

Ex-Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy warns strike on Iran could have devastating effect for region. 'Ultra-Orthodox radicalization poses bigger threat than Ahmadinejad,' he says
"An attack on Iran could affect not only Israel, but the entire region for 100 years."

Former Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy warned against an Israeli strike on Iran, saying that the results of a confrontation could be devastating for the Mideast.

The growing haredi radicalization poses a bigger risk than Ahmadinejad," Halevy said, adding that "the ultra-Orthodox extremism has darkened our lives."
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Mounting fears over Egyptian Army's 'counter-revolution'

Anti-SCAF poster at a protest in Tahrir Square on 28 October 2011. Photo by FLickr user Lokha.
Anti-SCAF poster at a protest in Tahrir Square on 28 October 2011.

Even as official campaigning for the November 28 national elections began, the talk of the town here in Cairo has been the controversial framework put forward by the government to guide the drafting of the new constitution. The proposal to give the military a dominant role has provoked an intense outcry across the political spectrum.

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Nurit Peled-Elhanan: ‘Apartheid in Israel and Palestine …. is enabled by the most profound racism’

On the eve of the upcoming Russel Tribunal in Cape Town, dedicated to the apartheid imposed on Palestinians, one of the initiators Nurit Peled-Elhanan (a woman I admire for not ever mincing her words) reports on how racist laws imprison a nation:

"Palestinian blood is dispensable with impunity in Israel and in the occupied territories. Palestinian every day existence is impossible. Cruelty, humiliation, starvation, torture and death define their relationships with their masters, their occupiers, and their governors.

The question that has been bothering me for a long time is how do Israeli citizens, including the children who at the age of 18 join the torture machine – the IDF – cope with such a discrepancy between the values they are raised on and the practices of oppression against their neighbours?

The answer to this question lies in education. Because apartheid is not only a bunch of racist laws, it is a state of mind, fashioned by education.

Israeli children are educated from a very tender age to see “Arab” citizens and “Arabs” in general as a problem that must be solved, eliminated in one way or another."

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"Tahrir" sailing to Gaza. Live map tracking

Follow it on the map here.
Electronic Intifada

Islamists on probation

The Western reaction to Tunisian elections has been a wary gulp
Ramzi Baroud
Following Tunisia's first fair and free elections on 27 October, the Western media responded with a characteristic sense of fear and alarm. For many, it seemed that the ghost of the Islamic menace was back to haunt Western Values throughout the Arab world. The narrative employed by media outlets was no more than cleverly disguised Islamophobia, masquerading as genuine concern for democracy and the welfare of women and minority groups.

The victory of the Al-Nahda (Renaissance) Party was all but predictable. Official results showed that the party won more than 41 per cent of the vote, providing it with 90 seats in the 217-member new Constituent Assembly, or parliament.

To quell fears of Islamic resurgence, leading party members seemed to direct their message to outsiders (the US and Western powers), rather than the Tunisian people themselves. Al-Nahda Secretary General Hamadi Jebali, slated to be the next prime minister, laboured to "reassure secularists and investors, nervous about the prospect of Islamists holding power in one of the Arab world's most liberal countries, by saying it would not stop tourists wearing bikinis on the beaches nor impose Islamic banking".

Read more-Al-Ahram

Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Open Letter to the Governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain

"The question is: what will you Gulf Cooperation Council champions of the Palestinian cause do in response?

The US, acting on reflexive legislation passed in the 1990s has frozen payment of US$60 million to UNESCO for the month of November. Close to US$70 million, or 22% of UNESCO’s annual budget comes from the US. The US will remain in UNESCO, but without paying its dues – a stance it can only maintain for two years before it must resume payments or leave UNESCO entirely.

If Congressional Republicans have their way, when that two-year deadline comes, the US will be out of UNESCO. Few in Congress today would shed any tears over that.

They would also shed few tears over the withdrawal of the US from other UN organizations such as UNICEF or the World Health Organization. Foreign aid – excluding defense spending – is on the Beltway chopping block for the foreseeable future. The US might stick it out with commercially-oriented bodies in the UN such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, or security-related ones like the IAEA (though there are many in the US who wish to wipe their hands of the latter)."

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Defunding UNESCO for the 1 percent

Putting Israeli interests ahead of American interests begins to backfire. We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the 1 percent — the rich, the powerful, the ones who buy off our government, impose their wars, avoid paying their taxes, you know the ones. The 99 percent — the rest of us – are the ones who pay the price.
Read More-Salon.comLink

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ethnic cleansing: Four-thousand Acres in al-Negev under Siege by Settlers

After the displacement of almost 30,000 Arabs from their unrecognized villages in the Negev, many facts are coming out of the lands that they are being given to special Jewish farms which have spread in al-Negev. These facts were revealed after the Israeli farmer “Shai Dromi” put a siege around 4,000 acres which related to “his farm”.

Israeli NGO, ICAHD: Displacement of Palestinians 'a war crime'

ICAHD says it is virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in occupied East Jerusalem

Israel is forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem as part of a deliberate policy that might constitute a war crime, a prominent Israeli non-governmental organisation said, a charge rejected by Jerusalem's mayor.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) has presented the United Nations with its findings on Monday and demanded an inquiry, saying Israel targeted Palestinians by demolishing homes, revoking residency and eroding quality of life.

"We are witnessing a process of ethnic displacement," said Michael Sfard, a lawyer who helped draw up a 73-page report into the issue. "Israel is manifestly and seriously violating international law ... and the motivation is demographic."

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Obama will rue his lack of principle on Palestine's Unesco membership

In pulling out of Unesco, Obama gives the right a boost and abandons all pretensions of being an honest peace broker
General Conference admits Palestine as UNESCO member state
Palestine is voted as a new Unesco member state.

The cheers that rang across the hall of the Unesco meeting when Palestine became a member on Monday are being echoed in surprising quarters.

The Obama administration has perversely given a big boost to the Republican right's antipathy to the UN and all it stands for. Ironically, it was George W Bush who brought the United States back into Unesco 20 years after Reagan withdrew. Equally ironically, driving the engine in this diplomatic train wreck was Barack Obama, whose speeches in Turkey and Egypt during the early months of his presidency had deceptively signalled a new opening to the Muslim world.

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Israel's reaction to UNESCO admission of Palestine: Building more settlement as a "punishment"

Israel 'punishes' Palestinians over UNESCO

JERUSALEM — Palestinian leaders reacted angrily after Israel said it would build 2,000 settler homes and freeze the transfer of Palestinian tax funds to punish them for joining UNESCO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner cabinet decided on Tuesday to speed up construction in east Jerusalem and in nearby settlements, a day after UNESCO's general assembly voted Palestine in as a full member.

"These measures were agreed... as punishment after the vote at UNESCO," a senior government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We will build 2,000 housing units, including 1,650 homes in east Jerusalem and the rest in the settlements of Maaleh Adumim and Efrat," he added, referring to a sprawling settlement east of Jerusalem and another between Bethlehem and the southern city of Hebron.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Juan Cole: UNESCO Palestine Vote Isolates US Further

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized Palestine as a full member on Monday setting off a crisis between the United States and the United Nations that seems likely to further isolate Washington in the world and reduce its influence.

The UNESCO vote could start an avalanche of such acceptances among various UN bodies. Although Palestine is unlikely now to get a majority next month at the UN Security Council, there is always next year. And the admission of Palestine by large numbers of UNO organizations might anyway have a similar effect to a UNSC majority vote.

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