Israel’s Red Line: Real Democracy By Jonathan Cook

14 May, 2010 — Global ResearchThe National

Shin Bet arrests leader of boycott movement

Nazareth — The recent arrest of two respected public figures from Israel’s Palestinian Arab minority in night-time raids on their homes by the Shin Bet secret police — brought to light this week when a gag order was partially lifted — has sent shock waves through the community.

The arrests are not the first of their kind. The Shin Bet has been hounding and imprisoning politicians and intellectuals from the country’s Palestinian minority, a fifth of the population, since the birth of the Jewish state more than six decades ago. Currently, two MPs from Arab political parties, as well as the leader of the popular Islamic Movement, are facing trials.

But the detention of Amir Makhoul and Omar Sayid is seen differently — as the gathering storm clouds in a political climate already fiercely hostile to its Palestinian citizens.

Mohammed Zeidan, the head of the Human Rights Association in Nazareth, said: “We are used to our political leaders being persecuted but now the Shin Bet is turning its sights on the leaders of Palestinian civil society in Israel, and that’s a dangerous development.”
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Palestinian Teenager Shot, Apparently By Settler

15 May, 2010 — From the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

Aysar Yasser a-Zaben, 16 years old, was shot in his back yesterday evening in his family’s lands in Mazra’a al-Sharqiya, east of Ramallah, apparently by a settler.

Aysar al-Zaben’s body was found in his plot by family members only hours after he was shot. He was found lying dead on the ground, face down, with a bullet hole in his back after being missing since the evening.

According to initial information, al-Zaben was shot by a settler when tending in his lands between 4:30 and 6:00 pm. At the time, a group of youth from the village scuffled with a settler near the adjacent Route 60. According to the testimonies of some of these youth, they were throwing stones towards Route 60, near a roadblock preventing Palestinian access to the road. At some point, a settler stopped his car and exited it, beginning to shoot live ammunition towards them, which caused them to run away back to the village. Escaping the shots, they were not aware that al-Zaben, who wasn’t with them and did not participate in the stone throwing, was hit.

As hours passed and al-Zaben did not return home, his family began looking for him. Having heard the shots earlier in the day, they began calling the Israeli Army, police and Civil Administration trying to locate him, thinking he may have been detained. Eventually, they set out to look for him in their fields, where they knew he had worked in the afternoon. According to his uncle, his lifeless body was found lying face down on the ground with a bullet hole in his back.

Protest calling to open road blocks in Mazra’a Al Sharqiya, October 2008

Mazra’a al-Sharqiya is an agrarian village of about 5,000, located 15 kilometers Northeast of Ramallah. Despite the village’s location next to Route 60, which runs across the West Bank from north to south and was, in part, built on the Mazra’a’s lands, residents have no access to the road, as all the paths leading to and from it have been blocked by Israel.

After being disconnected from Route 60 in recent years, the only road from the area’s villages to Ramallah is a dangerous old agrarian road, which due to the mountainous terrain is often flooded in winters, completely disconnecting the region from the rest of the world.

Last Tuesday, a group of settlers from a nearby settlement have amassed in the Mazra’a al-Sharqiya’s lands and attempted to enter the village after the Israeli government announced it will demolish illegal houses in a number of West Bank Jewish-only settlements. Residents, who suspected the settlers intend on holding a “price-tag” action in the village, confronted them, and managed to ward off the invasion.

They were then attacked by a force of soldiers who shot dozens of rounds of live ammunition and eventually also invaded the village.

First Ship Sets Sail for Gaza: Israel’s Intimidation Tactics Won’t Stop Us

14 May 2010 — Free Gaza Movement

MV-Rachel-Corrie.jpgAt 22:45 local time tonight, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, part of the eight-vessel Freedom Flotilla, set sail from Ireland on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. There, ships from Turkey and Greece will join her, then sail to Gaza.

This past week reports from Israel have indicated that the Israeli authorities will not allow the Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo of much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies. According to Israeli news sources, clear orders have been issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military violence.

The Free Gaza Movement, which has launched eight other sea missions to Gaza, confirms that Israel has tried these kinds of threats and intimidation tactics before in order to try to stop the missions before they start. “They have not deterred us before and will not deter us now,” said one of the organizers.

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World-class speakers to attend the Summer University of Palestine!

15 May, 2010 — Viva Palestine

On the 25th July the first session of the annual ‘Summer University of Palestine’ is due to begin in Lebanon.

This event is organised by the registered Lebanese charity Viva Palestine Arabia and will focus on Palestine. The week long intensive course will cover ‘Past, Present and Future Palestine’ on the history, geography and politics of the region.

A-list renowned world-class speakers such as: George Galloway, Ghada Karmi, Abdul Rahim Mourad, Dr Ali Fayad, Ziad Hafez, Reem Nimer, Vangelis Pissias, Dr Daud Abdullah, Ma’un Bashour, Yvonne Ridley, Ramzy Baroud, Gabi Baramki, and Dr Azzam Tamimi amongst other leading speakers will be there! Will you?!

In addition to this residential educational event there will be visits to Palestinian refugee camps and we will also take you to view Baalbek, city of the sun and Fatima’s gate.

This unforgettable experience is priced at $850 USD for 7 days/6 nights. This includes accommodation at the magnificent Lebanese International University, transfers, excursions, a full university syllabus and meals on the campus. You will also receive the official Viva Palestine Arabia T-shirt designed by Philosophy Football.

Spaces are limited! Register here to secure your place – Help us raise awareness of the siege of Gaza and also buy humanitarian aid to rebuild lives. Make a donation here:

Alice in Videoland By William Bowles

15 May, 2010 — Strategic Culture Foundation

“The fantasy of the faraway place, the fantasy of the skin, the fantasy of being somebody else” — John Berger, ‘Ways of Seeing’

Sometimes, and not often enough, insights, understandings and new ideas just pop into your mind, unbidden. How? I have no idea but as the brain apparently operates somewhere on the quantum level, figuring out how it happens I suspect is and always will be impossible. And somehow, watching television interferes with this process, specifically the bit (or is it bits?) of the brain that can distinguish between fantasy and reality.

So anyway I’m watching TV, flicking through the channels and come across yet another ‘reality’ show (if ever there’s case for misleading labeling this is it). This time it’s yet another refreeze of the courageous ‘entrepreneur’ genre called ‘High Street Dreams’ (BBC1, 10 May, 2010). Two families fight it out to launch their ‘brand’ on the High Street, that is to say in two giant shopping centres. One family is trying to launch a prepackaged burger called I think Muddy Feet or maybe that was the ‘brand’. The other, the name escapes me, chili sauces. So much for the power of branding.

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