VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 1 July, 2011: Greek cabinet votes to stop Flotilla as US Boat to Gaza forced back to port

1 July , 2011 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Freedom Flotilla activists: “Gaza blockade has been extended to Greece”
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 21:32, With the US boat escorted by military commandos back to a Greek port, the Canadian boat boarded by Greek police, and two other Flotilla boats sabotaged by unknown professional divers, peace activists with the humanitarian aid ‘Freedom Flotilla’ aimed at breaking the siege on Gaza claim that the siege has now been extended to Greek shores.

Greek cabinet votes to stop Flotilla as US Boat to Gaza forced back to port
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 20:59, After having been delayed a week from the original departure date, facing sabotage of two boats and a complaint against the US Boat by the Israel Law Center that activists say was politically-motivated, the US Boat to Gaza decided Friday to challenge the Greek government’s forced delay of the Flotilla by taking off from Athens toward Gaza. Before leaving Greek territorial waters, they were surrounded by the Greek coast guard and forced back to port.

Dispute Between Hamas And Fatah On Future Prime Minister
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 15:00, On Wednesday, Maan News reported that Fatah and Hamas have agreed to post-pone reconciliation efforts until after the UN bid for Palestinian statehood.

Palestinian Adviser Nimir Hamed: “Palestinians Will Defer September Bid Given A Return To Talks”
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 14:28, In an interview with Maan news agency advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, Nimir Hammad, has stated that Palestinians are willing to delay going to the UN in a bid for statehood if Israel agreed to the French peace talks proposal set out in June.

Netanyahu: Israel Has The Right To Operate Against Efforts To Break Siege
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 12:31, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel has a right to work against Freedom Flotilla from breaking siege on Gaza, according to Haaretz. His comments came as Irish activists on board the Irish ship travelling with the flotilla accused direct Israeli state involvement in the deliberate sabotage of the ships propeller shaft, a potentially lethal act according to the ships captain.

Israel Plans To Double Settlement Area In Jordan Valley
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 11:39, Israel has announced a plan to double the size of its settlements in the strategic Jordan Valley area in the West Bank. The move was announced in Haaretz daily financial paper The Marker. The plan foresee’s a doubling in agriculture areas given to settlers in the region.

PCHR Weekly Report: 35 civilians abducted in 31 Israeli incursions this week
IMEMC – Friday July 01, 2011 – 07:18, In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 23– 29 June 2011, Israeli forces continued to use force against peaceful protests in the West Bank, wounding a civilian. Israeli forces abducted two human rights defenders and 6 Palestinian civilians from non-violent demonstrations.

Ma’an News

Greece halts flotilla bound for Gaza
7/2/2011 – ATHENS, Greece (Ma’an) — The US Boat to Gaza left the Athens Port at 4:50 p. m. on Friday, expecting to be stopped by Greek authorities in the country’s coastal waters on its way to meet a French ship that had already left port. Shortly after it sailed the US boat…. Related: In photos: US boat to Gaza stymied by Greece and Hamas slams Greece for barring Gaza aid ship

Soldiers fire teargas at Qalqiliya protest injuring 4
7/1/2011 – QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — The Israeli army fired tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating at the northern gate of Qalqiliya on Friday injuring four, witnesses said. Locals told Ma’an that the village of Kafr Qaddum, to the east of Qalqiliya and overlooked by the illegal Israeli settlement Qedumim, organized a peaceful rally at the….

Amid sabotage claims, flotilla boats readying to sail
7/1/2011 – ATHENS, Greece (AFP) — Pro-Palestinian activists seeking to breach Israel’s sea blockade on Gaza slammed the state’s “terrorist behavior” on Thursday, as Israel urged them not to create friction in the Middle East. The enraged activists blamed Israeli secret services for sabotaging two of their boats and creating a bureaucratic nightmare designed….

Gaza man sentenced after 8 years detention
7/1/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court in Beersheba, Israel sentenced a Gaza man to 20 years in jail, a Jerusalem center for detainees said Thursday. Nahed Humeid, from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, was detained by Israeli forces in 2003. Eight years later, he was charged with 21 crimes in January….

Report: Men under 45 blocked from Al-Aqsa Friday
7/1/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police said Friday that they will block the entry of men under 45 to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli media reported. Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post said the police restrictions came after intelligence on “plans to disrupt the peace at the site.” Al-Aqsa is the third holiest….

In photos: US boat to Gaza stymied by Greece
7/1/2011 – MaanImages / Mya Guarnieri – Images catalog the preparation by activists onboard the US Boat to Gaza, which defied a Greek order prohibiting sail and weighed anchor in Athens shortly before 5 p. m on Friday. The day before, journalists examined some of the 3,000 letters the ship was carrying to Gaza, where it hoped to dock…. Related: Greece halts flotilla bound for Gaza and Hamas slams Greece for barring Gaza aid ship

Palestinian prisoners to begin hunger strike
7/1/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Friday that prisoners in Ashkelon prison will begin a hunger strike on Sunday which will last for three days. The hunger strike is in protest against violent raids by Israeli forces which took place in the prison on Thursday June 30.” The prisoners….

Abbas adviser: Ready to replace UN bid with talks
7/1/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Presidential adviser Nimir Hammad said Thursday that Palestinian leaders would delay the September bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state, if Israel agrees to negotiations based on a French peace initiative. In an exclusive interview with Ma’an, the political adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas said the leadership are….

Hamas slams Greece for barring Gaza aid ship
7/1/2011 – DAMASCUS (AFP) — The Hamas movement on Friday denounced Greece after its coastguard intercepted a US vessel which tried to sail to Gaza to break Israel blockade of the coastal strip. In a statement issued by its political leadership in Damascus, the Islamist group described the action as “inhumane” and said Greece had played into Israeli…. Related: Greece halts flotilla bound for Gaza

British minister in Nabi Saleh: Right to protest
7/1/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) —On a visit to the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh Thursday, British Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt confirmed the country’s support for Palestinians’ right to non-violent protest, a statement from the British consulate said.”While we fully understand Israel’s security concerns, we urge….

Report: US to offer Israel incentives to negotiate
7/1/2011 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — The US is preparing to offer incentives to Israel in exchange for a return to negotiations based on 1967 borders, Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported Friday. US special envoy for the Middle East David Hale is reported to have said that the principles put forward in President Obama….

Abbas: Goal is to gain statehood through talks
7/1/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that the goal of the Palestinian people and their leadership was to attain self-determination through statehood by way of peaceful negotiations with Israel.” This is the policy that we have been following for a while, and it’s the only policy that is capable of….

Canadian minister visits Jericho police training center
7/1/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Canadian Public Safety Minister met the Palestinian Chief of Police and the EU mission supporting the police, a statement from the mission said Friday. The minister visited the Jericho Police Training School and toured two of its buildings — the Gymnasium and the Learning Center — that Canada has funded to the….

Gaza beaches to receive 20 lifeguard towers
7/1/2011 – GAZA (Ma’an) — Khan Younis municipality in the southern Gaza Strip announced Friday that it has established 20 new lifeguard towers along the beach to protect the public. Khan Younis Mayor Muhammad Al-Farra told Ma’an that as summer enters full swing the public had the right to feel safe on the beach….

Gaza student rescues Egyptian family from fire
7/1/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Gaza student living in Egypt rescued a family whose house went up in flames in the city of Alexandria Thursday evening. When the gas canister in the family’s kitchen exploded, Rami Awad, a former firefighter from Gaza City and law student in Egypt, rushed into the building….

US warns Assad as Syria braces for protests
7/1/2011 – DAMASCUS, Syria (AFP) — Time is running out for Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday as activists seeking his dismissal readied for nationwide “day of departure” protests. A day after pro-democracy protests spread to Syria’s second city of Aleppo and activists joined hands to press for….

Egypt protesters head to Tahrir Square
7/1/2011 – CAIRO (AFP) — Protesters converged on Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to join camping pro-democracy activists ahead of a demonstration planned after Muslim noon prayers to push for reforms. State television said that on Friday morning nearly 2,000 people were in the square, the epicenter of protests that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February….

Syrian security forces kill six protesters
7/1/2011 – NICOSIA (AFP) — Syrian security forces shot dead six people on Friday as more than half a million protesters flooded streets nationwide calling for the fall of the regime, a rights activist said. At least three people died in the central city of Homs when security forces opened fire to quash protests, two were killed in….

Lebanon braces for Hezbollah backlash over Hariri tribunal
7/1/2011 – BEIRUT (AFP) — Lebanon was braced Friday for a possible backlash after a UN-backed tribunal issued an indictment in the 2005 murder of ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri in which four Hezbollah members were named. Daniel Bellemare, prosecutor for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon [STL], hailed the indictment as a “historic milestone”, which implicates Hezbollah operatives in….

Jordanians want ‘parliament of shame’ dissolved
7/1/2011 – AMMAN (AFP)— About 2,000 people demonstrated across Jordan on Friday to demand the dissolution of the “parliament of shame,” over a suspected corruption case involving a gambling casino. More than 1,000 Jordanians took part in a demonstration organized by the Islamist opposition in central Amman after midday prayers, also calling for the resignation of the….

Key US lawmaker condemns Muslim Brotherhood talks
7/1/2011 – WASHINGTON (AFP) — A key US lawmaker on Friday condemned contacts between President Barack Obama’s administration and Egypt’s once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, warning the group aims to impose strict Islamist law.” I strongly disagree with the Obama Administration’s contacts with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” said Republican Steve Chabot, who chairs the….

Palestine Note

PA employees questioned over corruption charges
Palestine Note 1 Jul 2011 – Ma’an- Employees of the Ministry of Public Works have been questioned over corruption allegations, deputy minister Fayeq Al-Deek said Thursday. Al-Deek told Ma’an radio that several ministry employees were suspected of receiving bribes and misusing public funds while in office….


Defiant Gaddafi threatens Europe
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – In a telephonic message delivered to thousands of supporters, Libyan leader tells NATO to leave or “face catastrophe”.

Sudan’s Bashir says army to continue campaign
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – Sudanese president says army operation in border state of South Kordofan to continue until it is “cleaned” of rebels.

Deaths reported as huge protests grip Syria
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – Activists say eleven people killed by security forces as hundreds of thousands take to the streets across the country.

Leon Panetta sworn in as US defence secretary
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – Former CIA director succeeds Robert Gates to become first Democrat to take charge of the Pentagon since 1997.

Hundreds of thousands rally across Yemen
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – Pro- and anti-Saleh demonstrations held in capital, while protesters in Taiz chant slogans against Saudi Arabia.

Interior minister confirms Hariri indictments
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – Marwan Charbel names four Hezbollah suspects indicted over the murder of former Lebanese prime minister in 2005.

US Gaza-bound boat returning to Greek port
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – Vessel seeking to break Israel’s siege of Gaza Strip returns to port after it was intercepted by Greek armed commandos.

Iraqis try to cope with instability
AlJazeera 1 Jul 2011 – A special report looks into one Baghdad family’s journey navigating uncertainties besides a daily maze of traffic jams.

Palestine News Network

The Audacity of Hope Set Sail to Gaza; Greek Navy Stop it From Reaching International Waters
PNN – Ghassan Bannoura — PNN Exclusive — During a phone interview with Jane Hirschmann, one of the American boat Audacity of Hope organizers, told PNN that the ship departed to the Gaza Strip…

Palestinian Man Dies of Wounds he Sustained Three Months Ago
PNN – Hebron — PNN – A Palestinian was reported dead on Friday evening due to wounds he sustained three months ago when Israeli police opened fire at him as he was driving back…

Israeli Settlers and Soldiers Attack Farmers Reclaiming Land Near Hebron
PNN – Hebron – PNN – On Friday midday a group of Israeli settlers, along with soldiers, attacked Palestinian farmers of Yatta in southern West Ban, all of whom were trying to reclaim their…

Qalqilia: Six Civilians Injured While Settlers Set Fire to Olive Groves
PNN – Qalqilia – PNN – Six Palestinian civilians were injured when Israeli soldiers attacked a peaceful protest that demanded the opening of the north entrance of Qaqila in the northern West Bank. At…

Exclusive Video: Inside Tour of ?¢‚Ǩ?ìThe Audacity of Hope?¢‚Ǩ¬ù
PNN – Democracy Now To PNN – As ships gather in Greece ready to set sail to Gaza as part of the international flotilla, Democracy Now! Released an exclusive inside tour of the American…

International Solidarity Movement

NLG: The Flotilla Must Sail Freely!
7/1/2011 – International Solidarity Movement – National Lawyers Guild International Committee – NLG IC calls on US government end its pressure on the Greek government and demand that Israel refrain from attacking the flotilla National Lawyers Guild: The Flotilla Must Sail Freely! Today, the U. S. Boat to Gaza, the Audacity to Hope, was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard as it…. Related: National Lawyers Guild

Cisjordanie : 470 familles enfin connect?©es ?† un r?©seau d’eau
Relief Web 1 Jul 2011 – Source: Premi?®re Urgence – Aide M?©dicale Internationale Country: occupied Palestinian territory Depuis quelques semaines, 470 familles du district de Qalqiliya, ont enfin acc?®s ?† un r?©seau d’eau potable. La construction d’infrastructures durables est complexe dans cette zone soumise au bon…

Palestine Telegraph

Gaza hosts conference on child labor
1 Jul 2011 – Gaza, (Pal Telegraph) – Organized by “Save the Children Sweden” and the “Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution” the conference is a part of a larger project aimed at “Protecting the rights of Palestinians children affected by armed conflicts through community-based mechanism in the Gaza Strip and North Lebanon.

No change at Gaza Crossing: Rafah: a return to the status quo?
1 Jul 2011 – US, (Pal Telegraph) – The big story of the week has been the much-acclaimed re-opening of the torturous Rafah Crossing. It had been operating intermittently, if at all, and for limited categories of people for more than 4 years now. For what seemed like eternity, the Mubarak regime- ÿßŸÑŸÑŸá ŸÑÿß Ÿäÿ±ÿØŸáŸÖ -, colluding with the United States and Israel to…

The National

‘Hundreds of thousands’ protest against Al Assad across Syria
The National 1 Jul 2011 – At least six demonstrators were shot dead by security forces, according to human rights monitors.

UN, US pressure Lebanon to make arrest over Hariri assassination
The National 1 Jul 2011 – The Lebanese government is caught between Hizbollah, a powerful political and military force, and Western powers, which could impose economic sanctions if the warrants are ignored.

Hariri arrests are not high on Lebanese shopping list
The National 1 Jul 2011 – While many said tensions were growing, few feared that the arrest warrants may lead to violence.

Yemeni President Saleh calls for dialogue but keeps his grip on power
The National 1 Jul 2011 – The revolution youth organising committee said it will boycott any talks with the ruling party and those behind the killing of innocent protesters.

Moroccans vote on new constitution proposed by King Mohammed VI
The National 1 Jul 2011 – Major political parties have maintained a drumbeat of support for the proposed constitution.


Report: Assad forces kill 24 civilians in violent protests across Syria
Ha’aretz – Hundreds of thousands of protesters flood cities throughout Syria in day activists call largest outpour against Assad regime; No sign of security forces in Hama; Officials say 10,497 refugees still in Turkey.

Greece blocks departure of all Gaza-bound ships
Ha’aretz – Greece issues statement forbidding departure of ships from its ports to maritime area of Gaza in bid to prevent breach of Israel’s naval blockade, further delaying the flotilla’s departure.

Barak Ravid / Netanyahu’s big fat Greek Wedding
Ha’aretz – Netanyahu has invested in his relationship with Greece over the course of the past year-and-a-half, and his gamble has finally paid off as Greece blocks Gaza-flotilla-bound departures from its ports.

Amos Harel / Arab Spring may be good for Israel after all
Ha’aretz – Even Arab analysts who witnessed the changes in the region up close recognize that forecasting the future is futile. But that doesn’t mean they don’t see recent events as a cause for elation.

Strauss-Kahn released from house arrest as sexual assault case shifts in his favor
Ha’aretz – Judge grants release after testimony of hotel maid the former IMF chief allegedly sexually assaulted comes into question.

Carlo Strenger / Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the media circus and the Roman arena
Ha’aretz – As the fact emerge about the questionable validity of the DSK sexual assault case, important questions arise about the media’s explicit coverage of the former IMF chief’s alleged indiscretions as well as other scandals.

The Muslim-Jewish Conference is coming to Kiev
Ha’aretz – Seventy young Muslim and Jewish leaders from 25 countries will come together to demonstrate that a new generation can overcome decades of mutual fear and demonization to build a brighter future for both communities.

Gadhafi threatens Europe with attacks
Ha’aretz – In speech delivered by telephone the Libyan leader says he welcomes negotiations if Europe and the U.S. are willing, but if they are not, his forces will ‘finish the battle’ by taking it to Europe.

Activists: Gaza flotilla will set sail next week
Ha’aretz – Ships were due to depart last week towards the Gaza Strip but have been delayed amidst allegations of sabotage by Israel.

Moroccan king scores landslide win in reform vote
Ha’aretz – Preliminary results show landslide 98.5 percent victory; opponents cry foul, allege vote-rigging; Morocco is ruled by Arab world’s longest-serving dynasty.

Tens of thousands march in Hong Kong pro-democracy rally
Ha’aretz – Protesters in the former British colony demand greater democracy from China, which has ruled out universal suffrage until 2020.

Case against Strauss-Kahn ‘near collapse’
Ha’aretz – Former IMF chief and French presidential candidate is accused of assaulting hotel maid in New York; new doubts on witness’s credibility may put him back in the race.

Hard Cheese / The bluff of price controls
Ha’aretz – Instead of solving the cottage cheese crisis, the ministries are behind the high prices in the first place

A finger, or maybe a whole fist, in every pie : Nochi Dankner has his eyes inside the banks
Ha’aretz – 12 directors at the banks and other financial institutions also work for his IDB group

Broad consensus against raising retirement age for women to 67
Ha’aretz – Public committee reviewing retirement age for women yet to officially release recommendations; Proposal met with opposition in Knesset, academia and from women’s groups.

Guaranteeing seniority
Ha’aretz – A draft law that would shorten the minimum period of time between the swearing-in of the Supreme Court president and their mandatory retirement, at age 70, from three years to two, could be considered problematic.

Jerusalem Post

Syrian forces kill 24 civilians in attacks
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Protesters call on Syrian President Assad to step down, hold up ‘red cards’; Clinton says she’s ‘disheartened’ by continued violence.

Syria: 9 killed in army attack as tens of thousands protest
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Protesters call on Syrian President Assad to step down, hold up ‘red cards’; Clinton says she’s ‘disheartened’ by continued violence.

US flotilla to Gaza organizers say boat departed Greece
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – ‘Audacity of Hope’ organizers say passengers will resist Greek efforts to prevent their departure; earlier, spokesperson said trip was delayed.

Clinton praises tribunal for issuing Hariri indictments
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – US Secretary of State: Parties should continue to respect special tribunal; indictments reportedly detail motives, plan behind Hariri assassination.

Noam Schalit: Gov’t hasn’t pressured Hamas in 5 years
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Captured soldier’s father says as long as no pressure is put on Hamas, it won’t be in a hurry to free Gilad; urges public to get involved.

Syria: 3 killed in army attack as thousands take to streets
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Despite army assault on northwestern towns, protests continue in Damascus suburbs, Lebanese border and Idlib province.

‘Indictments detail motives, plan behind Hariri murder’
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Tribunal indictments in assassination of former Lebanese PM reportedly contain info on assasins’ political motives and how they covered traces.

Problems reported after Dan Lines launches bus changes
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Dan CEO Shaul Rafael: This is not the end of the reorganization of the system, we will have to restore some old bus routes.

Tunisians take pride in Arab spring slogans, humor
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Comics in North African country lampoon ousted leader Ben Ali and other Arab leaders; Tunisians proud they set in motion protests and satire.

Sexual assault case against Strauss-Kahn near collapse
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Sources say prosecutors have doubts over hotel maid’s credibility as a witness; acquittal could throw France’s presidential race open again.

Clinton: Syria running out of time to implement reforms
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – US Secretary of State warns Assad will face increased organized resistance if changes not made, says no “coherent and consistent” message coming from Syria after latest tank offensive in country’s north.

Police arrest 3 youths after 13 injured in Ashdod stabbing
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – One youth in critical condition in the hospital after suffering stab wounds in neck; police say youths were drunk, used knives and broken bottles.

This Week in History: The 1st mid-flight airplane refueling
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – During the Cold War, mid-flight refueling allowed heavy bombers carrying nuclear weapons to remain in the air 24 hours a day.

Anglo immigrants fear they’ve lost thousands
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Losses blamed on failing currency exchange business; clients of ‘Cheerfully Changed’ say they can’t get their money and “just don’t know what to do.”

Sailor refused entry to restaurant to be compensated
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Haifa Magistrate’s Court orders restaurant owner to compensate Israel Navy NCO Raviv Roth who was refused service because of his uniform.

Olmert ‘curious’ about missing $150,000
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Former PM revises claim he was unaware secretary Zaken listened to his calls.

Failing to move Russia, EU and US slam Syria at UN
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – Mandate for UN observer force in Golan Heights renewed for another 6 months with support of all 15 council members.

12 suffer stab wounds during brawl in Ashdod park
Jerusalem Post 1 Jul 2011 – 2 seriously injured, 6 suffer moderate injuries, 5 lightly injured; all victims taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Jimmy Wales’s benevolent Wikipedia wisdom
Jerusalem Post 30 Jun 2011 – Most people are fundamentally decent, and we’re now in an era where people can communicate with each other much more effectively than ever before. That, says the online encyclopedia pioneer, gives Israelis a real opportunity for very personal ambassadorship.

Unmasking the ‘international community’
Jerusalem Post 30 Jun 2011 – While emptily mouthing slogans of tolerance, adherents to the rule of the “international community” embrace the agenda of the most violent, intolerant, totalitarian forces in the world.

Inter Press Service

Syria’s Once Profoundly Secular Society Shaken Up
IPS Since pro-democracy protests began last March, Syria’s once profoundly secular society has been shaken up, with deep divides splitting up communities along sectarian lines.

Late Spring May Come to Morocco
IPS As Moroccans head to the polls to vote in a referendum on reforms offered by King Mohammed VI in the wake of the Arab Spring, the debate continues as to whether the proposed changes are merely cosmetic or will pave the way for a viable democracy.

EGYPT: Parties Proliferate in Political Spring
IPS The liberalisation of Egypt’s political process following the Jan. 25 Revolution has led to a proliferation of new political parties, both religiously-oriented and secular. Within the last five months, four new parties have officially launched, while at least 16 others are currently in the pipeline.


My Syria, Awake Again After 40 Years
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – …History did not leave behind that other, real Syria. Syria returns today to demand its stolen rights, to collect on its overdue bills. Compared to the other Arab uprisings, Syria’s has been perhaps the most arduous, considering the regime’s cruelty and the threat of civil war. At the same time, the people’s unity and…

Greece bans all Gaza-bound ship from setting sail
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – …On Friday, the Greek coastguard announced that the Gaza-bound mission could not leave their ports — at least for the moment. “The departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza has been prohibited today,” the coastguard said in a statement released Friday, an hour before…

NLG IC: The Flotilla Must Sail Freely!
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – NLG IC calls on US government end its pressure on the Greek government and demand that Israel refrain from attacking the flotilla National Lawyers Guild: The Flotilla Must Sail Freely! Today, the U.S. Boat to Gaza, the Audacity to Hope, was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard as it attempted to begin its journey…

Write to and call the Greek government
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – The Greek authorities apparently succumbed to the US and Israel threats and have stopped the humanitarian ships from sailing to break the illegal and immoral siege in Gaza. We all need to call Greek embassies around the world and complain because if they maintain this policy it means they are complicit in violations of…

Nine dead in Syria as biggest ever anti-Assad protests take place
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – AT LEAST NINE people have died in Syria in the past 12 hours as security forces clash with anti-government protestors, activist groups in the Middle Eastern country said today….Video footage of the protests appears to back up activists’ claims that today’s protests are the biggest in Syria since the unrest began 15 weeks ago….

Israeli Official Condemns Gaza Flotilla, Refuses to Deny Israeli Role in Sabotage of Boats
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, defends the Israeli government’s campaign against the flotilla claiming there is no need for humanitarian aid to be shipped to Gaza now that Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing. Aharoni also refuses to deny Israel played a role in the sabotage of two boats…

Greek coastguard intercepts Gaza ship: activist
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – The Greek coastguard intercepted a boat carrying U.S. activists soon after they set sail from Greece on Friday to join a pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza, one of the activists said. The boat, dubbed “The Audacity of Hope,” had just left Perama port, near Piraeus, for the open seas, a Reuters witness said…”We are just…

The US policy of assassination
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – More than one hundred days into the Libya war, the US-NATO strategy is ever more nakedly aimed at political assassination. US and European war planes have repeatedly bombed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s compounds, killing his relatives. Frustrated by the duration of the operation, which is stuck in an effective stalemate, military strategists are increasingly…

Greek coastguard says orders are to stop ship
Uruknet July 1, 2011 – The US Boat to Gaza left the Athens Port at 4:50 p.m. on Friday, expecting to be stopped by Greek authorities in the country’s coastal waters. 6:38 p.m. – Second coastguard ship leaves scene, first pulls back from boat, remains stationed at stern. 5:53 p.m. – Second ship from Greek coastguard arrives at US…

An Open Letter to Sen. Mark Kirk Senator Calls for US Special Forces to Attack the Gaza Flotilla
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – Dear Senator Kirk, We are Illinois residents writing to you from Athens, Greece. Just before leaving the United States, we wrote to inform your office about our intent to sail on “The Audacity of Hope,” as part of the US Boat to Gaza project. In our letters, we explained why we were traveling to…

Syria: One hundred days of struggle
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – …The popular movement has refused any foreign military intervention in Syria and personalities linked to foreign imperialist interests such as Abdel Halim Khadam, Rifaat Al Assad and Mahmoun Homsi. There are those who make excuses for the Assad regime, and castigate the protest movement as ‘pro-imperialist’ for opposing it, like Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah….

With continued threats to Gaza flotilla, State Department warns participants, not Israel
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – With continued threats coming from Israel, a complaint traced to an Israeli organization aimed at docking the U.S. boat indefinitely, and the reported sabotage of another flotilla ship, the State Department ought to say or do something to avert the possibility of undeserved violence toward U.S. citizens sailing to Gaza. But, of course, to…

Israel must stop imprisoning Palestinians without a reason
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – For many years now, Israel has been dumping Palestinians behind bars, or sending them to agonize in open-ended detainment in desert detention camps, purely for political reasons. In hundreds of cases, there is absolutely no legal ground, even according to the Israeli military laws, for the prolonged incarceration of these indisputably innocent Palestinians…

Settler arson attack in the village of Burin
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – On Thursday 30 June at 11:00 AM, the villagers of Burin reported that a fire was started by a group of settlers in one of the village¬¥s crop field in the hills. According to a villager who witnessed the events, Walid M. N. noted that before the fire began to burn, approximately 50 settlers…

Rape, Mercenaries, and Bloodbaths on the Scale of Yemen? The Media Blank Amnesty’s Failure To Find Evidence In Libya
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato’s war in Libya. Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15…

Iraq snapshot – June 30, 2011
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – Chaos and violence continue, 3 more US soldiers are announced dead in Iraq, the Christian Science Monitor doesn’t get a lot of Iraq ‘hits’ and wonders why (we explain it for them), the Libyan War goes on, Human Rights Watch documents the attacks on peaceful demonstrators and notes that “It’s not every day that…

A voyage of solidarity
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – HUNDREDS OF Palestine solidarity activists in ports on the Mediterranean Sea are making final preparations to sail in defiance of the siege of Gaza, despite pressure and sabotage by Israeli forces determined to stop them. The flotilla will carry badly needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, but its organizers also hope to focus the world’s…

Imprisoned cancer patient re-declares hunger strike after being swindled
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – Atef Wureidat, a Palestinian cancer patient held in Israeli custody, has announced he will again go on hunger strike after being tricked by the Israeli prison administration, the Palestinian Prisoner Society said Wednesday. “Imprisoned cancer patient Atef Wureidat announced his hunger strike once again on Wednesday after the prison administration denied his demands which…

In the US, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, A Glimmer of Hope Amidst the Hypocrisy
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – However, the main reason for doubting that Durham’s investigation will lead anywhere – above and beyond the significance of Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court not to allow a torture suit by 250 former Abu Ghraib prisoners to proceed against contractors at the prison – is John Durham’s previous capitulation regarding his investigations. Under…

CIA Exhales: 99 Out of 101 Torture Cases Dropped
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – This is how one of the darkest chapters in U.S. counterterrorism ends: with practically every instance of suspected CIA torture dodging criminal scrutiny. It’s one of the greatest gifts the Justice Department could have given the CIA as David Petraeus takes over the agency. Over two years after Attorney General Eric Holder instructed a…

Meaner Tougher IMF with Lagarde
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – On June 28, New York Times writer Liz Alderman headlined, “France’s Lagarde Named New Head of IMF,” saying: She’ll assume “one of the most powerful positions in global finance as a worsening crisis in Greece threatens the euro currency union and rattles financial markets worldwide.” Washington’s choice all along, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner endorsed…

Washington Okays Attack on Unarmed U.S. Ship
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – The Obama administration appears to have given a green light to an Israeli attack on an unarmed flotilla carrying peace and human rights activists – including a vessel with 50 Americans on board – bound for the besieged Gaza Strip. At a press conference on June 24, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the…

Military Court’s Ruling in the matter of Nagi Tamimi, Nabi Saleh
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – On 5 March 2011, Nagi Tamimi, a leader of Nabi Saleh’s popular resistance against Israel’s annexation of its land, was arrested by the Israeli army. Tamimi had personally lost 70 dunams of land to the neighboring Jewish settlement, Halamish. On Monday, 27 June, Tamimi was sentenced to three years in prison and a 10,000…

What America Stands for in Libya
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – …While in Libya, I witnessed NATO’s targeting of civilians: NATO bombs and missiles landed in residential neighborhoods, hit schools, exploded near hospitals, destroyed parts of the public broadcasting infrastructure, and narrowly missed killing students at Al Fateh University. When civilians are targeted in war, or “low kinetic” activities, crimes are committed. NATO practices in…

Flotilla organizers: Greece complicit with Israel in delaying departure
Uruknet June 30, 2011 – At a press conference held at 3pm local time on Thursday, organizers of the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, unveiled their ship to international press corps. Roughly 70 journalists , including a news crew from Israel’s Channel 10 as well as other Israeli journalists, were in attendance. Organizers defiantly called on the…

Daily Star

High turnout as Moroccans vote on king’s new constitution
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Moroccans braved searing temperatures Friday, turning out for an historic vote for new constitution their king says will bring the country much needed democratic reform.

Security forces kill 6 protesters as Syria sees biggest demonstration to date
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Syrian security forces killed at least six demonstrators as more than half-a-million people took to the streets across the country Friday to demand the departure of President Bashar Assad…

Israel limits Al-Aqsa prayers after East Jerusalem clashes
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Israel limited access to the Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques Friday in Jerusalem as a precautionary measure a day after clashes in occupied East Jerusalem, a spokeswoman said.

Mistrust overshadows Bahrain dialogue
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Skepticism has met the start of the national dialogue aimed at reviving political reforms after violent repression of protests in Bahrain.

Thousands for, thousands against Saleh in Yemen mass rallies
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Tens of thousands of Yemenis turned Friday prayers into rallies for and against President Ali Abdullah Saleh who is recovering from injuries sustained in an assassination attempt earlier this month.

Lawyer says Ben Ali drug allegations are irrational
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Accusations that ousted Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali possessed and planned to sell marijuana are irrational, his lawyer said Friday as the exiled leader faces another trial, this one on drug trafficking charges during his…

Iran denies U.S. hikers suffering abuse in prison
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Tehran rejected Friday comments made by the mothers of two U.S. hikers held in Iran for nearly two years who said their sons were tortured and sexually abused in custody, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Jordanians want ‘Parliament of shame’ dissolved
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 About 2,000 people demonstrated across Jordan Friday to demand the dissolution of the Parliament of shame, over a suspected corruption case involving a gambling casino.

Tunisians find satire gives power to the people
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 At 7:45 a.m. on any given day in the Tunisian capital, you might notice that drivers stuck in rush-hour traffic seem to be chortling away in unison.

Thousands return to Cairo’s Tahrir Square
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Protesters converged on Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday to join camping pro-democracy activists for a demonstration to keep up the pressure on the country’s military rulers over the pace of reforms.

Gadhafi fumes as NATO strikes continue
Daily Star 1 Jul 2011 Moammar Gadhafi vowed to stay on and warned that NATO would face catastrophe if airstrikes did not cease in an audio address carried by Libyan television and broadcast to tens of thousands of supporters who gathered…

YNet News

Gaza-bound boat: Greek commandos forced us back
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Heavily armed Greek forces with their firearms drawn forced a Gaza-bound ship to turn around and return to Greece, where the vessel is now being held in a military base, … ….

Bloody day: Syrians tell Assad to go
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – At least 24 civilians were killed Friday by Bashar Assad’s forces, prominent human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouna said, as tens of thousands of people called on the … ….

Gaddafi threatens attacks in Europe
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Gaddafi threatens Europe: A defiant Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to carry out attacks in Europe unless NATO halts its campaign of airstrikes against his regime in … ….

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood welcomes US talks
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is willing to hold talks with the United States, a spokesman said Friday, taking up an offer of dialogue seen as an implicit recognition by … ….

Gaza-bound US boat defies Greek ban, stopped at sea
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – American activists set sail from Greece on Friday aboard a boat set to take part in a pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza, defying calls from Israel to cancel it and a ban … ….

Arabs celebrate ‘fence win’
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Resident of the Palestinian West Bank village of Bilin celebrated Friday to mark the dismantlement of Israel’s security fence in the area. The IDF began work to … ….

Swiss party ad features Jewish doll
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Ads promoting an independence party in Geneva featured a doll of a man wearing a yarmulke with an arrow in its head and an Israeli flag painted on it, Swiss media … ….

Report: US proposes Syrian road map
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Syrian opposition reveals alleged US plan to establish democracy in fickle Arab….

Activist: Flotilla to sail to Gaza next week
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Greta Berlin says ‘Israel is doing very best to make sure we don’t get out of….

Israelis involved in ‘Nigerian sting’ jailed
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – US court approves plea bargain in lottery scam case involving seven Israelis who….

Sources: Case against Strauss-Kahn near collapse
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – Prosecutors have doubts about maid’s credibility as witness, source says,….

Report: Hariri assassination politically motivated
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – London-based paper says indictment filed against Hezbollah members lists all….

Clinton: Syria running out of time to reform
YNet News, 1 Jul 2011 – US secretary of state says allowing one meeting of opposition in Damascus is not….

UN extends mandate of Golan Heights peacekeeping force
YNet News, 30 Jun 2011 – Disengagement Observer Force stationed on northern border since 1974 to remain….

Gazans unimpressed by flotilla
YNet News, 30 Jun 2011 – Israeli claims over futility of flotilla receive reinforcement from surprising….

Report urges special memorial service for firefighters
YNet News, 30 Jun 2011 – Gov’t-commissioned report proposes system to honor non-military servicemen;….

South Africa sends aid to Gaza
YNet News, 30 Jun 2011 – South African relief agency sends convoy of trucks to Strip in solidarity with….

Peres: US, Obama Israel’s friend, ally
YNet News, 30 Jun 2011 – Speaking at embassy reception celebrating US Independence Day, Peres, Netanyahu….

Ne’eman: We’ll continue to act impartially
YNet News, 30 Jun 2011 – Justice minister refuses to yield to extreme rightists who accosted him at….

Palestinian Information Center

Violent clashes in Shuafat refugee camp, one youth injured
PIC – The IOF announced on Thursday night the closure of the Shuafat roadblock until further notice due to violent clashes between IOF troops and Palestinian youth at the Shuafat refugee camp.

IOF troops raid the village of Kafr al-Deek and uproot trees
PIC – IOF troops raided on Thursday afternoon the village of Kafr al-Deek near Salfit and uprooted dozens of olive trees from the fields belonging to the villagers..

UK bans Nofal entry
PIC – Airport authorities in Queen Alia airport in the Jordanian capital Amman have banned Thursday prominent Muslim preacher Dr.Ahmad Nofal from boarding the airplane to London..

Freedom Flotilla Alliance accuses the IOA of deliberately destroying ships
PIC – The Freedom Flotilla Alliance has accused the Israeli occupation authorities of standing behind damaging two of their ships planning to break the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip..

Mishaal: Expelling Jerusalem MPs part of open war against Palestinian people
PIC – Khaled Mishal said on Thursday that the Israeli plan to expel three Palestinian lawmakers and a former minister from Jerusalem was part of the Israeli open war against the Palestinians.

IOA decides to demolish Mohammed Al-Fateh Mosque
PIC – The vice-mayor of the Zionist administration of Jerusalem municipality, has issued an order to stop all renovations made to the Mohammed Al-Fateh mosque and to demolish it altogether.

Ahlam al-Tamimi goes on hunger strike
PIC – Palestinian captive Ahlam al-Tamimi decided to go on hunger strike to protest measures taken by the Hasharon prison administration against her.

IOF troops quell the Maasara demonstration, arrest a child in al-Khalil
PIC – A number of Palestinians suffered breathing difficulties on Friday as a result of heavy use of teargas by the IOF in the process of quelling the weekly anti-wall demonstration at Maasara.

Turks protest Sheikh Salah’s detention by the UK outside the British consulate
PIC – Turkish protester gathered outside the British consulate in Istanbul to call for the release of Sheikh Raed Salah who was detained by the British authorities three days ago..

Fighting ‘hate speech’ smears on Sheikh Salah
PIC – Writing in the Guardian newspaper Hanan Zoabi, a member of the Knesset, where she represents the Balad Party, asks how Sheikh Raed Salah’s “struggle for equality” has become a “form of racism?”

Second ship on Freedom Flotilla II sabotaged
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 08:30 AM

Sheikh Salah challenges deportation order
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 08:32 AM

Abu Halabiya calls for stop to Israel’s persecution of Jerusalemites
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 08:47 AM

IOF soldiers arrest liberated prisoner among others
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 09:17 AM

Israeli military court renews administrative detention of Palestinian MP
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 10:53 AM

Hamas: Banishing native Jerusalemites racist policy
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 11:04 AM

Longtime Palestinian prisoner assaulted, placed in confinement
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 11:07 AM

Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails go on hunger strike next Sunday
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 11:13 AM

Aruri: German mediator was not honest
PIC – 30/06/2011 – 11:16 AM

Soldiers from the Nahshon battalion raid Askalan jail, assault captives
PIC – 01/07/2011 – 09:59 AM


WAFA – Palestine News Agency

Canadian Public Safety Minister Meets PCP and EUPOL COPPS

Japan Grants $12.4 Million to PA

Los Angeles Times

24 die as Syrian forces fire on protesters
LA Times 1 Jul 2011 – The worst violence is seen in Idlib province as huge protests erupt across Syria, including in Homs and Hama, with people rejecting Bashar Assad’s pledge of reforms and demanding that he step down. At least 24 Syrian protesters were killed Friday when security forces fired…

Moroccan voters approve constitutional changes
LA Times 1 Jul 2011 – The changes, seeking to calm unrest, will curb some powers of King Mohammed VI, but he will remain in charge of security forces and of appointing the president. Some activists reject the changes as far short of a modern constitutional monarchy. Voters in Morocco approved…


Breaking: Armed soldiers approaching U.S. Boat to Gaza now
Jewish Voice for Peace –

Haaretz: Greek move against boats was born of Netanyahu campaign for Greek financial rescue
Mondoweiss – Can you think of a more dismal day in recent months? Do you feel powerless? Do you know where the power lies? From Barak Ravid’s report, “Netanyahu’s big fat Greek wedding,” in Haaretz (thanks to Noam Sheizaf at 972): Many of Netanyahu and Papandreou’s talks in…

Update: US Boat to Gaza returns to port after being stopped by Greek Coast Guard
Mondoweiss – Update: Here is an update that Audacity of Hope passenger Medea Benjamin recorded for the Institute for Middle East Understanding at 3:10pm ET: Listen to internet radio with IMEU on Blog Talk Radio Update: Here is the Greek order against boats leaving its ports for Gaza, “…

In the cover of darkness
Mondoweiss – A representative of the the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the same center constructing a museum of intolerance on top of the ancient Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem that has already resulted in the destruction and disinterment ofthousands of Muslim graves and human remains, has called on the UN…

Huwaida Arraf: ‘[The flotilla] is not about aid, this is about Palestinian human rights, this is about liberation’
Mondoweiss –

BDS will free both the oppressed, and the oppressor
Mondoweiss – On June 27, the bill “to protect the state of Israel from damage caused by boycott” wasapproved by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for second and third readings in the plenum. The bill passed its first reading in the Knesset plenum on March 7,…

Rabbi Dov Lior: Moral Munchkin from Oz
Tikun Olam – Rabbi Dov Lior as Munchkin in Land of Oz-Judea (Gil Yochanan) With an Ah-Ha-Ha And an Oh-Ho-Ho And a couple of La-Dee-Das That’s how we laugh the day away In the merry old land of Judea. If I didn’t know better I might say that this…

Misc 2

TAKE ACTION: Tell Sec. Clinton and Sen. Kirk their flotilla Statements are Irresponsible
Arab American Institute 30 Jun 2011 – In a statement that seemed to justify another violent raid by Israel, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the humanitarian flotilla en route to Gaza entitled the Israelis “to defend themselves.” Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) went a step further, calling for a join US-Israeli military operation…

Advice for the Next Gaza Flotilla
The Magnes Zionist 1 Jul 2011 – Let me put my cards on the table. I think that Israel’s blockade of Gaza blockade is illegal, has nothing to do with Israel’s security, and has everything to do with Israel’s desire to control the lives and resources of Palestinians without taking responsibility for their…

US Senate “acts like a staff member of the Israeli government”
Middle East Monitor 1 Jul 2011 – A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation has said that the US Senate acts as if it is a “staff member of the Israeli government”. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee and Chairperson of the Department of Culture and Information in the PLO…

Apartheid in duplicate
Middle East Monitor 1 Jul 2011 – In a peculiar twist of history both Zionist Israel and Apartheid South Africa came into existence in May 1948; they went on to become something of a grim double act. The architect of Apartheid, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd, liked to equate the history and doctrine of the…

Who is lying?
Middle East Monitor 1 Jul 2011 – Andrew Gilligan – London editor of the Telegraph – is denying having received a letter from the lawyer of Sheikh Raed Salah in which Gilligan is accused of making defamatory and false statements about the Sheikh. In his article in the Telegraph published on 29th June…

‘Huge protest rallies’ in Syria
BBC 1 Jul 2011 – Hundreds of thousands of people reportedly stage fresh anti-government protests across Syria, as rights groups say at least 14 people were shot dead.

Press on UN Hariri warrants
BBC 1 Jul 2011 – The press in Lebanon and the wider region is split in its response to the issuing of four arrest warrants by the UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Take Action: U.S. Boat to Gaza Stopped From Sailing
US Campaign to End the Occupation 1 Jul 2011 – July 1, 2011

Take Action: Thank Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for Slam-Dunking Israeli Apartheid!
US Campaign to End the Occupation 1 Jul 2011 – June 28, 2011


Hysteria, ‘hasbara’ and the flotilla
Larry Derfner, Jerusalem Post6/29/2011
Rattling the Cage: Israel’s propaganda machine is in full swing prior to the ships’ upcoming arrival.
I just love Israel’s “hasbara” campaign against Freedom Flotilla 2. I mean, butter wouldn’t melt in these people’s mouths.
“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” says Ehud Barak. Gazans are “importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world,” says IDF chief Benny Gantz.
Yes, Gaza is economically on the mend — but not because of Israel’s good intentions; rather, despite its bad intentions.
If it were up to the government, Gazans would still be unable to receive terrorist infrastructure equipment such as toys, musical instruments, heaters, newspapers, fishing rods, tractor parts, irrigation pipes and, of course, coriander, on relief trucks coming across the border.
Why did that policy change? What forced Israel to start letting everything through except construction equipment, which it fears Hamas might use to make bunkers? It was Freedom Flotilla 1, remember? It was the killing of nine Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos on May 31, 2010, after which Israel was compelled by international outrage to begin allowing all those previously banned weapons of mass destruction — cumin, ginger, dried fruit, industrial margarine, clothing fabric, sewing machines and more — into the Strip.
Likewise, if it were up to the government, Hosni Mubarak would still be ordering Egyptian troops to search out and destroy the tunnels built by Gazans to smuggle in goods. But to the government’s dismay, Mubarak was overthrown and Egypt’s new leadership is less eager to collaborate with our Gaza policy. more.. e-mail


Jordan valley settlements double in size
Dimi Reider, +972 Magazine6/29/2011
The government and the Zionist Federation casually double the size of the Jordan Valley settlement project, to very little attention from Israelis or the international community. Israel’s de-facto annexation of the West Bank’s only bridge to the rest of the Middle East takes a giant leap.
The other day, Haaretz financial daily The Marker ran the following item:
“The settlement department of the ZIonist Federation is pushing forward a new plan, set to be confirmed soon by the Agriculture Ministry, under which the agricultural areas allocated to the settlers [the reporter uses neutral mitayashvim, rather than the politically charged mitnachlim – DR] of the [Jordan] valley will grow from 35 dunams [~0.25 acres] to 80 dunums in the nearest of future — an overall addition of 130%. ? The water allocation for the valley farmers will also from 30k cubic meters to 51k cubic meters per year.
“The settlement department said that this would allow the absorption of the second generation of the veteran settlers [mityashvim] of the Jordan valley and bringing in new families to the agricultural communities [yishuvim, rather than hitnachluyot]. The head of the settlement department, Yaron ben Ezra, said that the annual agricultural produce of the farmers of the Jordan Valley — not including Palestinian farmers — reached NIS 458m in 2010.”
The report then goes on to wax poetic about how much recycled water the “farmers of the valley” are using. One rather awkward paragraph suddenly informs us that 21 hitnachluyot, i.e. West Bank settlements, were set up in the valley since the Six Day war, but the entire piece so thoroughly depoliticised you would think the errant trivia par is talking about some other place…. more.. e-mail

Gaza flotilla versus diaspora Jewry
Gilad Atzmon, Redress7/2/2011
The Israelis are preparing themselves for another massacre on the high seas.
This should not take us by surprise: after all, people who are detached from a true notion of history, and driven by a continuous fantasy of destruction, would be the last to draw a lesson from their past.
Earlier today I learned that the Israeli Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry held a simulation exercise, ahead of the Gaza flotilla. In the course of the exercise, minister Yuly Edelstein formed a “special situation room” that is designated to disseminate “public diplomacy” on the internet, via messages, photos, video clips and additional material, with emphasis on diaspora communities, Jewish organizations and friends of Israel around the world.
Just in case you weren’t sure what the expected role of diaspora Jews is, I guess that by now minister Edelstein has provided the answer.
However, the most interesting part of the story is the detailed description of the flotilla simulation itself: the imaginary scenarios depicted by minister Edelstein and the Israeli army provide a glimpse into Israeli collective psychosis.
“The exercise was based on a scenario in which approximately 500 activists on approximately 10 ships reached Israel’s territorial waters at 1000,” says the Israeli document.
“Despite having been warned by the IDF [Israel Defence Forces], the ships continued on their way. At 1030, the Israel navy began approaching the ships. Stun grenades were thrown at the IDF soldiers, as well as one live grenade that caused a number of casualties to our forces.” more.. e-mail

UK deportation order against Palestinian leader to be appealed
Electronic Intifada: 1 Jul 2011 – Asa Winstanley The Electronic Intifada London After a furor in the British press, a political leader of Palestinian citizens in Israel remains in a British jail tonight. Authorities cut his speaking tour short by arresting him this week.more

Rabbi Lior: Unrelenting Extremism
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Jul 2011 – By Uri Avnery The archbishop of New York announces that any Catholic who rents out an apartment to a Jew commits a mortal sin and runs the risk of excommunication. A protestant priest in Berlin decrees that a Christian who employs a Jew will be banished from his parish. Impossible? Indeed. Except in Israel — in reverse, of course. The rabbi of Safed, a government employee, has decreed that it is strictly forbidden to let apartments to Arabs — including the Arab students at the local medical school. Twenty other town rabbis — whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers, mostly secular, including Arab citizens – have publicly supported this edict. A group of Israeli intellectuals lodged a complaint with the Attorney General, arguing that this is a case of criminal incitement. The Attorney General promised to investigate the matter with all due haste. That was half a year ago….more

Imagine if America Had an Arab Spring
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Jul 2011 – By Aurangzeb Qureshi Having had the luxury of being brought up in the West, I consider myself fortunate to not have lived under brutal dictators, self-serving monarchs, repressive laws and bloody conflicts. I always had the freedom to partake in protests, express dissent through writing and organize for particular causes. My personal liberties were never threatened and even airport customs has been kind post-9/11. In fact, it came to a point where I began to take my liberty for granted. It was not until the revolutions across the Atlantic that I began to fully appreciate the extent of my freedoms and the sacrifice that is required to maintain them. As the cry for liberty, freedom and prosperity in the Arab world continues to reverberate around the globe, I cannot not help but notice a Western tone of unintentional self-assurance and a mild superiority — a kind of democratic hubris. The…more

US Foreign Policy Invigorated at the Expense of Gaza
Dissident Voice: 1 Jul 2011 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made a series of stern and fiery statements recently, giving the impression that war is somehow upon us once again. Oddly, Clinton’s sudden reappearance into the Middle East diplomacy scene was triggered by the brave attempts of peace activists to break the siege on Gaza. In recent months, as Arab nations settled old scores with their insufferable dictators, US foreign policy started taking a back seat. Attempts at swaying Arab revolts teetered between bashful diplomatic efforts to sustain US interests — as was the case with Yemen — and military intervention, as in Libya, which is still being marketed to the US public as a humanitarian intervention, as opposed to the war it actually is. The indecisiveness and double-standards on display are hardly new. The US’ stance during the Tunisian popular revolution ranged between complete lack of interest (when the protests began brewing…more

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