VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 24 December 2011: Will Jerusalem cause a third Intifada?

24 December 2011 — VTJP


Ma’an News

Mediator: Political detainees free by end of month
12/24/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Nablus billionaire and political independent Munib al-Masri said Saturday in the Gaza Strip that political prisoners both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip would be released by the end of this month, following unity talks in Cairo.” By the end of the year, all political detainees will….

Israeli forces storm Azzun, say response to gunfire
12/24/2011 – QALQILIYA (Ma’an) – Israeli forces on Saturday morning closed all the entrances to the northern West Bank village of Azzun east of Qalqiliya preventing all residents from going in or out. Locals told Ma’an a large number of troops stormed the village in the morning. The soldiers completely shut down the northern….

Gunmen open fire on Fatah leader in Jordan Valley
12/24/2011 – NABLUS (Ma’an) — Unidentified gunmen on Friday opened fire on the home of a local Fatah leader in the Jordan Valley. Muhammad Abu al-Zour came under fire around midnight on Friday as he stepped out of a car outside his home. He was not injured in the incident although material damage was reported, a….

Report: Settler car comes under fire near Qalqiliya
12/24/2011 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A settler car came under fire on Saturday while driving near the illegal Maale Shomeron settlement in Qalqiliya. No injuries were reported but the vehicle was hit by bullets, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The Israeli army is searching the area for the perpetrators….

Latin patriarch demands ‘peace in the Holy Land’
12/24/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Latin Patriarch of Palestine and Jordan Fuad Twal arrived at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem on Saturday, as thousands gathered to celebrate the annual Christmas mass.” We ask the baby of Bethlehem to give us the peace we really need, peace in all the countries of the Middle East. We demand….

Salhi: Factions agree to further UN membership moves
12/24/2011 – CAIRO (Ma’an) — Palestinian People’s Party member Bassam Salhi said Saturday that Palestinian factions had agreed to support further moves to gain full membership at the United Nations. Salhi, speaking from Cairo, told Ma’an that during recent reconciliation meetings factions had also agreed to continue popular resistance against Israeli occupation….

Bethlehem shines on Christmas Eve
12/24/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – The birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, has been decorated since early morning Saturday preparing for Christmas Eve. Police officers deployed on the main roads and crossroads to keep order and secure parades expected to arrive during the day to the Manger Square and the Nativity Church. Local….

Gaza’s thriving tunnel imports unleash building boom
12/24/2011 – GAZA CITY (Reuters) — At last, Nael Zeyara has a steady job in construction, thanks to the smuggling of cement through Gaza’s network of tunnels to Egypt, an underground supply line that boosts the Israeli-blockaded enclave and creates jobs. Zeyara, 30, has been out of work for four years.” I lead a tough life….

Fatah official lashes out at Netanyahu
12/24/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah official Muhammad Shtayyeh on Friday evening lashed out at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a holiday dinner organized by Fatah.”If you don’t want to differentiate between Abu Ghneim (Israeli settlement Har Homa in northern Bethlehem) and Tel Aviv, we will not differentiate between Ramallah and….

Live report: Christmas in Palestine
12/25/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — 1500: Latin patriarch Fuad Twal is finally welcomed by thousands of worshipers en route to the Church of the Nativity, where he will pray in advance of the midnight mass marking Christmas. 1355: The patriarch has just passed through Star Street and is moments away from greeting the thousands gathered in….

Egyptians stop 3 Jewish Ethiopians at border
12/24/2011 – EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) – Security forces have stopped three Jewish Ethiopians attempting to cross the border near Israel and Gaza, an Egyptian security source said Saturday. The immigrants were trying to cross into Israel about two kilometers south of Kerem Shalom, according to the security official. One of the men suffered a broken foot….

Students protest against map of Palestine at Arab games
12/24/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Dozens of students affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement demonstrated in Gaza on Saturday against the way organizers of the Pan Arab games in Qatar depicted a map of Palestine. In the opening ceremony of the event some weeks ago, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were highlighted in yellow….

Masri: Political detainees to be released in days
12/24/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Nablus billionaire and political independent Munib al-Masri said Saturday in the Gaza Strip that political prisoners would be released by the end of this month, following unity talks in Cairo…. Related: Mediator: Political detainees free by end of month

New UN draft resolution on Syria after deadly attack
12/24/2011 – BEIRUT (Reuters) — World powers argued about the details of a UN resolution on Syria, after suicide car bombers lent a grim new face to its conflict by killing 44 in Damascus. European and US officials want the Security Council to impose an arms embargo and other sanctions on Syria’s government because of its….

Mourning Syrians rally for Assad, UN condemns bombs
12/24/2011 – BEIRUT (Reuters) — Funerals for the 44 victims of twin car bombs in Damascus turned into a strong display of support on Saturday for President Bashar Assad, hailed by crowds of mourners who denounced the United States and its Arab allies for interfering in Syria. The United Nations expressed grave concern over the bombings, which marked….

9 dead, 90 wounded in Yemen protest shooting
12/24/2011 – SANAA (Reuters) — At least nine people were killed and 90 others wounded when forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh opened fire on Saturday on protesters in the capital Sanaa demanding he face trial, a medical source said. Mohammed al-Qubati, a doctor at a field hospital that has treated protesters during 11 months of….

Egypt Islamists take two-thirds of 2nd-round vote
12/24/2011 – CAIRO (Reuters) — Egypt’s two leading Islamist parties won about two-thirds of votes for party lists in the second round of polling for a parliament that will help draft a new constitution after decades of autocratic rule, the election committee said on Saturday. The party list led by the Brotherhood’s Freedom and….

Bahrain says to drop free-speech cases after protests
12/24/2011 – DUBAI (Reuters) — Bahrain said on Saturday it would drop charges against 343 people whose offenses were linked to free speech, but the opposition said that was just a portion of those detained on such accusations during pro-democracy protests this year. The Sunni-led Gulf kingdom, under pressure to improve its rights record to secure a US….

Crowds flock to Bethlehem for Christmas
AlJazeera 24 Dec 2011 – Thousands converge in occupied West Bank city to celebrate the birth of Jesus following a year of political upheaval.

International Solidarity Movement

Christmas in Gaza
12/24/2011 – International Solidarity Movement – By Ruqaya Izzidien, 24 December 2011, Al Akhbar English – This Christmas marks the third anniversary of the 2008-2009 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip; a winter in which 19-year-old Ramy El Jelda saw his home bombed just two days after Christmas. He returned to the site a couple of days later to find….

Kufr Qaddoum: Demonstrators photograph military violence despite their weapons and cameras
12/24/2011 – International Solidarity Movement – By Amal, 23 December 2011, International Solidarity Movement, West Bank – The demand in Kufr Qaddoum for their main road to be reopened continues. Today’s demonstration exceeded the number of participants in the past few protests. Approximately 200 people joined together against this illegal street closure. Many of the supporters came from different parts….

New religious recruits to try and change Israel Police ‘from within’
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Netanyahu to urge Haredi politicians to prevent sex segregation
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Avirama Golan / On the exclusion of women, Netanyahu is slick and shallow
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Jewish inmate allegedly smuggled phones to security prisoners
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Israel a few weeks away from violating its own Clean Air Law
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Mikhail Gorbachev calls on Putin to step down amid mass protests across Russia
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Tens of thousands celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Netanyahu calls for action against exclusion of women in Israel
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

More than 100,000 take to the streets across Russia to protest election fraud
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Gaza’s thriving tunnel imports unleash building boom
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Egypt’s Islamists consolidate gains in second round of elections
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Thousands gather to celebrate Christmas Eve in Bethlehem
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Thousands attend funerals for Syria bomb victims
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Tens of thousands rally across Russia against Putin
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Shots fired at Israeli vehicle in suspected West Bank terror attack attempt
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Libya celebrates independence for first time in four decades
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Thousands gather in Bethlehem ahead of Christmas Eve
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Iran opens ten-day military exercise in the Persian Gulf
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

UN Security Council condemns Syria terrorist attacks
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2011

Jerusalem Post

UN cuts budget for 2nd time in history
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2011 – Amid global economic downturn, UN sets budget at $5.15b., down $260m. from previous budget.

Thousands attend Bethlehem Christmas mass
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Midnight service attended by Latin Patriarch of Jlem, PA President; Abbas: Settlements are “immoral and indefensible.”

Hamas: If we join PLO, it’s to keep it true to its mission
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Islamists demand scrapping of two-state solution, Oslo Accords; senior Hamas official: “Anyone who thinks Hamas has changed its positions is living in an illusion.”

MK Erdan wants smaller electricity price hike
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Environmental protection minister asks to slash electricity price increase expected due to loss of Egyptian gas supply.

Jerusalem’s ‘Santa’ of traditional foreign food
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Mahaneh Yehuda store is ‘Christmas Central’ in city where holiday keeps low profile.

Syria: Al-Qaida to blame for intelligence HQ blasts
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – 44 killed in attack; Opposition, analysts suspect inside job; Damascus: Bombs may be part of “Zionist-American project.”

Gorbachev: I would step down in Putin’s place
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Former Soviet leader says Putin era has run its course as thousands take to streets to dispute elections.

‘PM’s immigration bill could violate refugee rights’
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Exclusive: Letter obtained by ‘Post’ reveals UN agency concern over bill that would make it easier to detain, deport illegals.

Minorities and the Arab Spring: The great divide
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Democratic principles such as equality for all and tolerance and respect for the law are foreign to young Arab revolutionaries.

Leading women pledge to battle against gender segregation
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Livni: We must increase struggle and wake up those who are asleep

Health Scan: ZAKA men teach Arab women first aid
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – The rescue and evacuation organization launches a course for Arab women on home safety, accident prevention and after-care.

‘Kosher psychology’ gives hope to haredim
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – There are ‘encouraging signs’ haredi community undergoing a quiet revolution, says J’lem-based psychologist Naftali Fish.

Bath beckons
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – The only British city to be named a World Heritage site is a feast for the eye.

US regrets Cuba failure to free US citizen Gross
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – State Department says it deplores Cuba’s exclusion of Gross from list of 2,900 prisoners to be released.

Leef bringing social movement message to UK
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Israeli protest leader to speak at Limmud conference in Coventry.

PM calls for police to protect women from extremists
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Netanyahu directs public security minister to involve police in violence by extremist haredim against women; prime minister also calls on A-G to ensure laws against gender exclusion enforced.

My Word: An ordinary day
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – There is little evidence to support US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments that Israel is headed the direction of Iran.

Mideast Christians are the litmus test of Arab Spring
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – There must be a determined diplomatic campaign to ensure the rights and safety of the Middle East’s indigenous Christians.

Out There: One bag blues
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – The new one-bag policy – taken by most major airlines with the exception of Aeroflot – alters the whole going-to- America experience.

Armenian memorial
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Erdogan’s unmistakable aggressive stance towards the French parliamentary initiative contains a message for Israel too.

Egypt Islamists take two-thirds of 2nd-round vote
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi parties keep momentum from first round; liberal Wafd Party pushed into third place.

Defense Ministry to probe technology sales to Iran
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – “We will decide whether to launch investigation based on findings” of initial probe, ministry says.

Jordan Brotherhood calls for arrests after clashes
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Islamic Action Front call comes after anti-, pro-government forces clash in city of Mafraq in northern Jordan.

W. Bank: Israeli car shot in suspected terror attack
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Vehicle fired at while on road to Ma’ale Shomron; none injured but damage caused to car; IDF investigating incident.

Ban, UNSC condemn Syria violence
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – UN Secretary-General calls for immediate end to violence; UNSC sends condolences to car bomb attack victims’ families.

Ramat Gan: Woman, 60, dies in apartment fire
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Firefighter, MDA teams arrive at the scene to find woman killed, apartment entirely destroyed by flames.

UN Security Council condemns Syria violence
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Ban urges Syrian gov’t to “fully, speedily implement peace plan”; UNSC sends condolences to car bomb attack victims’ families.

Bernstein modernizes Hanukka dishes
Jerusalem Post 24 Dec 2011 – Chef Michelle Bernstein likes to reinterpret some of the Hanukka dishes from her Latin-Jewish upbringing to celebrate the holiday.

Tackling ideological dissent
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2011 – The method for dealing with delinquents should not be to lock them in jail.


Manning prosecution lays basis for terror charge against WikiLeaks founder Assange
Uruknet December 24, 2011 – In pre-trial proceedings against Army Private Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Maryland this week, the Army’s lead prosecutor presented evidence purportedly linking Manning directly to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and alleged that by publishing documents leaked by Manning, WikiLeaks and Assange had aided terrorists, including Al Qaeda. The proceedings concluded Thursday after…

13 killed in clashes between Yemeni gov’t forces, protesters
Uruknet December 24, 2011 – The death toll from clashes between forces loyal to Yemeni outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh and tens of thousands of southern protesters rose to 13 while 200 others were injured, medics and officials said Saturday. The clashes took place when the government forces attempted to force the protesters, who were marching since…

Three years ago: A “normal morning” turns to horror in Gaza
Uruknet December 24, 2011 – It was a few minutes past eleven. I woke up “early” to start preparing for my school exams that were due to start in a couple of weeks. It was a lovely morning, warm and sunny. The December sunlight filtered through the curtained windows and so beautifully decorated the carpeted floor. Everything…

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood denies claiming responsibility for Damascus bombings
Uruknet December 24, 2011 – Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood has denied any involvement in Friday’s bomb attack in Damascus that killed 44 people, Al Arabiya reported Saturday afternoon. The spokesman for Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, Zuhair Salem said the claim was on a fake website created by the regime. Salem, speaking from London, said the claim was “completely fabricated…

The Bethlehem Call: Here we stand – Stand with us
Uruknet December 24, 2011 – How long, O God, will they steal our livelihood? Oppress, imprison and humiliate our people? Deprive our children of their childhood? Indeed how long, God, will the multitudes of Christians of the world ignore the anguish of our Palestinian sisters and brothers and all of the oppressed? “Come and see,” said the…

EU Protests Israeli Occupation Policies
Uruknet December 24, 2011 – On December 23, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, “EU voices protest over Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, West Bank,” saying: “A day after four European Union members of the UN Security Council strongly criticized Israel’s decision to speed up construction of settlements.” “EU ambassador to Israel Andrew Standley on Thursday submitted a…

Prosecute Bush and Cheney, For “Justice” To be Served in Bradley Manning, Wikileaks Case
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Private Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing-for his role in leaking a treasure trove of U.S. Army information to whistleblowing website Wikileaks-has ended. The Article 32 hearing’s outcome will decide whether the 24-year-old Manning will face court-martial with a possible death sentence hanging over his head. But , if Manning is to face “justice” where…

Syria News – December 23, 2011 (Warning: Graphic Videos)
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Number of martyrs in Syria rose to 21 among them 2 children. The Local Coordination Committees in Syria have recorded since the arrival of Arab league delegation to Syria 56 martyrs thus far, among them 4 children… Idlib: Jabal Zawyeh: Muhammad Adnan Duqmaq (15 years old) was martyred by Syrian security’s bullet…

Iraq crisis stirs protests in Sunni strongholds
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Several thousand Iraqis in Sunni Muslim strongholds protested on Friday against Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, responding to his moves against two Sunni leaders and taking to the streets a day after fatal bombings hit the capital Baghdad… After Friday prayers, with Sunni imams warning Maliki was seeking to foment sectarian divisions,…

Israeli soldiers commit 2 brutal assaults on 16 year old boy
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Dawood Yousef Sharaf, 16, was brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers on two separate occasions in the past week in Silwan. Here he recounts the dramatic story to Silwanic. On Thursday, 15 December Dawood was on his way home from school in East Jerusalem. As he passed by the Mercy Cemetary near the…

Egypt: The Persistence of Protest
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – SCAF’s unrelenting and violent crackdown on protesters over the past few weeks failed to stop hundreds of thousands of Egyptians – including those who support the de facto military rulers – from taking to the streets Friday. Cairo – Tahrir Square once again became an epicenter of street action, with hundreds of…

Israel destroys six wells used for agricultural near Hebron
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – The Israeli occupation authorities have demolished three farm buildings and six wells in Ezna to the west of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. According to the Mayor of Ezna, Gamal Tmesa, Israeli forces “used bulldozers to demolish five agricultural wells and water tanks as well as a public well belonging to…

Medicare Privatization Plans
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – The idea’s been around for years. More recently, bipartisan support’s been growing. Various plans have circulated. A 2006 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study assessed “Designing a Premium Support System (PSS) for Medicare.” It discussed pros, cons, other choices and implications in terms of costs and recipient benefits. In 1995, Henry Aaron and…

Iraq : The Legacy, Part Seven
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – …Here in the US, this issue is ignored. But it is not going to go away, just like the poisoning from Agent Orange did not end when US troops left Vietnam. The biggest difference is that this poison in Falljuah and other areas of Iraq, will last for hundreds of years. The…

Israeli Sniper Shoots Nabi Saleh Protester with Live Fire (Video)
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Two weeks after the killing of Mustafa Tamimi during a demonstration in the village, an Israeli sniper shot a protester with live 0.22″ caliber ammunition, banned for crowd control purposes. Earlier today, an Israeli military sniper opened fire at demonstrators in the village of Nabi Saleh, injuring one in the thigh. The…

Iraq snapshot – December 23 , 2011
Uruknet December 23, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Christmas gets cancelled in Iraq, the Baghdad meet-up gets the axe, Nouri continues to bluster as the political crisis gets deeper, and more… The White House screwed over Iraqiya before. That is who the reporters mean by ‘Sunni Muslim minority,’ by the way. And, no, Iraqiya is not ‘Sunni.’…

Vying for Detention: Two liberal Democratic Senators Give Us a Police State for Christmas
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Predator Odrona is about to sign a military authorization bill [Carl Levin’s S-1867] that puts every one of us at risk of being detained by our own military. If the government decides that you are a terrorist threat, the military will be able to kidnap you and deny you the right to…

US Latest Deal’ With Taliban Collapses
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Less than a week ago officials reported that the latest round of super-secret talks with the Taliban were nearing a potential breakthrough. As it so often has in the past, the deal has collapsed, with officials blaming President Hamid Karzai… Several previous “deals” have also ended in failure, in many cases with…

Now The Bombs
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Many Syrians have been awaiting this moment with dread. A further step down into bloody chaos and incipient civil war, a further step into the dark. This morning two car bombs exploded at security installations in Kafar Souseh, Damascus. At least thirty people were killed and over 100 injured. Who’s to blame?…

Report: Israeli company sold surveillance equipment to Iran
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – An Israeli company has been selling Iran Internet-monitoring equipment through a distributor in Denmark, Bloomberg news agency reported on Friday. The report cites Israeli and Danish business partners of an Iranian man named Hossein, to whom the equipment was sent. According to the report, the company, Allot Communications Ltd, sent the surveillance…

Gaza – Narratives Under Siege: Overcrowded living
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Muhammed Salman Abu Rashad, 45, Amna Abu Rashad, 31, and their nine children live in the Jabalia refugee camp, one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The family represent just 11 of the 1.1 million refugees who make up the vast majority of Gaza’s population of approximately 1.7 million people….

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (15- 21 December 2011)
Uruknet December 23, 2011 – Summary: Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (15 – 21 December 2011): Shooting: During the reporting period, a Palestinian civilian was killed when fell from his bicycle as he was attempting to escape Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian civilians,…

Daily Star

Jolie hopes Bosnia War movie speaks to her generation
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Angelina Jolie didn’t plan on directing a movie. But the more she learned about the 1990s Bosnia war, the more she felt responsible for bringing it home to her generation

All eyes on Suarez, Kean at Anfield
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Dalglish has leapt to the defence of Blackburn manager Steve Kean as Liverpool’s Suarez prepares for his first Anfield game since receiving an eight-match ban from the Football Association.

Chelsea wary of wounded Fulham
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has warned his team-mates against complacency as they prepare to face a shellshocked Fulham side in a Boxing Day derby on Monday.

Giggs leads way for resurgent United
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to the “incredible” contribution of Ryan Giggs as Man. United look to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City on Monday.

Cuba to pardon some 3,000 prisoners
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Cuban President Raul Castro has unveiled plans to release some 3,000 prisoners in the largest mass pardon in the regime’s history, but an American held for two years is not among them.

Intel’s smartphone guru angles for smooth landing
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Mike Bell likens his new job at Intel Corp to piloting a glider.

Attacks, military crackdown kill up to 100 in Nigeria
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Attacks blamed on Islamist group Boko Haram followed by a heavy military crackdown have killed up to 100 people in the north of Nigeria.

Libyan economy minister quits: PM
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Libya’s economy minister Tahar Sharkass, who also held a post under Moamer Kadhafi, has resigned after protests demanding the exclusion of former regime officials.

Iran denies banning trade finance for imports from UAE
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Iran denied on Saturday reports that the country had prohibited financing for imports of products from the United Arab Emirates.

Some charges against Bahrain protesters dropped: BNA
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Bahrain authorities on Saturday dropped charges relating to freedom of expression in 34 cases linked to anti-regime protests in February and March.

Yahoo board continues talks on Asian deal: report
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Yahoo Inc’s board of directors has agreed to keep exploring a plan to split off the Internet company’s Asian assets in a complex deal valued at $17 billion.

Yemen’s Saleh vows to leave, troops kill 9 protesters
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday he would leave for the United States and give way to a successor.

Mel Gibson divorce official
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Actor and director Mel Gibson has been officially divorced from his estranged wife Robyn Moore after a 31-year marriage, court records showed.

Pope kicks off Christmas with evening Mass
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Pope Benedict XVI kicks off a busy two weeks of Christmas celebrations with an evening Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

De Niro becomes a father again at 68: reports
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Actor Robert De Niro, 68, and his wife, Grace Hightower, have welcomed their second child, a baby girl named Helen Grace, media reports said Saturday.

Ogero says to up net speeds at 60 more stations
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Lebanon’s state-run telecom provider Ogero announced over the weekend it would begin increasing Internet speeds to at least 1 mbs at some 60 stations throughout the country, the National New Agency reported.

Mansour: Lebanon will not take part in Syria observer mission
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 Foreign Affairs Minister said over the weekend that Lebanese government has taken a decision not to participate in the Arab League observer mission to Syria.

Sleep disorders common among cops: study
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 A survey from the United States and Canada found 40 percent of police officers had symptoms of a sleep disorder, including sleep apnea and insomnia.

46 people killed in Nigeria unrest: medical sources
Daily Star 24 Dec 2011 A wave of attacks in northern Nigerian cities attributed to a radical Islamist group killed 46 people, medical sources said Saturday, raising the death toll sharply from an earlier seven.

YNet News

Livnat: Women’s exclusion is violence
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Minister strongly condemns manifestations of exclusion of women from public life, but accepts certain realities within haredi sector. ‘I’m not sure it bothers me if in Beitar Illit they want to segregate their bus lines,’ she tells Ynet ….

Angry Syrians bury Damascus bombing dead
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – ….

Pope kicks off Christmas with evening Mass
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – ….

Anti-Putin protests draw tens of thousands
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – ….

Rockets fired at south; no injuries
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Rocket explodes in open field in Hof Ashkelon, mortar shell hits Eshkol Regional Council ….

Rocket explodes in Ashkelon Coast Regional Council; no injuries
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – ….

Court releases haredi man who spat on woman
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Beit Shemesh police arrested 10 haredim in past few months who attacked women for immodest attire. Latest suspect released on bail ….

US regrets Cuba failure to free Jewish US citizen
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – ….

No jail time for IDF officer who stole weapons
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Officer stole explosive materials, bowie knife, revolver bullets during Operation Cast Lead; to be demoted to second lieutenant, do community service for month and a half ….

PM orders firm hand against women’s exclusion
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Netanyahu asks internal security minister to instruct police to act against violent attacks targeting women in public sphere. ‘We shall not let radical groups hurt women’s rights,’ he declares ….

Egypt’s Islamists seek changes to Israel peace treaty
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Al-Nour, Egypt’s Salafi party, announces it will honor peace treaty so as not to violate international agreements but stresses it will work to amend ‘clauses which exploit us’ ….

Thousands visit Bethlehem on Christmas Eve
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Foreign, local pilgrims visit biblical town on eve of traditional mass; Mayor Victor Batarseh expresses hope that near future will bring Palestinian state ….

The problem with our media
YNet News, 24 Dec 2011 – Op-ed: Israel’s media outlets seem to be hopping from one issue to the next at dizzying pace ….


U.S. Loses Leverage in Iraq Now That Troops Are Out
New York Times 24 Dec 2011 – President Obama says he has no intention of sending troops back to Iraq, even if the recent violence and political turmoil devolves into civil war.

Forces Loyal to Yemen’s President Fire on Protesters
New York Times 24 Dec 2011 – Hours after the killing of at least eight protesters in Yemen’s capital, Sana, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he would be leaving soon for the United States.

Assad Trades Blame With Protesters for Bombings in Syria
New York Times 24 Dec 2011 – President Bashar al-Assad’s government faulted both Al Qaeda and the protest movement for two attacks in Damascus on Friday, while his opponents have accused the government.

VIDEO: A slice of life at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank
Mondoweiss – Video: Machson Watch As you watch this video keep in mind that the Qalandia checkpoint is not a border crossing between Israel and the West Bank. Like most Israeli checkpoints in the occupied territories , Qalandia is located squarely in Palestinian territory and prevents Palestinians from traveling…

Right-wing attack group caught fabricating quotes in effort to smear critics of Israel
Mondoweiss –   Smearing critics of Israel as anti-Semitic may have cost Josh Block a perch at a Washington think tank , but right-wing groups continue to use the slur to attack those in solidarity with Palestinians. This time, though, the right-wing Zionist group Stand With Us (SWU) was…

BDS victory: Veolia loses huge waste-treatment contract in London boroughs
Mondoweiss – Veolia logo The following press release went out yesterday concerning Veolia, the French company that built the tramline serving settlements in occupied East Jerusalem: Human rights campaigners are celebrating after the West London Waste Authority (‘WLWA’) excluded French multinational Veolia from a £485 million contract covering…

My own Mondo Award inspiration entry: a long-distance marriage born of the Arab Spring
Mondoweiss – A few days ago in our call to entries for this year’s Mondo Awards I mentioned how we became acquainted with many new writers last year as a result of the Gaza Two Years Later series. When I need inspiration sometimes I check out their blogs….

Pentagon asks for extra $100 million to Israel for Iran defense (and Congress doubles the tip)
Mondoweiss – Iron Dome. (Photo: Shaul Golan/Yedioth Ahronoth) Congress approved an additional $235 million in U.S. military aid to Israel , Ynet reports. The U.S. allocates to Israel approximately $2.5 billion in aid, per year. The request, which boosts the total amount allocated for 2012 to $25 million more…

Hamas’ Meshal Affirms Support for Palestinian State Within 1967 Borders and ‘Popular Resistance’
Tikun Olam – An image that makes Israeli hardliners cringe and fear: Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshal making nice during Cairo unity talks Following on a post I published here about a Wahington Post story on the “new pragmatism” of Hamas, Khaled Meshal expanded on these themes in an…

550 Palestinian Prisoners Released in Exchange, Waiting Families Attacked
Palestine Solidarity Project 24 Dec 2011 – On Sunday, December 18, 2011, 550 Palestinian political prisoners were released from Israeli prisons as part of the second phase of the prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit. Thousands of loved ones gathered all day long outside of Ofer prison in the Ramallah district of the West…

Page by page, Marwan Barghouti’s anti-war tome walked out of prison
Joseph Dana 24 Dec 2011 – Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza celebrated the return of their loved ones last Sunday as the final wave of prisoners were released in an exchange between Hamas and Israel. However, one prisoner was notably absent. Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah leader known by many…

Christmas Mass held in Bethlehem
BBC 24 Dec 2011 – Thousands flock to Bethlehem for Christmas celebrations, culminating in Midnight Mass at the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born.

‘Eight die’ in new Yemen protest
BBC 24 Dec 2011 – Deadly clashes erupt again in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as outgoing President Saleh vows to leave temporarily for the US to ease tension.

Libya celebrates independence day
BBC 24 Dec 2011 – Libya marks the anniversary of its independence in 1951 – or the first time since the fall of Col Muammar Gaddafi.

Assad praised at Syria funerals
BBC 24 Dec 2011 – Thousands of Syrians attend the funerals of the 44 victims of Friday’s Damascus bomb attacks, with mourners pledging support for President Assad.

In the West Bank, a horror story
Sabbah report 24 Dec 2011 – Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and the Israeli state’s failure to adequately respond to it highlight an important aspect of the Israeli occupation’s Apartheid-like policies.

The Israeli Jewish War on Islam in Palestine
Sabbah report 24 Dec 2011 – As Israeli Jewish terrorist attacks on mosques in occupied Palestine are assuming a phenomenal frequency. Indeed, with the Israeli government and security establishment doing next to nothing to put an end to this wanton and unprovoked terror, a huge fire is being started in the region….


Will Jerusalem cause a third Intifada?
Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an News Agency 12/24/2011
      This may be a journalistic hunch, but I have a feeling that we are about to witness an explosion in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this time again over Jerusalem.
     In 2000, a Palestinian-Israeli human rights film festival took place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nazareth. The concluding event, during which the name of the winning film was to be announced, was scheduled for Ramallah. It never happened, as protesters against Israeli-Palestinian normalization marched towards the location of the event and forced its cancellation.
     The reason I relate this story is that this week, two similar events were canceled. For more than two years, Israeli and Palestinian peace activists have been working on an interesting concept: a Palestinian-Israeli confederation.
     The idea was translated into a draft constitution and elections were to be held for parliament and co-presidents earlier this month.
     Candidates and other speakers were scheduled to meet the public in three events, in Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel, at Talitha Kumi School in Beit Jala (the only location legally accessible to West Bank Palestinians and Israelis) and in Haifa. Sari Nusseibeh and Yael Dayyan were among the speakers. The first two events never happened as a result of consistent and angry protest by Palestinians.
     Another similar events was canceled this week. The Palestinian Israeli Journal had scheduled a conference at the Galaxy Hotel, in East Jerusalem, to launch its latest issue, titled “The impact of the Arab Spring on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.” more.. e-mail

Through force alone
Saleh Al-Naami, Al-Ahram Weekly 12/22/2011
      With the second phase of the prisoner swap deal concluded, many Palestinians believe it is only by force that they can exact concessions from Israel.
     Fatemah Al-Jarbouni, 68, is trying to be by herself as she weeps sometimes in silence and sometimes wails out loud. She has lost hope that her daughter, Lina, serving a 17-year sentence, will be released from an Israeli jail as part of the second and final phase of the deal to exchange prisoners between Hamas and Israel that took place on Sunday evening.
     At the family home in the town of Araba in Al-Jaleel region in northern Palestine, family members decided not to turn on the television as Arab and Israeli satellite channels continuously report on the deal, broadcasting footage of released male and female prisoners with their families. Lina’s family don’t want to make it any more painful for the mother, whose daughter is one of two female prisoners who were not released because Hamas negotiators did not know that they were imprisoned, and therefore did not put their names on the list in the first phase.
     Now Lina will remain in prison until 2019, when she finishes her sentence.
     Hamas was embarrassed to find out that its negotiating team did not have complete information on the number and identities of female Palestinian prisoners in occupation prisons, which left the two women out of the deal. The two are also Israeli nationals and Tel Aviv usually refuses to include Palestinian Israeli nationals in prisoner exchange deals.
     Hamas spokesmen have tried to explain what happened, but their justifications do not convince the families of either woman behind bars. A source in Hamas told Al-Ahram Weekly that a deal was struck between Egypt, Israel and Hamas to release the women in a special agreement later. more.. e-mail

America’s growing isolation
By Alan Hart, Redress 12/22/2011
      A longer headline would have added the words because of President Obama’s grovelling for Jewish campaign funding and votes.
     On 19 December, in the Jewish Daily Forward, Josh Nathan-Kazis wrote this:
     “Top-level Jewish fundraisers from President Obama’s 2008 campaign are sticking with the president in 2012.
     “Despite reports that President Obama faces a loss of Jewish funders due to his Middle East policy, analysis of a list of elite bundlers from his 2008 race shows no defections among the president’s top Jewish supporters in 2012.”
     That’s not good news for the would-be presidents on the Republican side who are grovelling for Jewish campaign funds and votes.
     World condemnation
     On the same day, in what the BBC’s Barbara Plett called “a highly unusual move”, all the regional and political groupings on the UN Security Council sharply criticized Israeli settlement activities. They said in their statements that “continued settlement building threatened the chances of a future Palestinian state”. They also expressed dismay at rising settler violence. (“They” were the envoys representing the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab Group and a loose coalition of emerging states known as IBSA, or India, Brazil, South Africa.) more.. e-mail

Three years ago: A “normal morning” turns to horror in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 24 Dec 2011 – Mohammed Suliman The Electronic Intifada London Three years ago, Israel began its savage 22-day long bombardment of Gaza. Looking back, Mohammed Suliman recalls that there seemed to be “no beginning and no end to the bombing.”more

One Jew’s Christmas
Dissident Voice: 24 Dec 2011 – I am a Jew. I don’t mind receiving Christmas cards or being wished a “Merry Christmas” from friends, clerks, or even in junk mail trying to sell me something no sane person should ever buy. My wife and I even send Christmas cards, with messages of peace and joy, to our friends who are Christians or who we don’t know their religion. I like Christmas music and Christmas carolers, even if some have voices that crack now and then, perhaps from the cold. At home, from as early as I could remember, my family bought and decorated a Christmas tree, and gave gifts to each other and our friends. Usually we put a Star of David on the tree, undoubtedly an act of heresy for many Jews and Christians. We learned about Christmas—and about Chanukah, the “feast of lights,” an eight day celebration of joy and remembrance of the rededication…more

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