VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 16 August 2012

16 August 2012  — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Father, Mother And Children Injured By Settlers Firebomb
IMEMC – Palestinian medical sources in Bethlehem reported Thursday that a cab driver, a Palestinian father, mother and their children, from Nahhalin town, near Bethlehem, suffered moderate to severe injuries after fundamentalist Israeli settlers hurled a firebomb at the Palestinian cab. …

PCHR Weekly Report: 8 wounded, 9 abducted by Israeli forces this week
IMEMC – In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 09 – 15 Aug. 2012, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that a Palestinian civilian was wounded by invading Israeli forces, and 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child and a woman, were wounded in Israeli attacks on nonviolent demonstrations. …

Six Palestinians Wounded, Some Seriously In Settler Attack On Their Car Near Hebron
IMEMC – Six Palestinians were wounded three, seriously when Israeli settlers hurled a cocktail bomb at the car they were riding on the Bethlehem-Hebron road on Thursday. …

Report: “Salafist Group Claims Responsibility For Firing Rockets Into Eilat”
IMEMC – Israeli Central Issues newspaper reported, Thursday morning, claimed that a group known as the “Egyptian Salasfist Front” in northern Sinai claimed responsibility for firing two missiles into Eilat coastal city. The missiles landed and exploded in an open area leading to no injuries or damages. …

United Church of Canada Decides To Boycott Settlement Products
IMEMC – Following around six hours of deliberation, the United Church of Canada (UCC), the largest Protestant denomination in the country, voted for boycotting products made in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. …

Explosions Heard In Eilat
IMEMC – The Israeli Police said that the two explosions were heard on Wednesday evening in Eilat coastal city, south of the country; the Israeli army starting a search campaign in the area to examine whether the explosions were a result of a Grad missile attack. …

Ma’an News

Witnesses: Israeli forces fire on eastern Gaza
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli military vehicles crossed into the Gaza Strip east of Rafah on Thursday, as residents heard heavy gunfire but no injuries were reported. Three tanks and four bulldozers crossed near the al-Nahda neighborhood east of al-Shouka, witnesses said. They said forces fired guns and launched smoke bombs. A Palestinian militant….

Report: Israeli ministers order Hebron shop handed to settlers
8/16/2012 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A committee of Israeli government ministers has ordered the army to transfer possession of a building in the southern West Bank city of Hebron to Israeli settlers, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The building in central Hebron was a Palestinian shop until it was closed by military order after….

Minister: Prisoners launch initiative for PoW status
8/16/2012 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian detainees in Israel are launching an initiative to press for prisoner of war status, the Palestinian Authority prisoners minister said Thursday. Palestinians in Israel’s Eshel jail have developed a national legal and political program to push their cause internationally, Issa Qaraqe said in a statement. The initiative aims….

Military court postpones decision on hunger striker’s detention
8/16/2012 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court on Thursday postponed a ruling on the administrative detention of long term hunger striker Hassan Safadi, a lawyer for the prisoners society said. Ahmad Safyeh said that Safadi entered Ofer military court in a wheelchair and looked tired and thin, suggesting he is in a serious health….

Medics: Settlers hurl Molotov cocktails at Palestinian family
8/16/2012 – HEBRON (Ma’an) — Five Palestinians were seriously injured on Thursday after Israeli settlers threw Molotov cocktails at their car south of Bethlehem, medics said. The injured were all from the Hassan family, and included four-year-olds Iman and Muhammad, their parents Ayman, 37, and Jamila, 25, and Hassan Hassan who was driving, Red Crescent official….

Finding a safe space for Palestinian queer activism
8/16/2012 – By Brandon Davis – JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — In 2008, Laila was a recent college graduate and committed anti-occupation activist in her hometown of Nablus. But there was one issue her groups could not adequately address: her sexuality.”I started testing the waters, looking at what organizations are out there, what’s the discourse,” said….

2 lawmakers freed from administrative detention
8/16/2012 – HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities released two lawmakers affiliated to Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council on Wednesday, officials said. The two lawmakers are Hatem Qafisheh and Mohammad Maher Bader, a Ma’an correspondent in Hebron said. Qafisheh spent 22 months in administrative detention while Bader spent about 17 months behind bars, the….

Mass rally planned for Jerusalem Day in Gaza
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — All factions in Gaza will rally on Friday to mark Jerusalem Day, a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader said Thursday. Mahmoud Khalaf, events coordinator for the committee of national and Islamic forces, said the protest is in response to Israel’s confiscation of land and settlement….

Laylat al-Qadr brings hope of an open city of Jerusalem
8/16/2012 – By Dr Mahdi Abdul-Hadi – On the night of 14th August, Palestinian Jerusalemites and West Bankers came together in the Holy City to celebrate Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan upon which Muslims believe that the first revelation of the Quran was delivered to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE. Over 200,000 Palestinians gathered at…. Related: Analysis: Jerusalem’s 360,000 ‘orphans’

Analysis: Jerusalem’s 360,000 ‘orphans’
8/16/2012 – By Daoud Kuttab – Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are experiencing perhaps their worst times. With the continuation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the uncertainty of the future of Jerusalem, the 360,000 residents of East Jerusalem are political orphans. They are not allowed to be part of the Palestinian Authority, do not possess its passport, nor…. Related: Laylat al-Qadr brings hope of an open city of Jerusalem

The ABCs of Israeli demolitions in the West Bank
8/16/2012 – RAMALLAH (IRIN) — Rasmiyye Hamande has lived in a cave in the West Bank for most of her life, which may have been a blessing in disguise.”This cave,” she says, “can’t be demolished so easily.” Other places in the village of Al-Mufaqara, in Area C — the 60 percent of the West Bank under….

Report: Egypt exceeded troops permitted in Sinai
8/16/2012 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Egypt has sent more troops to its Sinai region than are permitted under agreements with Israel, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Thursday. Since an attack on Egyptian border guards that killed 16 soldiers, Egypt has deployed large forces in the border peninsula to crack down on Islamist militants, to…. Related: Egypt security official: Forces deployed without Israel approval

Israel’s Barak says Iran attack decision still pending
8/16/2012 – JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel is still weighing a course of action against Iran’s nuclear program, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday, confirming a US assessment that no decision on a military attack had been made.” There is a forum of nine (ministers), there is a (security) cabinet, and a decision, when it is….

Egypt security official: Forces deployed without Israel approval
8/16/2012EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — An Egyptian security official said Thursday that Egypt had deployed extra security forces to the Sinai peninsula without seeking Israeli approval as required under agreements between the countries. Israeli daily Haaretz reported earlier that Egypt had exceeded the terms of agreements with Israel on the number and type of troops…. Related: Report: Egypt exceeded troops permitted in Sinai

Report: Israeli ministerial aide holds talks with Syria opposition
8/16/2012 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — The bureau chief of Israeli deputy minister Ayoob Kara held talks with Syrian rebels in Bulgaria, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Thursday. Kara’s aide Mandi Safadi’s visit allegedly prompted an angry response from Israel’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Shaul Kamisa, who contacted Israel’….

Peres says trusts Obama’s pledge to prevent nuclear-armed Iran
8/16/2012 – JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday came out against any go-it-alone Israeli attack on Iran, saying he trusted US President Barack Obama’s pledge to prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons. His comments appeared to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who have both raised the prospect of….

Ministry: Bulgaria bus bomber may have had accomplice
8/16/2012 – SOFIA, Bulgaria (Reuters) — A suicide bomber who killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria may have had an accomplice who carried a fake US driving license, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday. Officials handed out two computer-generated images of a white, unshaven man, aged 25-30, who they said have been linked to the attack on….

Gaza ministry finalizes prisoners to be freed for Eid al-Fitr
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza’s Ministry of Justice has completed preparations for the release of detainees on the closing holiday of Ramadan this weekend, an official said. Ahmad al-Kahlout, head of the ministry’s inspection committee, said official visits had taken place to update the lists of detainees due to be…. Related: Haniyeh frees 99 prisoners for Eid al-Fitr

Fatah, Hamas urged to stop ‘media crossfire’
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The head of an independent coalition of Palestinian figures called on Fatah and Hamas on Thursday to stop attacking one another in the media. Yasser Wadiya urged the rival factions to instead implement agreements toward national reconciliation. He said Palestinians across the region were waiting for serious progress to alleviate….

Factions dispute move for PLO joint electoral list in Nablus
8/16/2012 – NABLUS (Ma’an) — Party members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization will run on a joint list in Nablus in upcoming municipal elections, a Fatah leader said Thursday. But two PLO factions — the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Struggle Front — disputed that a joint list had been agreed. PFLP said….

Hamas: Elections a result, not condition, of reconciliation
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas on Thursday insisted that it supports elections, but that reconciliation must come first. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri criticized recent remarks by President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said there would be no reconciliation without elections.” These statements are a coup on the reconciliation deal which makes elections….

Haniyeh frees 99 prisoners for Eid al-Fitr
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Some 99 prisoners were released Thursday as a gesture by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to celebrate the Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr, prisons director Nasser Suleiman said. Haniyeh instructed the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Interior to free the prisoners and to give temporary leave to 163 detainees so they…. Related: Gaza ministry finalizes prisoners to be freed for Eid al-Fitr

10-year-old drowns in central Gaza
8/16/2012GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Palestinian boy drowned Wednesday in a farm pond in the town of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, a health ministry spokesman said. Ashraf al-Qidra said 10-year-old Ibrahim Abu Mehrab’s body was transferred to hospital….

Jihadist group warns Egyptian army over Sinai crackdown
8/16/2012 – CAIRO (Reuters) — An Islamist militant group operating in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula bordering with Israel warned the Egyptian army on Wednesday that an ongoing military crackdown on jihadists in the area will force it to fight back. The Egyptian army has been hunting militants in the Sinai desert since an attack last week on….

2 Palestinians killed in Yarmouk shelling
8/16/2012 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian refugee and his child were killed Thursday after the Syrian regime bombed residential areas in Yarmouk camp in Damascus, local activists said. Palestinian activists in Yarmouk camp told Ma’an that the refugee, Jamal Abu al-Haija, and his daughter Hanin, 10, were killed by a mortar shell fired….

Syrian govt envoy praises China, Russia as ‘non-colonizers’
8/16/2012 – BEIJING (Reuters) — A Syrian government envoy praised China and Russia on their stance towards the bloody conflict engulfing her country in an interview published on Thursday during a visit to Beijing that she said would give officials a “real picture” of the crisis. Envoy Bouthaina Shaaban’s interview with the state-run China Daily was….

Lebanon kidnap sparks fears of Syria spillover
8/16/2012 – BEIRUT (Reuters) — Gulf Arab states began evacuating their citizens from Lebanon on Thursday after kidnappings linked to Syria’s civil war showed violence has begun to spread across a region torn by sectarian divisions. A Lebanese Shiite clan seized more than 20 people in Beirut and said a Turkish hostage, whose country is a….

Arabiya says cousin of Syria VP defects
8/16/2012 – BEIRUT (Reuters) — A cousin of Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara has defected, Al-Arabiya television reported on Thursday, broadcasting a statement in which he called on members of the Syrian army to join the “revolution”.” The cousin of the Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara announces his defection in an exclusive recording via Al-Arabiya,” the news anchor….

Palestine News Network

Qaraqe: Palestinian Prisoners Seek to Be Recognized as Prisoners of War
Palestine News Network

Israeli Occupation Arrests Three Palestinians, Throwing Stones is Their Charge
Palestine News Network

Pre Dawn Raid in Kufr Qaddoum: Army Storms Houses and Arrests Three, Including One Minor
Palestine News Network

Jerusalem’s 360,000 ‘Orphans’
Palestine News Network

Palestine Culture Day
Palestine News Network

Six Injured as Settler Throws Molotov Cocktail at Palestinian Taxi
Palestine News Network

Israeli Sources: Explosions in Eilat Resulted from Grad Attack
Palestine News Network

JDECO Warns of an Impending State of Chaos in the West Bank if Power Outage Takes Place
Palestine News Network

Egypt Deploys Military Forces in Sinai without Prior Coordination with Israel
Palestine News Network

Khamenei: The Future Of Israel Is To Disappear From The Map And To Establish A State For The Palestinians
Palestine News Network

Hamas will Set Up Joint Committee with Egypt to Investigate Sinai Attacks
Palestine News Network

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

PCHR Condemns Israeli Authorities Denial of Gaza Muslims’ Freedom of Worship
Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

International Solidarity Movement

Settlers invade Khan Al Luban
8/16/2012 – International Solidarity Movement – By Alex Marley, 8 August, 2012  | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank – At around 10:30 pm a group of settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Mal’ale levona arrived in Khan Al Luban, a hamlet located in the vicinity of Al Luban village. Armed with guns and wooden sticks they broke into a….

The National

Syrian rebels’ morale deflated by warplanes
The National 16 Aug 2012 – The Assad regime might be on the ropes but there is one area where the rebels cannot touch it: control of the skies. Hugh Naylor reports from Syria.

Iran hits out at Islamic organisation after Syria left out in the cold
The National 16 Aug 2012 – Iran’s foreign minister says Syria’s suspension from the OIC was in breach of group’s charter and inappropriate since no representative from Syria was present to defend its position.

Top Egypt general backed withdrawal of US troops from Middle East
The National 16 Aug 2012 – Egypt’s new second-in-command of the military has written that US troops should be withdrawn from the Middle East while any democratisation in the region should come from within and have religious legitimacy.

Kuwait drama on war unity contrasts current feuds
The National 16 Aug 2012 – A 30-part television serial on Iraq’s 1990 invasion has become more than just a retelling of the occupation and the brief but intense Gulf War.

Lebanese clan denies it planned to abduct Emiratis
The National 16 Aug 2012 – A sectarian clan in Lebanon that kidnapped 20 people in two days has denied a suggestion by a family member that it planned to abduct Emiratis or other Arabian Gulf nationals to use as leverage.


Dreams of ‘the Barcelona of Haifa Bay’ face powerful obstacles
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

In excavation of ancient mosque, volunteers dig up Israeli city’s Golden Age
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Drop in migrant numbers means tent city no longer needed, document says
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Fearing daughter’s circumcision, African family asks Israel to hold off deportation
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Supersized supermarkets invade tiny Israeli desert town of Netivot
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Canada’s largest Protestant church set to boycott Israeli settlement products
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Netanyahu aides: In opposing Israeli attack on Iran, Peres forgot his place
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Palestinians wounded in West Bank vehicle fire, in possible fire bomb attack
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Border Police fires rubber bullet at Palestinian peace activist’s car in West Bank
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Iran Supreme Leader: Israel will vanish from the ‘landscape of geography’
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Bulgaria releases likeness of second suspect linked to attack on Israelis
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Mofaz: Netanyahu’s attempting to meddle in U.S. politics with new appointment
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Poll: Most Israelis oppose attack on Iran nuclear facilities
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Israel Air Force helicopter fleet grounded after chopper forced into emergency landing
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Hundreds of Israelis petition IDF pilots: Refuse orders to bomb Iran
Ha’aretz – 16 Aug 2012

Egypt deployed troops in Sinai without Israel’s prior approval
Ha’aretz – 15 Aug 2012

National Geographic names Israel National Trail as one of world’s best
Ha’aretz – 15 Aug 2012

Jerusalem Post

Hamas helps Egypt in hunt for Sinai terrorists
Jerusalem Post 17 Aug 2012 – Amid reports that Hamas and the Egyptians have formed a joint security committee to investigate the terrorist attack that killed 16 Egyptian border guards, Hamas says it is coordinating with Egypt on all levels. 

Politicians to Apple: ‘Ban Protocols of Zion’ app
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Public diplomacy and diaspora affairs minister, World Zionist Organization head calls on Apple to remove “racist, hate-filled’ app. 

Algerian diplomat agrees to be Syria mediator
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Annan to step down at end of August, frustrated by UN impasse; veteran Algerian diplomat Brahimi to replace him. 

Education Ministry aims to give blind pupils a boost
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Decision to help blind, visually impaired pupils in mainstream schools follows petition by disabled rights organizations. 

PM: Iran strike worthwhile, even to delay nuke program
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – In private meetings, Netanyahu backs strike even if Israel can’t completely destroy Iran’s nuclear program, ‘Post’ learns; Peres says he is convinced US will takes action but poll shows 70% of country thinks otherwise. 

Preserving Israel’s uncertain status quo
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Israel seems book-ended by two major worries that have all but subordinated the Palestinian issue to the back burner. 

Savir’s Corner: War-ning on Iran
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – If the analysts are right about intentions of Netanyahu, Barak, then Israel is about to commit the greatest mistake in our modern history. 

Another Tack: Denial of denial
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – When all aforementioned denial options are exhausted, there’s always one final refuge left – “denial of denial.” 

Sinai Today: Open letter to South Africa Deputy FM
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – For the sake of peace and justice, we need more information, not less; we need more dialogue, not less. 

Disobedience and city policing
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – We should rethink, restructure and resize the force, and give our citizens an environment of law, order and security. 

Postscript: On the beach
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – You feel the nervousness in Greece, and the gratitude from everyone for coming to support their country in hard times. 

PM shoots down dangerous quotes from Arab world
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Netanyahu denies saying “situation in Jordan worse than Syria” and that “fall of Tantawi in Egypt worse than fall of Mubarak.” 

Firebombing injures 6 Palestinians near Bat Ayin
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – PM condemns attack targeting Palestinian taxi; initial investigation reveals Jewish extremist may have carried out firebombing. 

Shas weekly criticizes MK who didn’t serve in IDF
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – ‘Yom Leyom’ says 4 out of 15 Yisrael Beiteinu MK’s did not serve, yet support new legislation to draft haredim to national service. 

Yishai: African migrants no less a threat than Iran
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Minister pushes for jailing of all 60,000 illegal migrants after police arrest 2 Eritreans over rape of 39-year-old Israeli woman. 

Filmmaker shines lens on Jewish African tribes
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – “I am interested in Jewish people, being one, and in blacks, living in Africa and having become Senegalese,” filmmaker Gavron said. 

IEC to hold off on PA power cuts until after Eid
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Sides come to understanding after Israel Electric Corporation threatens to cut power to Palestinians over unpaid debts. 

Chosen Bites: Perfect Pepper Jam
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Pepper Jam is ideal with steaks, chicken, pasta, grilled vegetables and most simply of all, grilled bread with cheese. 

Bulgaria releases images of terrorist’s accomplice
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Ministry requests any information from public on July attack in Burgas that killed five Israelis, Bulgarian bus driver. 

The Weekly Schmooze: Kinky for governor?
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – JPost on hottest Jewish news: A new Isaac Bashevis Singer story in the “New Yorker;” ugly Hanukka sweaters. 

IDF grounds transport helicopters after glitch
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Sikorsky CH 53 forced to make emergency landing near Tel Nof airbase; IAF: General grounding in line with standard procedure. 

Lebanon kidnappings spark fears of Syria spillover
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain all told their nationals to leave at once.

Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks’ Assange
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Britain remains determined to extradite the former hacker who published secret US diplomatic cables and was accused of rape. 

720 Degrees of separation
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Artist Ron Arad’s monumental installation will be on view at the heart of The Israel Museum’s Billy Rose Art Garden. 

UN may lower estimate of ‘missing’ Iran uranium
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Diplomats say discrepancy partially explained; missing substance could be used for nuclear experiments, experts say. 

Video: Hallelujah contestants gear up for final
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Watch audition tapes of 14 global Jewish song contest finalists from around the world. 

Economy defies forecasts, grows 3.2% in Q2
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Preliminary CBS report exceeds expectations, points to surprising growth; Steinitz responds cautiously, calls for restraint. 

Police: Eritrean man rapes Israeli woman in TA
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Two men allegedly lured the woman into an abandoned building after asking her for help with a baby, then raped her, police say. 

OIC suspends Syria over violence against rebels
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Organization of Islamic Cooperation suspends membership suspended despite Iranian opposition to the move. 

Head of Shari’a Court to Peres: End street crime
Jerusalem Post 16 Aug 2012 – Abd Hakim Samara appealed to President Peres to end violence pervading streets of Arab towns and villages in Israel. 

Disabled children to attend kindergarten with peers
Jerusalem Post 15 Aug 2012 – Education Ministry funds aides; move comes after years of parental, rights group pressure. 

Egyptian television series raises concerns in Israel
Jerusalem Post 15 Aug 2012 – Welcome to the world of Firqat Naji Atallah, this year’s most popular Ramadan program with Palestinians and possibly across the Middle East. 

TAU finds 12th century BCE image of biblical Samson
Jerusalem Post 15 Aug 2012 – Researchers uncover archeological depiction of story of Samson at Beit Shemesh archaeological site. 

IEC may cut W. Bank power over Palestinian debt
Jerusalem Post 14 Aug 2012 – Palestinian Authority, energy supplier allegedly owe Israel Electric Corporation NIS 662m. in unpaid debts. 

The Guardian

Israeli academic accuses Manchester NHS trust of discrimination
The Guardian 16 Aug 2012 – Professor Moty Cristal says his invitation to host a workshop was withdrawn on account of his nationality An academic has brought a claim against an NHS trust in Manchester and a leading public sector union after…

Inter Press Service

U.N. to Close Syria Observer Mission
IPS The United Nations has ordered the end of its observer mission in Syria, and said that it would withdraw its staff within the next few days. “The conditions to continue UNSMIS were not fulfilled,” said Gerard Araud, France’s ambassador to the U.N., referring to the mission by its acronym. Edmond…

In Peace, Palestinian Women Under Attack
IPS After the brutal murder of a Palestinian woman in late July in a busy Bethlehem marketplace, local human rights groups are pushing for stronger reforms to stem violence against women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “We have problems with the existing laws,” Maysoun Ramadan, director of the Mehwar…

U.N. Chief in the Hot Seat over Non-Aligned Summit in Iran
IPS When Cuba chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) back in 1979, Western nations dismissed the world’s largest single political coalition as lacking legitimacy since Havana was considered a close ally of the then-Soviet Union. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has not yet declared his intention to attend or skip the summit. Credit: UN…


World Muslim body suspends Syria’s membership


Hate group places Islamophobic advertisements on San Francisco buses

WATCH: Palestinian violently dragged by ununiformed soldiers

US Control of Haiti and Other Little Republics’ Vote at the UN is Not New

Settlers Empty Palestinian Well, Flood Farmlands

‘Miles of smiles’ convoy arrives in Gaza

Gaza: Occupied Lives: 13 days of trauma

Occupation Diaries

Ethnic cleansing on the road to an Israeli colony

Daily Star

Wave of attacks rumbles across Iraq, killing 59
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Insurgents in Iraq unleashed a relentless wave of attacks from before dawn until late at night Thursday, killing 59 people and wounding many more in a deadly show of force aimed at undermining the government’s authority.

Liverpool agrees to sign Heerenveen’s Assaidi 
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Liverpool says it has reached an agreement to sign Morocco winger Oussama Assaidi from Dutch club SC Heerenveen.

US ‘concerned’ about media freedom in Egypt
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 The United States said on Thursday it was “very concerned” about freedom of the press in Egypt after authorities moved to put on trial two critics of new President Mohamed Morsi.

Black Hawk crash kills 7 Americans, 4 Afghans
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 A U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing seven Americans and four Afghans.

Militants attack major Pakistan air base; 9 killed
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Islamist militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fought their way into one of Pakistan’s largest air bases on Thursday.

Sinai “nest of terrorists” :Israeli military source
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 If Egypt fails to restore order in the Sinai peninsula it could come to resemble the Afghan mountain hideouts which sheltered the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies.

Syrian FM claims rebels no match for military
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Syria’s foreign minister defiantly dismissed rebel forces and their international backers on Thursday as incapable of toppling the military defending Bashar Assad’s regime.

White House: Romney angry because he’s ‘losing’
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 The White House said Romney’s complaint that Obama was peddling “hate” showed the Republican candidate wanted to change the subject as he was losing the election debate.

Algeria’s Brahimi agrees to be Syria mediator-sources
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi has agreed to replace Kofi Annan as the international mediator on Syria, but with an altered mandate.

Trial date moved for man in Saudi ambassador plot
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 A Texas man charged with plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States will have to wait until next year for his trial.

Israel’s Peres against any solo Iran attack, trusts Obama
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Peres came out against any go-it-alone Israeli attack on Iran, saying he trusted U.S President Barack Obama’s pledge to prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.

Yemen: 62 troops to be tried over ministry attack
Daily Star 16 Aug 2012 Sixty-two officers and soldiers loyal to ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son were charged with resisting authorities and mutiny after trying to storm the Ministry of Defense.

YNet News

Jerusalem: Man injured in fight between Arabs, Jews
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – ….

Firebomb attack: Palestinian ‘pulled kids from burning car’
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Jamila Riada, who was injured along with her husband and three children in what police called a ‘Jewish nationalist attack,’ says she saw assailant. Netanyahu instructs Shin Bet to bring perpetrators to justice ….

UK’s Hague says will not give Assange safe passage
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – ….

Yachimovich: PM’s lashing at Peres aggressive
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – ….

PM condemns hurling of firebomb at Palestinian vehicle
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – ….

Securing Syria chemical weapons may take thousands of troops 
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – ….

PM aides: Peres was also against strike on Iraq reactor 
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Netanyahu’s advisers livid after president says Israel cannot attack Iran without US. ‘He was wrong when he thought Oslo Accords would bring new Middle East, and luckily Begin ignored his calls against strike in Iraqi reactor,’ they say ….

Firebomb injures 5 Palestinians; police say Jews behind attack
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Vehicle travelling in West Bank catches fire after being hit by Molotov cocktail; parents, children, driver suffer moderate to serious wounds. Police: Jews behind attack ….

Egypt a dictatorship again 
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Op-ed: After a year and a half of semi-anarchy, Egypt is once again ruled by one person – Morsi ….

Syrian-Israeli couple reunited year after marrying
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Civil war in Syria couldn’t prevent Syrian-Israeli married couple from reuniting, with Red Cross’ help ….

Yishai: Next phase – arresting Eritrean, Sudanese migrants
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Interior minister tells Ynet ‘illegal migrant threat just as severe as Iranian nuke threat’; says will lock infiltrators up to ‘make their lives miserable’ ….

Barak: We must make Iran decision now
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Defense minister asserts that decision on military strike against Islamic Republic must be made now; says ‘In all of Israel’s history there is no issue that has been dealt with as deeply as the issue of Iran’ ….

‘We’re training like we’ve never trained before’
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Hazmat units, emergency text messages and drill after drill after drill; with growing concerns over Syria, Iran situations, Home Front Command is leaving nothing to chance ….

Gentlemen, America is telling you ‘no’
YNet News, 16 Aug 2012 – Op-ed: Israel’s decision-makers would be wise to do what US asks vis-?-vis Iran’s nuclear program ….

Palestinian Information Center

IOF breaks into West Bank cities
PIC – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided at dawn Thursday a number of towns in Al-Khalil southern West Bank and established a number of military checkpoints at their main entrances.

IOF holds military ceremony in Ibrahimi Mosque
PIC – The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday held for the first time a military ceremony in the courtyard of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil city after declaring it a closed military zone.

Mahathir scoffs at US presidential runners for racing to gain Israel’s support
PIC – Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamed scorned the US presidential candidates for visiting Israel to earn the support of the Jews.

IOF soldiers raid eastern Rafah
PIC – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided areas east of Rafah to the southernmost area of the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning.

Israeli gov’t approves the establishment of seven settlements in Negev
PIC – A group of Israeli human rights organizations presented a petition to the Supreme Court against the government’s plan for the establishment of seven Jewish settlements near Arad city in the Negev.

Islamic Christian authority warns of Israeli moves to falsify history of J’lem
PIC – The Islamic Christian authority for patronizing Jerusalem and holy sites warned that the Israeli regime is relentlessly embarking on creating a false Jewish history in occupied Jerusalem.

Palestinian refugee and his daughter killed in Syrian shelling
PIC – A Palestinian refugee and his daughter were killed in Syrian army shelling of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.


PEX Report: Al-Quds Index Up
WAFA – 16 Aug 2012

Abbas Meets Turkish President in Mecca
WAFA – 16 Aug 2012

Abbas Calls on Islamic Summit to Support Jerusalem
WAFA – 16 Aug 2012

Government Spokesman Ends Work
WAFA – 15 Aug 2012


In Israel, debate rages over Netanyahu’s threats to attack Iran
LA Times 16 Aug 2012 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have painted himself into a corner by threatening a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear program, critics say. JERUSALEM — Whether serious or a bluff,Israel’spublic threats to attackIran’snuclear development program are widely credited for bringing U.S. pressure and international sanctions…

At least 60 killed in suspected massacre in Syria
LA Times 17 Aug 2012 – The bodies, found in a Damascus suburb’s landfill, are among an estimated 200 people killed across Syria. BEIRUT — At least 60 charred bodies were found Thursday in a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus in what activists described as another massacre committed by…

Israel sperm banks find quality is plummeting
LA Times 15 Aug 2012 – Sperm quality is down everywhere, but Israel is worse off than other developed countries. Theories about why vary from cellphones in pockets to estrogen in milk or water. JERUSALEM — The founder of the Tel Aviv-based specialty firm raves about his product with the same…

Syria warplanes pound rebel town; 30 reported killed
LA Times 15 Aug 2012 – The dead in Azaz are among the nearly 200 people reported killed across Syria. The conflict spills over into Lebanon, where 20 Syrians are abducted. BEIRUT — Air attacks by the Syrian government killed at least 30 people Wednesday in the rebel-controlled town of Azaz…

U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Is Growing Again
New York Times 16 Aug 2012 – Imports of oil from the kingdom have grown by more than 20 percent, leaving the United States vulnerable to tensions in the Persian Gulf. 

In Lebanon, Sunnis Threaten Shiites Over Kidnapping of Syrians
New York Times 16 Aug 2012 – The expanded kidnapping wave occurred as the war in Syria staggered on, with battles in Aleppo and dozens of bodies found in a landfill outside Damascus. 

U.N. to End Its Observer Mission in Syria
New York Times 16 Aug 2012 – The United Nations Security Council agreed to keep a much smaller liaison office in the country. 

Wave of Attacks Kills Dozens in Iraq
New York Times 16 Aug 2012 – A series of bombings and shootings wounded more than 100 people across Iraq, just as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan drew to a close. 

Israel’s Peres Criticizes Talk of Unilateral Iran Strike
New York Times 16 Aug 2012 – Shimon Peres’s comments came amid a wave of speculation that Israel’s prime minister and defense minister were considering an attack. 

The Lede Blog: Bahrain Sentences Activist to 3 Years in Prison for ‘Inciting’ Protests
New York Times 16 Aug 2012 – Bahrain sentenced a leading rights activist to three years in prison on Thursday for “inciting” anti-government protests in speeches and Twitter updates. 

National Intelligence Leaks and the Hasbarafia
Tikun Olam – Screenshot of original Hebrew version of Israeli government briefing document on Iran attack UPDATE : My source has permitted me to publish the entire original Hebrew document, which you read here.  The English translation is in yesterday’s post: When one publishes an important leaked Israeli government document…

What Jewish voters want-and what the candidates don’t offer
Jewish Voice for Peace – Read JVP’s ED Rebecca Vilkomerson op-ed in the LA Times. By Rebecca Vilkomerson August 15, 2012 , 4:40 p.m. Dan Schnur misses some crucial points about the Jewish community in his Op-Ed article Sunday on Republican efforts to woo Jewish voters. First, the idea that President Obama…

Even ‘NYT’ says Israel is bluffing to play Obama
Mondoweiss – The idea that Israel is trying to bait the U.S. to attack Iran by threatening to do so itself is gaining hold in the US mainstream. In the Times, Jodi Rudoren hints at the purpose of the Israeli bellicosity : “There is a window of opportunity,” said…

Video: Israeli youths violently detain Palestinian under eyes of soldiers
Mondoweiss – At Youtube: “Israeli soldiers out of uniform violently detaining a Palestinian at Checkpoint 56, Tel Rumeida, Hebron” Abir Kopty of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee states: The video shows a group of soldiers out of uniform beating Abd-Elaziz Elfakhouri (20) who was protesting the detention of…

Exile and the prophetic: Normalizing the Hitler Youth
Mondoweiss – This post is part 43 of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Even in majority-minority congressional district, Dem runs way right of Obama on Israel
Mondoweiss – Dan Halloran is a Republican City Councilman in New York City who is running for Gary Ackerman’s congressional seat in Queens and Long Island. You’d think this is a safe Democratic district. According to the Almanac of American Politics for 2010, it was 29 percent Asian,…

Israeli opposition leader accuses Netanyahu of trying to wag the dog
Mondoweiss – Two additions to Nima Shirazi’s inventory of Israeli efforts to push an American war with Iran. As Nima notes, the mainstream US press is not covering this stuff. Simply amazing.  First, from the Times of Israel, a report that Israel with David Axelrod is trying to…

Zulu King Will Visit Israel 
The Foward Breaking News 16 Aug 2012 – South Africa’s Zulu king accepted an invitation to visit Israel despite his government discouraging such visits. Click here for the rest of the article…

Canadian Church Moves To Boycott Settlements 
The Foward Breaking News 16 Aug 2012 – Canada’s largest Protestant church stands poised to approve a boycott of products made in Israeli settlements. Click here for the rest of the article…

Majority in Israel Oppose Unilateral Iran Strike 
The Foward Breaking News 16 Aug 2012 – A majority of Israelis oppose a strike by their country on Iran’s nuclear facilities without the United States’ cooperation, a new poll found. Click here for the rest of the article…

Three Israel Universities Make Top 100 List 
The Foward Breaking News 16 Aug 2012 – Three Israeli universities have ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide in a prestigious annual ranking of the world’s universities. Click here for the rest of the article…

Egypt: Hamas Works With Egypt to Investigate Rafah Attack 
allAfrica.com 16 Aug 2012 – [Aswat Masriya]A Hamas-Egypt committee was formed to investigate Sinai’s Rafah attack that resulted in the death of 16 Egyptian police and army men, London’s Hayat newspaper reported sources as saying.

Egypt: Mursi Returns After His Participation in Islamic Summit 
allAfrica.com 16 Aug 2012 – [Egypt Online]President Mohamed Morsi returned to Cairo on Wednesday 15/8/2012 coming from Saudi Arabia after participating in the Islamic summit hosted by Makkah al-Mukarramah.

Kenya: Eyes On Europe 
allAfrica.com 16 Aug 2012 – [The Star]Kenya Prisons women volleyball team are planning a two-week training camp in a European country ahead of the 2012 FIVB Club World Championships between October 13 and 19 in Doha, Qatar.

South Africa: Hypocrisy and Context – SA, Israel and the Growing BDS Movement 
allAfrica.com 16 Aug 2012 – [Daily Maverick]Johannesburg -Last month, an event occurred in Pittsburgh that suggested boycotts, divestment and sanctions with regard to Israel are becoming the norm in the US. It’s in this context that we need to view a local government minister’s recent statement urging South Africans to steer…

U.N. Report Describes Tragic Human Rights Situation in Syria 
Arab American Institute 16 Aug 2012 – The U.N. report concludes that ?the best solution is a negotiated settlement involving an inclusive and meaningful dialogue among all parties, leading to a political transition that reflects the legitimate aspirations of all segments of Syrian society, including ethnic and religious minorities.? Much easier said than…

Largest Protestant church in Canada votes for Israeli settlements boycott 
Global BDS 16 Aug 2012 – Members of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, voted Wednesday to affirm a controversial motion supporting a boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Wednesday’s vote was preceded by nearly six hours of contentious…

UN ends observer mission in Syria 
BBC 16 Aug 2012 – The United Nations has called an end to its military observer mission in Syria, days before its mandate was due to expire.

A-infos 16 Aug 2012 – I am Mazen***, a Syrian anarchist . I want to inform you about the difficult humanitarian situation in my country, Syria ; due to the brutal oppression of the regime against the revolting masses. A group of young Syrian anarchists and anti – authoritarians from Aleppo – Syria,…

Lebanese Unions: Handcuffing Labor 
Al-Akhbar Opinion 16 Aug 2012 – The contract workers in Electricité du Liban (EDL) succeeded, to a large extent, in challenging the various attempts to break their ranks on a sectarian basis. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah) The contract workers in Electricité du Liban (EDL) succeeded, to a large extent, in challenging the various…

Anti-Mursi talkshow host to face trial 
Al-Akhbar News 16 Aug 2012 – Egyptian talk show host Tawfiq Okasha will face trial on September 1 on charges of calling for the murder of President Mohammed Mursi, the official MENA news agency reported on Thursday. The editor of the small independent newspaper al-Dustour, Islam Afifi, will also face trial on…

UN ends Syria observer mission 
Al-Akhbar News 16 Aug 2012 – A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency shows United Nations (UN) observers visiting the northeastern town of Hasaka on 29 July 2012. (Photo: AFP – SANA) The United Nations called an end to its observer mission in Syria on Thursday, while activists…

Al-Mokdad Republic 
Al-Akhbar News 16 Aug 2012 – Photo Blog by Haitham Moussawi Yesterday, Lebanon found itself at the mercy of street gangs. From assault to kidnapping to roadblocks, TV stations were flooded with images of masked men emerging from every nook and cranny across the country. The abductions were random and the assaults…

Egypt: The Politics of Dates 
Al-Akhbar News 16 Aug 2012 – People wait to break their fast a few minutes before sunset during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, in Old Cairo 30 July 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Asmaa Waguih) People wait to break their fast a few minutes before sunset during the holy Muslim month of…

Nermine Hammam: Cairo in Layers 
Al-Akhbar News 16 Aug 2012 – From the ‘Unfolding’ installation. From the ‘Unfolding’ installation. London – Although Nermine Hammam’s art has never been overtly political, the nature of events unfolding today in her native Egypt may well lead viewers to presume otherwise. Surveying her first solo exhibition held at the Mosaic Rooms…

Leaving Syria: Lebanese Students Need Answers 
Al-Akhbar News 16 Aug 2012 – The students met with the Syrian consul in Lebanon, Ghassan Anjarini, to ask for Lebanese students with exams to take in Syrian universities to be allowed to sit them in Lebanon, in coordination with the embassy. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi) The students met with the Syrian consul…

Hashish in Lebanon: No High-Yielding Alternatives 
Al-Akhbar Series and Features 15 Aug 2012 – Contrary to the media stereotypes and security reports accompanying the eradication campaigns, visitors to the Hermel, Dinniyeh, and Akkar hills do not encounter large plots planted with cannabis, called hash locally. (Photo: Alia Haju) Contrary to the media stereotypes and security reports accompanying the eradication campaigns,…

Lebanon’s Mufti: The Future Movement Wants My Turban 
Al-Akhbar Politics 16 Aug 2012 – Mufti Qabbani stands in his home during an interview with Al-Akhbar. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi) Mufti Qabbani stands in his home during an interview with Al-Akhbar. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi) Mufti of Lebanon Mohamad Rashid Qabbani has a lot to get off his chest these days. In an…

Lebanon’s Energy Minister: The Government Indulges the Opposition 
Al-Akhbar Politics 15 Aug 2012 – Lebanon’s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil during a press conference. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah) Lebanon’s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil during a press conference. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah) Lebanon’s controversial Energy Minister speaks to Al-Akhbar about the durability of the current government, the Syrian crisis, and his party’s often combative…


Analysis: Jerusalem’s 360,000 ’orphans’ 
Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an News Agency 8/16/2012
      Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are experiencing perhaps their worst times. With the continuation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the uncertainty of the future of Jerusalem, the 360,000 residents of East Jerusalem are political orphans.
     They are not allowed to be part of the Palestinian Authority, do not possess its passport, nor do they enjoy its governance. They are not Israeli citizens either.
     Israel grants permanent residency to Palestinians who were in Jerusalem when the Israeli army conquered the holy city and unilaterally annexed it to the state of Israel. And even though no country in the world has recognized this Israeli annexation, there has been little success in allowing Palestinians to retain their own local institutions.
     Despite Israeli promises and US commitments, since the Oslo Accords, the city has been isolated and denied self-governance.
     The Orient House, which was a de facto Palestinian reference point, has been closed by orders of the Israelis, which have used emergency laws to retain its closure. Similarly, the chamber of commerce has been closed, denying Palestinian merchants the right to accede to this organization.
     Any event that smells of Palestinian nationalism is quickly stopped by Israeli police. An attempt to celebrate the success of an East Jerusalem football champion was denied on claims that the Palestinian Authority was secretly behind the celebrations. — See also: Laylat al-Qadr brings hope of an open city of Jerusalem more.. e-mail

Laylat al-Qadr brings hope of an open city of Jerusalem 
Dr Mahdi Abdul-hadi, Ma’an News Agency 8/16/2012
      On the night of 14th August, Palestinian Jerusalemites and West Bankers came together in the Holy City to celebrate Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan upon which Muslims believe that the first revelation of the Quran was delivered to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE.
     Over 200,000 Palestinians gathered at Al Aqsa Mosque to perform Itikaf (the overnight retreat into the Mosque and reading of the Quran), which went on deep into the early hours of the morning.
     The Old City felt liberated for a night as crowds swarmed through the Damascus Gate, surging down the Old City’s packed-out alleyways to reach the deeply symbolic site of Haram al-Sharif. The sheer number of people totally overwhelmed the city’s infrastructure.
     Israeli authorities, in an unprecedented move, did not place a quota on the number of permits to be issued to Palestinians: all Palestinian women and men (over the age of 40) were allowed to enter Jerusalem with only minimal supervision by Israeli security.
     The border crossings with the West Bank were opened, allowing Jerusalem, a city which has been slipping everyday from the consciousness of Palestinians, to become once again their city. 
     Many West Bankers who had been unable to find space in the choked squares around the Al Aqsa Mosque used this night as an opportunity to visit West Jerusalem, the cities of Jaffa and Haifa, and other areas with personal and nostalgic significance to them. Others headed to the main shopping areas of Salah ad-Din Street, and the malls in Malha and Mamilla. — See also: Analysis: Jerusalem’s 360,000 ‘orphans’ more.. e-mail

Finding a safe space for Palestinian queer activism 
Brandon Davis, Ma’an News Agency 8/16/2012
      JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — In 2008, Laila was a recent college graduate and committed anti-occupation activist in her hometown of Nablus. But there was one issue her groups could not adequately address: her sexuality.
     “I started testing the waters, looking at what organizations are out there, what’s the discourse,” said Laila last month in Nablus.
     She researched the Haifa-based lesbian group Aswat, but that organization is more attentive to Palestinians within Israel and inaccessible to West Bank residents like Laila.
     She also added Haneen Maikey, the director of the queer organization al-Qaws, on Facebook. Soon, she was talking to Sari, an al-Qaws activist in Ramallah.
     Maikey and Laila finally met in person a year later and now, Laila is one of al-Qaws’ principal leaders. Like hundreds of Palestinians before and after her, she has found a space in al-Qaws.
     The Jerusalem-based organization has been engaging Palestinians with issues related to sexuality and sexual diversity since 2001.
     Al-Qaws’ mission, Maikey said at a Haifa conference organized by Aswat earlier this year, is “to oppose patriarchal institutions and systems that regulate our sexuality, (and) to challenge gender and sexual standards and norms which have always been depicted as fact, such as heterosexuality.” more.. e-mail

Gaza: The Weakest Link
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Aug 2012 – By Yousef Al-Helou – Gaza In the wake of August 6 Sinai attack that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead at the hands of unknown attackers, Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing- Gaza’s only terminal that bypasses Israel leaving the costal territory largely cut off from the outside world. The underground tunnels between Gaza and Egypt have also been sealed. People here say the measure amounts to collective punishment as 1000 of passengers including chronically ill patients. In recent days, Hamas officials in Gaza have made plea and called on authorities in Egypt to reopen the crossing once and for good, asserting their willingness to cooperate in the ongoing investigation and are eager too to find out who really was behind the attack. Eight days later, Egypt reopened the pedestrian terminal temporarily yet again, but just for three days, mainly to permit travel for humanitarian cases such as patients seeking…more

Russia in the Middle East: Return of a Superpower?
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Aug 2012 – By Eric Walberg The US ‘withdrawal’ from Iraq last year and the planned ‘withdrawal’ from Afghanistan in 2014 cannot help but change the face of Central Asia and the Middle East. But how does Russia fit in? The world is living through a veritable slow-motion earthquake. If things go according to plan, the US obsession with Afghanistan and Iraq will soon be one of those ugly historical disfigurements that — at least for most Americans — will disappear into the memory hole. Like Nixon and Vietnam, US President Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who “brought the troops home”. But one cannot help but notice the careful calibration of these moves to fit the US domestic political machine — the Iraqi move to show Americans that things on the international front are improving (just don’t mention Guantanamo), the Afghan move put off conveniently till President Barack Obama’s second…more

Arab Spring Derailed
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Aug 2012 – By Jamal Kanj Last week’s defection of the Syrian prime minister was a public relations blow to the regime of Bashar Al Assad, but had no other significance. In Syria, power is in the hand of a security apparatus controlled by the Assad clan. Despite months of street protests and archetypal autocratic systems, the regime proved to be incapable of reforming. It is against the law of physics for a totalitarian system to transform itself into a democracy. What started as a genuine extension of the Arab Spring had been derailed from civil uprising to full-blown military conflict. The ruthless killings from both sides are polarizing Syrians across ethnic-religious lines, pushing the country further into the abyss of destruction. Militarizing civil protests also resulted in a shift of power from the streets of Syrian towns and cities to foreign capitals. Obviously, unlike home-grown local leaders, outside leadership is more disposed…more

Brotherhood under Attack, Fears for Free Expression in Egypt
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Aug 2012 – By Shahira Amin – Cairo The month-long suspension of a privately-owned Egyptian TV channel for “defamation and incitement to violence” has triggered an outcry in Egyptian media circles amid fears of regression in freedom of expression gained after the country’s January 2011 revolution. Al-Faraeen was closed down last week as Egyptian authorities threatened to revoke its license for “inflammatory language” used by the station’s presenters. The channel’s controversial talkshow host and owner Tawfik Okasha is now under investigation by the public prosecutor after a lawsuit was filed against him by Islamists who claimed he had repeatedly “defamed, slandered and incited violence” against them. During his programme, he aired a video allegedly showing Muslim extremists executing a Christian in Tunisia, and asked “how such people will govern” in an obvious reference to the Muslim Brotherhood. In June, newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi also filed a lawsuit against Okasha, accusing him of “defamation…more

Instability Reigns in Post-Gaddafi Libya
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Aug 2012 – By Bernhard Schell A new report paints a rather gloomy picture of post-Gaddafi Libya: fighting between tribes, ethnic groups and rival militia has accounted for instability at a local level; and flare-ups continue to occur in the country’s hubs of Benghazi and Tripoli. This has made travel more dangerous and the risk of assets being damaged or looted greater. Reports gathered by the UK-based risk analyst Maplecroft, point to “a noted increase in violent incidents” in recent weeks in both Tripoli and Benghazi. Also, serious clashes have in the meantime broken out in recent months in the west of the country around the Nafusa mountain areas and in the south-eastern Kufra basin. The proliferation of heavy and light weapons continues to undermine stability and the prevalence of unexploded ordinance (UXO) poses a risk to business operations when travelling in the country. A report published in August 2012 by Harvard University’s…more

US Realists, Neocons and the War in Syria
Palestine Chronicle: 15 Aug 2012 – By Ramzy Baroud In US political circles, the Syria conflict is increasingly being presented as a discussion pertaining to Israeli interests. This attitude is not substantially different from the way US politicians and media weighed in on the Egyptian January 25 revolution and its aftermath. Egypt mostly matters because of the US-brokered Camp David treaty of 1979, which benefited Israel beyond all expectations. The treaty had ushered in a false period of peace; it turned Egypt into an American ally, largely alienating it from its Arab political context. When it comes to US foreign policy in the Middle East, Israel represents a point of departure for many in the US political establishment. Neoconservative groups have long defined US foreign policy in the region. Their most crucial and unifying concern is Israel’s security and any threat, real or imagined, to Israel’s regional domination. The neocons clustered through various organizations and think…more

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