VTJP Occupied Palestine and Israel: News and Articles 23 December 2012: Firing Zone 918 – Khirbet Al-Fakhit

23 December 2012 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Palestinian Cab Driver Shot In Jerusalem
IMEMC – Israeli sources reported, Sunday morning, that a Palestinian Taxi driver was shot by Israeli soldiers near a military base in Jabal Al-Mokabbir area in occupied East Jerusalem. …

Ma’an News

Minister: Sharawneh suspends hunger strike after 176 days
12/23/2012 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Ayman Sharawneh suspended his hunger strike on Sunday after 176 days because doctors warned he risked death, the minister of prisoner affairs said Sunday. Issa Qaraqe told Ma’an that Sharawneh would suspend his protest for one week but will resume the strike if Israel does not release him. Sharawneh….

Fayyad: Arab states evading commitments to PA
12/23/2012 – JENIN (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday criticized Arab states for evading their financial commitments to the PA. Arab countries have yet to follow through on a pledge in March to provide a financial safety net of $100 million monthly to the PA to mitigate Israeli sanctions, which were imposed….

CEC announces local election results
12/23/2012 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Central Elections Commission said Sunday that vote-counting had concluded in local elections held a day earlier. Voting took place in 24 municipalities that did not take part in October elections. In another 23 municipalities, seats were awarded to uncontested joint lists. Preliminary results were announced at a news conference in….

Turkish medical aid en route to Gaza
12/23/2012EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Turkey has donated 70 tons of medical aid to the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian security official said Sunday. Twelve vehicles carrying medicine and hospital equipment have arrived in el-Arish in Egypt’s Sinai and will be transferred to Gaza on Tuesday through Rafah crossing, the security officer told Ma….

PA employees to continue strike
12/23/2012 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority employees will strike on Thursday after receiving only part of their November salaries, their union said Sunday. Public sector staff were paid between 1,500 and 4,000 shekels ($400 – $1070) on Sunday as partial payment of November wages. Head of the union Bassam Zakarneh said government employees were paid only….

This Christmas, remember Palestine’s Christians
12/23/2012 – By Mairead Corrigan-Maguire – Recently, the Israeli Embassy in Ireland posted a “thought for Christmas” its Facebook page to the effect that if Jesus Christ and his mother Mary alive today, they would be “lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians.”As Christians all over the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, we should also remember what that….

Israel says Syria chemical weapons are secure for now
12/23/2012 – JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Syria’s chemical weapons are still secure despite the fact that President Bashar Assad has lost control of parts of the country, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday. Amos Gilad told Army Radio that the civil war between Assad and opposition forces fighting to topple him had become deadlocked, but…. Related: Terrorists Release Second Film Showing Chemical Weapons Test in Western Syria

Fatah advisory council discusses party future
12/23/2012 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah’s advisory council met in Ramallah on Saturday to discuss the future of the party and the Palestinian Authority, a Fatah leader said. President Mahmoud Abbas told the council on Saturday that the Palestinian Authority cannot continue under financial siege, Mohammad Horani told Ma’an. The president “knows….

4 wounded in clashes over local election result
12/23/2012 – SALFIT (Ma’an) — Four people were wounded on Saturday when a fight broke out over local election results in Marda in the northern West Bank. Clashes erupted in Marda, north of Salfit, when results were announced. The wounded were taken to the Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit and Palestinian security forces imposed a curfew….

PA pays partial November salaries
12/23/2012 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority on Sunday paid its employees partial November salaries, the finance ministry said. Public sector staff received between 1,500 and 4,000 shekels ($400 – $1070), the ministry said in a statement. Some 22 percent of government employees received their full salaries and the rest were paid between 50 and 90….

Fatah: Hamas must declare position on festival
12/23/2012 – HEBRON (Ma’an) — Fatah on Sunday called on Hamas to announce whether it will allow a Fatah festival in Gaza City’s main square. Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmi criticized Hamas for not granting Fatah permission to use al-Katiba square for its 48th anniversary celebrations on Jan. 1. Hamas has agreed to let Fatah….

Egypt’s constitution approved in vote, say rival camps
12/23/2012 – CAIRO (Reuters) — A constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly was approved by a majority of Egyptians in a referendum, rival camps said on Sunday, after a vote the opposition said drove a wedge through the Arab world’s most populous nation. The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled President Mohamed Mursi to power in a June….

10 soldiers, police officers injured in Sinai road accidents
12/23/2012EL-ARISH (Ma’an) — Ten Egyptian police officers and soldiers were wounded in two road accidents in Sinai, an Egyptian security official said Sunday. An army patrol overturned on al-Hasna road in central Sinai on Saturday due to bad weather conditions, injuring five soldiers, the security officer told Ma’an. Early Sunday morning, five….

Egypt court to rule on Mubarak appeal over life term on Jan. 13
12/23/2012 – CAIRO (Reuters) – A Cairo court has decided it will rule on the appeal of ousted former President Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 13, a court source said on Sunday, a move that could lead to Mubarak being retried over the killing of protesters last year. Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli were sentenced to life….

UAE urges citizens not to travel to Lebanon
12/23/2012 – DUBAI (Reuters) — The United Arab Emirates urged citizens not to travel to Lebanon, a popular New Year holiday destination for Gulf Arabs, after Syria’s civil war fanned sectarian clashes in north Lebanon. The Gulf Arab state issued the warning because of “difficult and sensitive political circumstances” in Lebanon, saying Emiratis should not visit….

Syria’s war-battered pound floats on rebel funds
12/23/2012 – AMMAN (Reuters) — In Syria’s eastern town of Deir al-Zor, a rebel commander flush with cash was swapping his dollars for Syrian pounds to pay fighters battling President Bashar Assad’s forces. Money changers said that influx of foreign currency earlier this month helped push the pound’s black market rate in….

Dozens killed in airstrike on bakery in Hama
12/23/2012 – BEIRUT (Reuters) – Dozens of people were killed and many more wounded in an air strike that hit a Syrian bakery where a large crowd was queuing for bread on Sunday, activists said. If confirmed, it would be one of the deadliest air strikes of Syria’s civil war.” There is no way to really….

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

PCHR Receives 2 International Diplomatic Delegations and Al-Sourani Participates in a Lecture on the Legal Status of the…
Palestinian Center for Human Rights

PCHR Condemns Arson Attack on Car of Former Chief Justice of Palestine by Unknown Persons in Hebron
Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Alternative Information Center

E1: military reasoning, human consequences
Alternative Information Center – Building in E1 does not prevent a future scenario of confrontation, as Israelis say, but instead creates an immediate confrontation. A settlement in this area will divide the West Bank, eroding the geographic platform for a…

The National

Morsi’s opponents demand vote probe
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Re-energised opposition movement is to continue a campaign of protests and put its efforts into upcoming parliamentary elections.

Syria airstrike hits bakery, killing dozens waiting to buy bread
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Witnesses tell of ‘piles of bodies’ of women and children, with dozens wounded after bakery is targeted in one of deadliest airstrikes of Syria’s civil war.

Man could not have raped woman because she was much bigger, court told
The National 23 Dec 2012 – An Emirati could not have tried to rape a Lebanese woman because she was twice his size, a court heard yesterday.

Santa comes to UAE, but it’s ‘too hot for reindeer’
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Santa takes time out from his busy visit in the UAE to spread the magic of the festive season

Kurds mark tragic anniversary
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Kurdish leaders accuse Turkey’s government of covering up how a band of young smugglers was wrongly identified as a group of rebel fighters.

Civil Defence plans safety in free zones across the UAE
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Civil Defence plans to extend its jurisdiction to include free zones across the country.

Kuwaiti anger over calls to ban Christmas
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Civil society groups condemn calls from radical organisations for Christmas celebrations to be banned.

Facebook contest winners slip into Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
The National 23 Dec 2012 – Winners of a Facebook competition got the chance to slide, loop and whirl down some of the rides at the eagerly anticipated Yas Island attraction on Friday.


Israeli rabbis warn: Yule be in trouble if you put up Christmas trees
Ha’aretz – 23 Dec 2012

Labor releases party platform: Renew Palestinian peace talks within three months of elections
Ha’aretz – 23 Dec 2012

How easy is it to get hold of illegal firearms in Israel?
Ha’aretz – 23 Dec 2012

Will the real Naftali Bennett please stand up?
Ha’aretz – 23 Dec 2012

Lieberman’s chances for speedy pre-election trial dwindle as prosecution mulls harsher indictment
Ha’aretz – 22 Dec 2012

Jerusalem Post

Air strike kills dozens of Syrians in bread line
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Activists say large crowd was queuing for bread, video shows dozens of dead bodies; special envoy arrives for new talks. 

Barakei: Trial against me a political crusade
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Hadash MK testifies in trial over his alleged altercations during demonstrations. 

Water price hike is all wet
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – According to the State Comptroller’s Report from October, the Water Authority council should actually be contemplating a price cut. 

Reality Check: What about Dov Henin?
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Yacimovich’s decision to challenge Netanyahu solely over economic policy is nothing more than rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titantic. 

The other battlefield
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – I am fearful that if the right people don’t start understanding that the media battleground is just as important as the military one, we might end up losing the war completely. 

The useful myth that Obama now likes Israel
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Yet a president who helps to empower Israel’s worst enemies – who also happen to be America’s worst enemies – cannot be said to be a friend. 

Today’s campus activists win friends, not arguments
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Today’s campus activists are winning friends, not arguments, which turns out to be much more effective than the arguments I made in my college days. 

State to re-question Liberman on more serious allegations
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Prosecutor announces that indictment for fraud, breach of public trust against the former FM is on hold pending the new questioning, says anonymous accusations of tampering with ambassador hiring process led to new move. 

Think About It: Guns, homicide and the US debate
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – While firearm-related homicides in Israel occur at one-seventh the US rate, in the case of all forms of homicide the proportion is two fifths. 

Rabbinate warns not to host New Year’s Eve parties
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – “It is forbidden for a Jew to be present in a place where ‘idol worship’ is being conducted,” Chief Rabbinate says of Haifa row. 

Pro-Israel Egyptian activist: Our fates are linked
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Tahrir Square activist Maikel Nabil Sanad visits Israel, wants to promote peace in order for Egyptian democracy to thrive 

Video: Champion of the Desert
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Beduin karate instructor empowers an unrecognized village in the Negev. 

Yacimovich calls for return to peace talks
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Labor leader lays out party’s security-diplomatic platform, says socio-economic issues still her priority. 

UN Syria envoy to meet Assad on ceasefire efforts
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi en route to meet Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss ceasefire efforts. 

Bennett to Likud: Man up, admit to campaign
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin lashed out at his own party’s strategists for anti-Bennett campaign. 

This Week In History: Cat Stevens no more
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – On December 23, 1977, legendary British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens converted to Islam, abandoning his musical career and soon after changing his name to Yusuf Islam. 

Poll: 45% of Israelis support unilateral withdrawal
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Rafi Smith poll: 80% of Israelis support IDF presence in W. Bank in the case of unilateral withdrawal until agreement is signed. 

Yishai makes ‘hottest guys in Israeli politics’ list
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Yair Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and surprisingly Shelly Yacimovich also featured by gay magazine F.O.D. ahead of elections. 

E. J’lem: Driver hits Border Policeman; both hurt
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Police say after cab driver denied entry to police station, he ran over Border Police officer; suspect: “I went crazy.” 

PM: Israel preparing for major changes in Syria
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – Netanyahu reiterates Israel closely monitoring “dramatic developments” in Syria, is preparing for possible action. 

‘Hamas preparing for West Bank takeover’
Jerusalem Post 23 Dec 2012 – ‘The Sunday Times’ claims Hamas instructed its sleeper cells in West Bank to prepare for armed struggle to overtake the territory. 

Israel to join NATO activities amidst Turkey tension
Jerusalem Post 22 Dec 2012 – ‘Post’ learns Israel approved for 2013 NATO courses, conferences; follows granting of Turkish request for Patriot missiles. 

HU center gets gov’t nod for leishmania know-how
Jerusalem Post 22 Dec 2012 – Health Scan: Ministry designates Sanford Kuvin Center as nat’l laboratory for sandfly-borne disease. 

‘Sustainability education required for the future’
Jerusalem Post 22 Dec 2012 – International experts gather in Herzliya to discuss strategies for economic growth with minimal environmental damage. 


State Department officials sanctioned for Benghazi attack

Blackwater Wins the Battle of Benghazi

Curfew imposed on Kifl Haris as settlers invade

Why boycotting Israel matters

UK pays out millions to Iraqi torture victims

Egyptians are being held back by neoliberalism, not religion

While Report on CIA Abuse Stays Secret, Senators Blast Tinseltown Torture

Maybe Torture Doesn’t Work But Kathryn Bigelow Seems to Like It Zero Dark Thirty: Torture, Take Two

Tis the Season Refugees in Their Own Land

US Congress drops measure banning indefinite detention of US citizens

Daily Star

Asian buyers to deepen Iranian crude import cuts in 2013
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 Asian buyers of Iranian crude will deepen import cuts in 2013 and struggle to send cash to Tehran to pay for oil as tightening Western sanctions choke the flow of hard currency to Iran’s coffers.

Egypt’s Islamists tighten grip on power
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 With the passage of a divisive constitution, Egypt’s Islamist leadership has secured its tightest grip on power since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster nearly two years ago and laid the foundation for legislation to create a more religious…

US border security advocates eye remote lands
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 A proposal being debated in Congress would give the U.S. Border Patrol a free hand to build roads, camera towers, helicopter pads and living quarters without any of the outside scrutiny that can modify or even…

700 Palestinians killed in Syria conflict: PLO
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 More than 700 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the conflict there erupted more than 21 months ago, a Palestine Liberation Organisation official in charge of refugees said on Sunday.

GCC ministers discuss economy ahead of summit
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 Foreign ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states met in Bahrain’s capital on Sunday to discuss economic integration on the eve of the annual GCC summit, a diplomatic source said.

Syrian Christians fear bleak future after Assad
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 With Christmas just days away, 40-year-old Mira begged her parents to flee their hometown of Aleppo, which has become a main battleground in Syria’s civil war.

Gaza militants fire rocket at Israel: reports
Daily Star 23 Dec 2012 Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel on Sunday for the first time since an Egypt-mediated ceasefire on November 21, army radio and other media reported.

YNet News

IDF: No casualties in Gaza border firing 
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – ….

Dozens stand to lose jobs as Bikur Holim closes 
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Jerusalem hospital to merge with Shaare Zedek, close its gates. Employees claim some 200 will not be rehired ….

Palestinians: IDF fired at Gazan infiltrators
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – ….

Israelis struggle to rebuild lives after Gaza op
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Month after end of Operation Pillar of Defense, some Israeli families who lost homes in rocket attacks losing their patience: ‘Nothing is moving,’ says Lotem Hachmon ….

Senators: Hagel would face tough confirmation
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – ….

Austria: Arson attack on 3 churches
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – ….

Officer wounded undergoes surgery; condition stable
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – ….

Lieberman to be questioned again
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Legal proceedings against ex-FM unlikely to be completed prior to elections; State may revise indictment in case of appointment of Ambassador Ben Aryeh ….

My friend, my enemy
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Op-ed: Nabil Shaath remembers Lipkin-Shahak, who told him: ‘It’s time to stop the killing’ ….

Egyptians want peace, says blogger visiting Israel
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Maikel Nabil Sanad, an Egyptian blogger hosted by Hebrew University in Jerusalem says ‘There is a peace-seeking community in Egypt’ ….

Turkey to resume NATO cooperation with Israel
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Ankara agrees to drop ban on cooperating with Israel as third-country NATO partner first introduced after IDF raid on Marmara; will continue to ban joint military maneuvers ….

Dozens killed in air strike on bakery in central Syria
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Activists report seeing piles of bodies including women and children following Syrian air strike at rebel-held Halfaya in Hama province ….

Christians in Israel: Strong in education
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Data published by Central Bureau of Statistics reveals 158,000 Christians live in Israel, make up 2% of population; 80.6% are Arabs ….

Egypt: Opposition says constitution perpetuates instability
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood celebrates constitutional ratification calling it, ‘historic opportunity for unity.’ Opposition calls referendum results ‘false, full of deceit’ ….

Parents of autistic kids beseech State’s help 
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Dozens of parented whose children suffer from autism protest in Jerusalem against shrinking government assistance ….

J’lem: Cabbie shot after trying to run officer over
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Border Guard officer lightly hurt after taxi driver attempts to run him over; driver mildly wounded. Police say incident was nationalistically motivated ….

Settlers and human rights
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Op-ed: West Bank Jews claim too often and too loudly that their rights are grounded on scriptures ….

Egypt votes ‘Yes’ on Morsi’s constitution 
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – Polls suggest over 60% of Egyptians back president’s controversial laws amid fears of new riots; rights groups report irregularities ….

Tougher EU sanctions against Iran come into force
YNet News, 23 Dec 2012 – New sanctions against Tehran’s major industries aim to cripple country’s economy further in hope of forcing compliance with IAEA. Ahmadinejad flouts move, says Iran ‘engaged in smart economic war with enemy’ ….

Egypt’s vice president quits
YNet News, 22 Dec 2012 – Mahmoud Mekky’s resignation announcement hints he was displeased with President Morsi’s policies ….

Palestinian Information Center

Dweik: political detention and security coordination obstacles to reconciliation
PIC – The head of the Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik, called for implementing “a real reconciliation”, stressing that there are many obstacles facing its implementation..

Risheq denies Sunday Times’ claims about Hamas cells in the West Bank
PIC – Izzat al-Rishq denied the allegations reported by the British Sunday Times newspaper, quoting Hebrew sources, claiming that “Hamas could seize power in the West Bank”.

Gaza government: 184 were killed and 1399 were wounded in aggression
PIC – The Palestinian government in Gaza announced that the total number of people killed in the Israeli aggression, which lasted from the 14th to 21st November, hits 184..

Hamas celebrates its anniversary in Beirut
PIC – Thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon commemorated today the twenty-fifth anniversary of the inception of Hamas movement and celebrated Gaza‘s recent victory over the Israeli aggression.

IPS denies visits to the strikers Kaadan and Ezzedine
PIC – Israeli Prison Service (IPS) informed Red Cross in Jenin that the hunger strikers Tarek Kaadan and Jafar Ezzedine are banned from the scheduled visit on Monday as a punishment..

Abu Zuhri: rumor about Hamas controlling WB is Israeli incitement
PIC – The Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, denied claims by Israeli reports that Hamas intends to take control over the West Bank, considering such reports as Israeli incitement..

Strike in Health and Education sectors in Jenin
PIC – The education sector in the district of Jenin has continued its strike on Sunday while health unions announced strike after 11 pm in the various West Bank districts.

Activists call for a hunger strike in solidarity with prisoners
PIC – Palestinian human rights organizations called on Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to go on a one-day hunger strike on Monday, in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners. 


EU Contributes more than €7m to November Salary Disbursement
WAFA – 23 Dec 2012

Abbas Meets Egyptian Ambassador in Ramallah
WAFA – 23 Dec 2012

Newspapers Review: Abbas Slams Settlement Activities Focus of Dailies
WAFA – 23 Dec 2012

General Teachers’ Strike in Jenin over Salary Delay
WAFA – 23 Dec 2012

PA to Pay Half of November’s Salary, says Ministry of Finance
WAFA – 23 Dec 2012

PEX Report: Al-Quds Index Up
WAFA – 20 Dec 2012


6 die in Syria car bombing; gunman slays state journalist
LA Times 22 Dec 2012 – The bomb blast in Damascus injures 10. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government and opposition blame each other for the explosion. BEIRUT — A car bomb exploded in eastern Damascus on Saturday, an insurgent spokeswoman said, and the Syrian government reported that a gunman killed a…

Lakhdar Brahimi, International Envoy, Heads to Syria to Meet With Assad
New York Times 23 Dec 2012 – The international envoy to Syria arrived in Lebanon on Sunday and traveled to Damascus for a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, according to two Lebanese security officials. 

As Egypt Constitution Passes, New Fights Lie Ahead
New York Times 23 Dec 2012 – An Islamist-backed constitution was approved by voters, propelling deeply split political factions into a new phase in the battle over Egypt’s future. 

Shemen Oil raises further NIS 24m for Yam 3 well 
Globes Energy & Water – The private placement brings the total amount raised in the past week to NIS 44 million.

Modiin Energy CEO: Getting ready to drill Gabriella 
Globes Energy & Water – Modiin Energy has amended its agreements for operations by the Homer Ferrington rig, owned by Noble Corporation.

Applied CleanTech wins €10m contract in Slovenia and Croatia 
Globes Energy & Water – The company’s technology greatly reduces sewage treatment plants’ energy consumption, and reduces sludge and greenhouse gas emissions.

Tax Authority collects first trapped profits taxes
Globes Main News – In the past two weeks, six companies have opted to unfreeze part of their trapped profits and pay dividends taxes totaling NIS 200 million.

Robert Shemin: Don’t invest in Israeli real estate
Globes Main News – The CNN and Fox News commentator said, “Israel reminds me of the situation in the US before the bubble burst.”

First extradition from US to Israel on tax charge
Globes Main News – Aharon Barashi, wanted for evading NIS 17.5 million in income tax and VAT, was extradited from the US to Israel.

Sun: Mellanox continues tumble
Globes Main News – Mellanox and EZchip both fell hard today and Teva continued its slide.

YouPhone offers NIS 39 unlimited mobile plan
Globes Main News – The latest move in the mobile telephony price war applies to new customers, for two-four months.

Leumi ups Road 6 holding as Shikun & Binui sells stake
Globes Main News – Leumi Partner’s investment is through a deal in which Israel Infrastructure Fund is acquiring the 25.5% stake of Shikun & Binui Holdings Ltd.

Analysts split on January interest rate decision 
Globes Macro Economics – Two-thirds of analysts polled by “Bloomberg” believe that the Bank of Israel will keep the interest rate for January unchanged.

Kinneret up 23cm after weekend rains 
Globes Macro Economics – Last week’s storm system boosted the Kinneret’s water level to 212.02 meters below sea level.

Firing Zone 918 – Khirbet Al-Fakhit
Palestine Monitor – Photos by Lazar Simeonov.   Several miles from road 317 into the expanse of the South Hebron hills lays Khirbet Al-Fakhit, a village presently under danger of demolition due to Israel’s declared firing zone. Only plausibly…

No surprise: Chuck Schumer refuses to stand up for Hagel
Mondoweiss – The Israel lobby continues to use the gay issue as cover for going after Chuck Hagel as possible Defense Secretary nominee, and the media allow the lobby to get away with it. Both Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory of NBC, apostles of conventional wisdom, hint that…

Veolia withdraws bid for North London waste contract under boycott pressure
Mondoweiss – No 2 Veolia Action Group (No2VAG) celebrate a huge victory. London Dec.21, 2012 (photo:No2VAG) During the last 2 years, a great campaign by the No to Veolia Action Group ( NO2VAG ) has worked hard in pressuring councilors to exclude Veolia from a £4.7 Billion contracts in north…

Exile and the Prophetic: The United States Nakba Memorial Museum
Mondoweiss – This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page. So what if for one day at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Jew spoke about the aftermath of the Holocaust…

Facing the wall in Bil’in
Mondoweiss – Here are two startling images from the Bil’in weekly demonstration along the wall in occupied Palestine. Hamdi Abu Rahma took the photo below on Friday. It appears to be a youth returning a teargas canister to soldiers. Bilin December 21 And this image of settler children…

Preparing for the best
Mondoweiss – In this essay, capitalized “Democracy” means what it means in South Africa: equal rights for all the citizens of Palestine.  Democracy’s enemy is apartheid, the present form of government in Palestine.  Another term for apartheid in Palestine is Zionism, the ranks of former liberal Zionists swelling steadily as one by one we reluctantly, belatedly come to acknowledge the equation. 

Israel Election Plays Out on Social Media 
The Foward Breaking News 23 Dec 2012 – Welcome to the Israeli election campaign, a far more informal, where candidates Tweet and post for themselves in a much more informal environment than the U.S. Click here for the rest of the article…

Israeli Woman Dies at 124 Years Old 
The Foward Breaking News 23 Dec 2012 – An Arab-Israeli woman believed to be 124 years old has died. Click here for the rest of the article…

Syria Chemical Weapons Still Secure: Israel 
The Foward Breaking News 23 Dec 2012 – Syria’s chemical weapons are still secure despite the fact that President Bashar al-Assad has lost control of parts of the country, a senior Israeli defence official said on Sunday. Click here for the rest of the article…

‘Deadly strike’ on Syria bakery 
BBC 23 Dec 2012 – Dozens of people are killed in an air strike on a bakery in the town of Halfaya, in the central Syrian province of Hama, activists say.

Egypt opposition alleges ‘fraud’ 
BBC 23 Dec 2012 – Egypt’s main opposition demands an investigation into the referendum on the draft constitution, citing “fraud and violations” in the voting.

William A. Cook: The Burial of Bethlehem 
Sabbah report 23 Dec 2012 – The illegal Israeli (read Jewish) 8 metre high apartheid barrier is designed not for security but the theft of 80% of Bethlehem’s land to build a ring of illegal Jewish settlements. Why is the world so silent? William A. Cook: The Burial of Bethlehem was published…

E1: military reasoning, human consequences 
AIC: Jerusalem 23 Dec 2012 – Building in E1 does not prevent a future scenario of confrontation, as Israelis say, but instead creates an immediate confrontation. A settlement in this area will divide the West Bank, eroding the geographic platform for a Palestinian state by dividing it into three separate blocs: the…

South Lebanon’s Disappearing Laurels 
Al-Akhbar News 23 Dec 2012 – Ayta is the only village in the South which has soil suitable for laurel trees to grow. (Photo: Al-Akhbar) Ayta is the only village in the South which has soil suitable for laurel trees to grow. (Photo: Al-Akhbar) Even though the amount of laurel trees have…

Homs After the Battle: Quiet, But No Peace 
Al-Akhbar News 23 Dec 2012 – A Syrian boy stands in front of a damaged armoured vehicle belonging to the Syrian army in a street in Homs 23 January 2012. (Reuters – Ahmed Jadallah) A Syrian boy stands in front of a damaged armoured vehicle belonging to the Syrian army in a…

Syrian minister rails against media “lies” 
Al-Akhbar News 23 Dec 2012 – A resident holds prayer beads near buildings damaged by what opposition sources said were missiles fired by the Syrian Air Force in Douma, near Damascus, on 17 December 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Karm Seif/Shaam News Network/Handout) Syria’s information minister railed on Sunday against media portrayals of…

Yemeni army shells tribesmen blocking pipeline 
Al-Akhbar News 23 Dec 2012 – The Yemeni army launched an assault on Sunday using tanks and rockets on tribesmen blocking repairs to the country’s main oil export pipeline, tribal sources said. “Armed tribesmen prevented repair teams from fixing the oil pipeline and army forces shelled the areas where the gunmen are…

Iraq attacks kill four 
Al-Akhbar News 23 Dec 2012 – Three separate bomb attacks killed a member of the Kurdish peshmerga security forces and three construction workers in Iraq on Sunday, officers and doctors said. A bomb blast in an under-construction house in the town of Mishahada, north of Baghdad, killed the workers and wounded another,…

Egypt adopts Islamist constitution with two-thirds support 
Al-Akhbar News 23 Dec 2012 – An official counts ballots after polls closed during the final stage of a referendum on Egypt’s new constitution in Bani Sweif. (Photo: Reuters/Swinger) An official counts ballots after polls closed during the final stage of a referendum on Egypt’s new constitution in Bani Sweif, about 115…

Empty Promises of the Future Movement in Bekaa 
Al-Akhbar Politics 22 Dec 2012 – As the days went by, little to none of the projects that “Sheikh Saad” promised were ever implemented. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah) As the days went by, little to none of the projects that “Sheikh Saad” promised were ever implemented. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah) Over the years, the…

‘Deadly strike’ on Syria bakery 
BBC 23 Dec 2012 – Dozens of people are killed in an air strike on a bakery in the town of Halfaya, in the central Syrian province of Hama, activists say.

Egypt opposition alleges ‘fraud’ 
BBC 23 Dec 2012 – Egypt’s main opposition demands an investigation into the referendum on the draft constitution, citing “fraud and violations” in the voting.

AUDIO: ‘Syria’s chemical weapons ready for use’ 
BBC 22 Dec 2012 – Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks to the BBC’s Frank Gardner about US concerns over Syria’s weapons.

VIDEO: Can Middle East accept camel leather? 
BBC 23 Dec 2012 – The camel is an important animal in the Middle East, providing transport, meat, milk – and now leather.

Preparing for a post-Assad Syria 
BBC 22 Dec 2012 – West scrambles to prepare for Syrian change of power


New Jerusalem highway to cut Arab neighborhood in half 
Nir Hasson, Haaretz, Israeli Occupation Archive 12/21/2012
      Construction of highway through Beit Safafa is based on plans drawn up 22 years ago, although no detailed plan for the road was submitted and no permits for the bridges above it were issued, according to municipal officials
     The Jerusalem municipality is constructing a highway running through the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, cutting the pastoral area in the south of the city into two.
     The road, passing mere meters away from residents’ homes, will not only ruin their quality of life but will cut many of them off from the mosque, bakery, nursery school and other facilities located a few minutes’ walk away. They will now have to travel a long way via roads, underpasses and bridges to get to the other side of the village.
     The highway’s construction is based on plans drawn up 22 years ago, although no detailed plan for the road was submitted and no permits for the bridges above it were issued, according to municipal officials.
     The village residents will not benefit from the new road, whose main beneficiaries will be West Bank settlers from Gush Etzion who will be able to drive to Jerusalem’s center or Tel Aviv without stopping at a single traffic light.
     Ten days ago Attorney Kais Nasser filed an administrative petition against the municipality and its Moriah development company, demanding to halt the construction work and replan the road. Since he filed the petition the residents say the construction has speeded up.
     ….Consequently, the people whose lives will be forever changed by the new road were not given a chance to submit objections or demand compensation. — See also: Source: Haaretz more.. e-mail

Racist reporting gets free hand in Israeli press 
I’lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, +972 Magazine 12/23/2012
      Examples of racism are abundant in the Israeli press. Both individual journalists and the media outlets that publish them must be taken to task for stereotyping Palestinians, and in some cases, inciting violence against them.
     It is not altogether true that free expression is under threat in Israel. Sure, one may have been led into believing so, what with the passing in 2011 of the “Nakba Law,” penalizing commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba, and the “Anti-Boycott Law,” restricting anyone calling for a boycott of Israeli institutions, including in the occupied Palestinian territories. Yet, for decades, the Hebrew media has essentially been given free rein to incite to racism and violence against Palestinians, with seemingly little self-reflection and even less accountability.
     I’lam: Media Center is a media rights NGO that regularly monitors the Israeli Hebrew media. We’ve reported racist patterns in media performance during wartime coverage, such as during the Lebanon War in 2006 and during the war on Gaza at the turn of 2008, and also recorded similar patterns in the recent offensive on Gaza, to be published soon. During wartime, we note that the Israeli media plays the role of cheerleader for war, downplaying civilian losses on the enemy side, while patriotically rallying the troops. But how do the media perform during times of “peace?”
     Our latest compendium of weekly monitoring of the mainstream Hebrew media highlights how the space for free expression for racist reporting in the Israeli media encounters little restriction, even during times when things are “quiet on the war front.”
     The Ethics Tribunal at the Israeli Press Council (IPC) is meant to monitor ethical performance of the media. However, its underfunding and lack of independence make its interventions ad-hoc and ineffective. In our opinion, the racism we have monitored in everyday media performance is considered acceptable in the political culture, which is why it is not flagged as problematic enough to justify intervention. more.. e-mail

This Christmas, remember Palestine’s Christians 
Mairead Corrigan-maguire, Ma’an News Agency 12/22/2012
      Recently, the Israeli Embassy in Ireland posted a “thought for Christmas” its Facebook page to the effect that if Jesus Christ and his mother Mary alive today, they would be “lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians.”
     As Christians all over the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, we should also remember what that little town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born over 2,000 years ago, looks like today.
     These are distressing times for the Christians of the Holy Land, as revealed by a South African ecumenical delegation who were “traumatized” during an Advent visit to Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem this month.
     Upon their return, they jointly said that they “did not expect the extent to which Israel violates international law to oppress the Palestinian people.”
     They reported that “it felt like walking into another apartheid ambush … the multiple Israeli house demolitions, the discriminatory Israeli legal system, the daily intimidation of Palestinians by the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli Apartheid Wall and its associated regime of restrictions on movement and access for Palestinians, the imprisonment of a large percentage of Palestinians (including children), the ongoing confiscation of Palestinian water and land, the closure of previously bustling Palestinian streets and businesses.”
     To simply take the case of Bethlehem — although Christians live in many other areas of Palestine and Israel – one sees that from an historic high of 80 percent in 1947, Christians now make up only around 20 percent of the population. The past decade alone has seen over 10 percent of Christians leaving their homeland. more.. e-mail

A word of advice about the Middle East – we’ve reached the ‘tipping point’ with cliches 
Robert Fisk, The Independent 12/23/2012
      You’ve got to be careful when Syria’s rebels are perpetually “closing in”
     Remember the days when we thought Egypt’s path to democracy was a done deal? Western-trained Mohamed Morsi had invited the people to come and meet him in Hosni Mubarak’s former presidential palace, the old military toffs in the “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” had been pensioned off and the International Monetary Fund was waiting to bestow some of those cruel deprivations upon Egypt that would ready it for our financial benevolence. How happy the Middle East optimists were by mid-2012.
     Next door, Libya produced a victory for nice, pro-Western secularist Mahmoud Jibril, promising freedom, stability, a new home for the West in one of the Arab world’s most fecund oil producers. It was a place where even US diplomats could wander around virtually unprotected.
     Tunisia may have an Islamist party running its government, but it was a “moderate” administration – in other words, we thought it would do what we wanted – while the Saudis and the Bahraini autocracy, with the purse-lipped support of Messrs Obama and Cameron, quietly suppressed what was left of the Shia uprising which threatened to remind us all that democracy was not really welcome among the wealthiest Arab states. Democracy was for the poor. Closing in
     So, too, in Syria. By the spring of last year, the Western commentariat was writing off Bashar al-Assad. He did not deserve “to live on this earth”, according to French Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius. He must “step down”, “step aside”. His regime had only weeks to go, perhaps only days. This was the “tipping point”. more.. e-mail

Firing Zone 918 – Khirbet Al-Fakhit
Palestine Monitor: 23 Dec 2012 – Photos by Lazar Simeonov.   Several miles from road 317 into the expanse of the South Hebron hills lays Khirbet Al-Fakhit, a village presently under danger of demolition due to Israel’s declared firing zone. Only plausibly…more

The terror lurking in a Christmas tree
Dissident Voice: 23 Dec 2012 – Israel’s large Palestinian minority is often spoken of in terms of the threat it poses to the Jewish majority. Palestinian citizens’ reproductive rate constitutes a “demographic timebomb”, while their main political programme – Israel’s reform into “a state of all its citizens” – is proof for most Israeli Jews that their compatriots are really a “fifth column”. But who would imagine that Israeli Jews could be so intimidated by the innocuous Christmas tree? This issue first came to public attention two years ago when it was revealed that Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, had banned Christmas trees from all public buildings in his northern Israeli city. “Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish,” Gapso said. “As long as I hold office, no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.” The decision reflected in part his concern that Upper Nazareth, built in the…more

Iran Media Ban: Zionist Octopus at Work
Dissident Voice: 23 Dec 2012 – It seems that the West is sloughing over its established definition of freedom of expression when the Iranian channels HispanTV and Press TV come under brutal censorship by the Israel-friendly satellite companies in Europe. Evidently spearheaded by the Zionists, Spain’s satellite provider Hispasat has ordered Overon to take Press TV and Hispan TV off the air. No wonder, the illegal move created extreme joy in the Zionist organizations such as the American Jewish Committee (AJC). “This is an important development in the worldwide effort to contain the defiant regime in Tehran, one we have been watching carefully for months and discussing with our friends in Spain,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Hispasat did the right thing,” Harris continued. “No satellite company in the Western world should enable the dissemination of propaganda from an Iranian government that denies human rights, supports terror organizations and is determined to achieve nuclear weapons…more

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