VTJP Occupied Palestine and Israel: News and Articles 13 December 2013

13 December 2013 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Soldiers Invade Shweika Village Near Tulkarem
IMEMC – [Friday, December 13, 2013] Despite the extreme snowstorm hitting different parts of occupied Palestine, dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the Shweika village, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, broke into a home and violently searched the premises. …

Gazans Left Homeless By Winter Storm
IMEMC – Hundreds of Homes Flooded [Friday, December 13, 2013] A winter storm of unparalleled dimensions has left hundreds of families in Gaza homeless, the Middle East Monitor has reported. …

Israel Sets Conditions For Continuing Peace Negotiations
IMEMC – Abbas Skeptical of Talks U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, this morning, the Palestinian News Network (PNN) has reported. The meeting was set to be attended by Minister Moshe Ya’alon. …

Shortage of Supplies Critical For Gaza Health Services
IMEMC – [December, 2013] The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concerns over critical shortages in medical supplies and electricity for Gaza health services — shortages which are putting Palestinian patients’ lives directly at risk, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) has reported. …

Ma’an News

Bedouin face eviction as Israel builds new towns
12/13/2013 – UMM AL-HEIRAN (AFP) — Some 50 years after Israeli authorities gave them the land, the Bedouin of Umm al-Heiran village face eviction to make way for two modern towns. Located in the Negev desert, the village is home to some 150 Palestinian Bedouin families — 1,000 inhabitants — who live in small, concrete buildings, relying on solar panels for electricity and raising livestock. But more than half a….

Israel ‘opens dams’ flooding Gaza Strip near Deir al Balah
12/13/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Gaza Government’s Disaster Response Committee announced late Friday that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just east of the Gaza Strip, flooding numerous residential areas in nearby villages within the coastal territory. Committee chairman Yasser Shanti said in a press conference that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just to the east of the border with the Gaza….

49 injured in storm-related accidents across Gaza Strip
12/13/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Gaza government’s Disaster Response Committee announced Friday evening that at least 49 people had been injured as a result of the storm pounding the Gaza Strip. Chairman Yasser Shanti said in a news conference that at least 46 minor injuries and 3 severe injuries have been recorded in medical facilities across the strip as a direct result of….

60 percent of West Bank without power
12/13/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Crews worked overtime across the West Bank on Friday after 60 percent of the Palestinian territory’s regions were plunged into darkness as a result of severe weather conditions. Director General of the Jerusalem Electricity Company Said Hisham Omari told Ma’an that there were at least 45 malfunctions in power lines across the West Bank as a result….

Kerry meets Netanyahu on new Mideast peace mission
12/13/2013 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — US Secretary of State John Kerry was to meet Friday morning in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his latest attempt at promoting elusive Israeli-Palestinians peace talks. The two were to meet in a city-center hotel at 6:30 GMT, after the US envoy held more than two hours of talks Thursday evening with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, in the West….

Iran halts nuclear talks after US blacklist move
12/13/2013 – TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian negotiators halted nuclear talks with major powers to return to Tehran for consultations after Washington blacklisted a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions, state media reported.”The Iranian negotiators interrupted the talks with the P5+1 for consultations in Tehran,” a negotiator told Iran’s official IRNA news agency. The negotiators had been discussing the implementation of a landmark….

Abbas rejects US plan for permanent Israel troop presence
12/13/2013 – RAMALLAH (AFP) — President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected US proposals for Israel to keep troops in a future Palestinian state along its border with Jordan, a Palestinian source said on Friday. Following a meeting on Thursday evening with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, “President Abbas has rejected the ideas presented by the secretary of state”, the source said….

Kerry ‘hopeful’ can strike final Mideast peace deal
12/13/2013 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he hoped to help achieve a peace agreement encompassing Israeli security needs and Palestinian sovereignty, as he wrapped up his regional visit. But President Mahmoud Abbas rejected US proposals for Israel to keep a military presence in a future Palestinian state.” We are working on an approach that both guarantees Israel’s security and….

Dubai festival awards Palestinian thriller ‘Omar’
12/13/2013 – DUBAI (AFP) — Palestinian thriller “Omar”, a tale of love, betrayal and struggle in the Israeli-occupied territories, on Friday scooped two top prizes at the Dubai International Film Festival. Omar won the DIFF awards in the best Arabic feature category and with Hany Abu Assad as best director of an Arabic feature. The film had received a jury prize in the “Un Certain Regard” category at….

Jerusalem locked down by ‘historic’ snowstorm
12/13/2013 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — The hilltop city of Jerusalem was paralyzed on Friday by a snowstorm of “historic” proportions, with its mayor calling out the army to help stranded motorists.” We are battling a storm of rare ferocity,” Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement as snow in the Holy City piled up to around 15 inches, while outlying areas had much deeper drifts. One weather forecaster….

Widespread flooding in Gaza forces thousands to flee homes
12/13/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Gaza Strip was pounded by fierce winds and rain again on Friday as flooding reached dangerous levels in many areas, forcing thousands to flee their homes amid widespread power outages as temperatures plunged into the single digits. The flooding was worst in the northern Gaza Strip, where hundreds fled their homes and water levels reached 40-50 cm in some….

Assad win may be Syria’s ‘best option’
12/13/2013 – WASHINGTON (AFP) — The sectarian bloodbath in Syria is such a threat to regional security that a victory for Bashar Assad’s regime could be the best outcome to hope for, a former CIA chief said. Washington condemned Assad’s conduct of the conflict, threatened air strikes after he was accused of targeting civilians with chemical weapons, and has demanded he step down. The….

Desperate Syrians find little comfort in new homes
12/13/2013 – Beirut (AFP) — They fled air strikes and shelling, but many of Syria’s three million refugees have found little comfort elsewhere, suffering in squalid camps and risking death to reach Europe’s shores. In Lebanon, many crowd into makeshift shelters in agricultural fields that will soon be blanketed in thick snow, and in Egypt they have faced government crackdowns and deportation. A lucky….

American missing in Iran ‘worked for CIA’
12/13/2013 – WASHINGTON (AFP) — An American who went missing in Iran six years ago worked for the CIA and was not in the country on a business trip as US officials had claimed, US media reported. In a case that had long been shrouded in secrecy, the Associated Press and The Washington Post published lengthy reports revealing how retired FBI agent Robert Levinson had been paid by….

New toll: US drone strike in Yemen killed 17, mostly civilians
12/13/2013 – Sanaa (AFP) – A drone strike on a wedding convoy in Yemen killed 17 people, mostly civilians, medical, and security sources said Friday, adding grist to mounting criticism of the US drone war.”Some” of the dead in Thursday’s strike near the central town of Radaa were suspected members of al-Qaeda, but the rest were all civilians with no connection to the militant network….

AlJazeera

Snowstorm brings Jerusalem to a grinding halt
AlJazeera 13 Dec 2013 – Hundreds of people housed in makeshift shelter after 50cm snowfall strands scores of vehicles on city highways.

Palestine News Network

Israel Transfers Representative of Prisoners to Megiddo Prison
Palestine News Network

Relief Web

Lebanon: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos remarks by video to the CERF High-Level Conference Friday 13 December 2013
Relief Web 13 Dec 2013 – Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Lebanon, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic Colleagues, Greetings from Beirut. I’m standing on the roof of a building in the southern suburbs of Beirut, in the Palestinian refugee camp…

World: Assemblée : plaidoyer pour que la résilience des pays et des communautés soit au cœur des efforts contre les catastrophes naturelles
Relief Web 12 Dec 2013 – Source: UN General Assembly Country: occupied Palestinian territory, Rwanda, World AG/11470 Assemblée générale Soixante-huitième session 66e séance plénière – après-midi Les catastrophes naturelles comptent parmi les principaux obstacles au développement, a prévenu aujourd’hui le représentant du Pakistan qui, avec d’autres,…

The National

UN and Lebanese army offer Syrian refugees relief as cold weather bites
The National 13 Dec 2013 – Storm conditions, which have blanketed even eastern desert regions of Syria with a thick layer of snow, are expected to ease in coming days, although there will be little respite for millions of Syrians who have left their homes for draughty makeshift shelters in neighbouring countries and safer districts inside their own war-torn nation.

Iran withdraws from nuclear talks after US expands sanctions blacklist
The National 13 Dec 2013 – Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said the US decision went against the spirit of the deal struck in Geneva under which world powers undertook to impose no further sanctions for six months.

Tens of thousands say farewell to Mandela at Union Buildings
The National 13 Dec 2013 – Police had to turn away thousands of mourners as they attempted to see Mandela on the last day of his three days of lying in state.

Kerry meets Israel’s Netanyahu to push peace talks
The National 13 Dec 2013 – US secretary of state says the latest round of shuttle diplomacy has been constructive despite Palestinian concerns about the security framework of a potential final-status deal with Israel.

‘Affluenza’ defence sparks anger in US homicide trial
The National 13 Dec 2013 – ‘Affluenza’ is used to describe a condition in which children – generally from richer families – have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible and make excuses for poor behaviour.

Video: US suspends non-lethal assistance to northern Syria 
The National 13 Dec 2013 – The White House confirmed that the US has suspended all further deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Ha’aretz

UN chief deplores use of chemical weapons in Syria
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

‘Supporting’ Israel is out, U.S. Jews turn to ‘engaging’
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Australian tennis champ found dead in New Zealand
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

UNESCO sounds alarm about illicit Syria archaeology digs
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Massive snowstorm shuts down Jerusalem
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Not only for Christmas: Cookies with a Middle Eastern flavor you can enjoy year-round
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Massive snowstorm shuts down Jerusalem; police to residents: Stay indoors
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Iran pulls out of expert-level talks with world powers over U.S. sanctions
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Kerry: Next group of Palestinian prisoners to be released as planned at end of month
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Iran, Russia say new U.S. sanctions violate spirit of Geneva deal
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Netanyahu seeks committee to decide on private jet, new residence for PM
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Berlin prosecutors investigate Nazi guard suspect
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Ethiopian blood affair in Knesset a political ambush
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Appeal Lieberman’s acquittal
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

No peace without the Golan
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful
Ha’aretz – 13 Dec 2013

First African migrants brought to controversial Negev detention center
Ha’aretz – 12 Dec 2013

IDF increases probes into female draft dodgers claiming to be religious
Ha’aretz – 12 Dec 2013

Israeli LGBT activists mobilize online after gay rights bill fails
Ha’aretz – 12 Dec 2013

Jerusalem Post

Iran, Russia warn US against sanctions blacklist, say nuclear deal in jeopardy
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Moscow, Tehran say moves against companies who evaded sanctions violates spirit of interim nuclear accord. 

Israel transfers aid supplies to Gaza due to harsh weather conditions
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Gas, water pumps provided to Strip in response to UN’s appeal to Coordinator of Activities in the Territories. 

Tens of thousands without power as severe winter storms continue
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Police urge public to remain indoors; capital bracing for up to 20 inches of snow; J’lem Mayor Barkat says city facing “rare storm, the likes of which we’ve never seen”; scores in Gaza evacuate homes due to flooding. 

Jerusalem braces for massive snowstorm as thousands still without power across Israel
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Jerusalem Mayor Barkat says city facing “rare storm, the likes of which we’ve never seen.” 

Gender blender: A collection inspired by Women of the Wall
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – After a controversial summer collection inspired by Islam, Comme Il Faut’s winter collection is drawn from Jewish inspiration. 

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood turns to sisters in fight against state
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – With many male members jailed, besieged Islamist group is calling up an unlikely reserve force against the army-backed gov’t. 

Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian peace deal still possible by April
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – US secretary of state meets with PM in J’lem to discuss advancing peace process; says Palestinian prisoner release set for Dec. 29. 

Iran: New US sanctions violate spirit of Geneva deal
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Expert-level talks over Iran deal hit snag in Vienna after new measures; Russia echoes Iranian criticism. 

Roads to Jerusalem closed as huge storm batters Israel
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Jerusalem Mayor Barkat says city facing “a rare storm, the likes of which we’ve never seen”; turns to IDF for help; Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv at risk of flooding; part of Highway 6 closed. 

Police, IDF called in to help motorists stranded in snow in Jerusalem; BG Airport shut temporarily
Jerusalem Post 13 Dec 2013 – Jerusalem Mayor Barkat says city facing “a rare storm, the likes of which we’ve never seen”; turns to IDF’s Gantz, J’lem district police chief for help in freeing trapped drivers as snowfall continues to pound capital. 

UN panel: Sanctions against Iran must be enforced despite Geneva deal
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Security Council sanctions committee chair urges countries to uphold obligation to make sure Iran measures implemented. 

Despite calls for neutrality in Ukraine protests, young Jews are on the front lines
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Anti-Semitism bubbles just under surface, Jewish group believes, calling for increased security at public Jewish places. 

Be careful in Iran talks, B’nai B’rith president urges US
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Allan J. Jacobs tells ‘Post’ that he is particularly worried about the possibility of the sanctions regime unraveling. 

‘American who went missing in Iran in 2007 was on rogue CIA mission’
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – ‘Washington Post’ reports that ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson was not in Iran as a private citizen as has been claimed. 

Exclusive: Israeli, Palestinian officials to coordinate civilian emergency responses
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – “We left politics aside, and focused on rescue and the saving lives, which comes before everything,” says Hebron source. 

Into The Fray: Wacko in Washington
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – When it comes to the Mideast, bad ideas never die, no matter how implausible, improbable or impractical. 

Kerry returns to region to continue pushing Abbas, Netanyahu
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Kerry meets Abbas first, Netanyahu on Friday; John Allen, working on security ideas for accord, joins Kerry for Abbas meeting. 

The art of appreciation
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – The prime minister’s predicament came to mind during my night at the museum. 

iEngage: How to deflate the settlements as an issue
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Settlers shouldn’t get to decide the future of the country and the fate of its two peoples. 

Savir’s Corner: We need Mandelas
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Nelson Mandela: the man who from Robben Island Prison united the whole world in a profound desire for freedom. 

COLUMN ONE: Pollard and an American Jewish renaissance
Jerusalem Post 12 Dec 2013 – Every day Pollard remains in prison is an attack on the freedom and security of the American Jewish community. 

The Guardian

Kerry holds talks with Netanyahu and Abbas as US pushes for peace deal
The Guardian 13 Dec 2013 – Secretary of state makes second Middle East visit in a week as Abbas rejects plan for Israeli military presence in Jordan Valley Harriet Sherwood

Snowstorm brings havoc and hardship across Middle East
The Guardian 13 Dec 2013 – Storm Alexa shuts airports and schools in Holy Land and brings misery to Syrian refugees • If you are affected, we would like to hear from you. Share your pictures, videos and stories via GuardianWitness Snow…

Uruknet

A Letter From Elliot Sperber The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at the XXVII Guadalajara International Book Fair
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 – Considered the most important Book Fair in the Spanish-speaking world, and second in the world only to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, concluded this Sunday, December 8th, under heavy…

Supreme Hypocrisy, At the Mandela Memorial Service Obama, Prince of War
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 – …I will quote only sparingly from Obama s address-what s the use, when honeyed words fly on serpent s wings? The striking point is how much he is in denial, his words applied to Mandela (meant…

Withdrawal of Prawer Plan bill “major achievement” for Palestinians in Israel
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 – The Israeli government today announced that it had withdrawn a bill that proposed the expropriation of land and the forcible transfer of tens of thousands of Bedouins from 35 unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev) desert…

CIA Torture Report Poised for Release — At Least Some of It
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013- Portions of the Senate s long-awaited report on Bush-era interrogation practices are poised to be released, according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.On Thursday night, Feinstein said the CIA and the Obama…

Ahead of worst winter storm in years, IDF razes Palestinian homes
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 – The Middle East is experiencing one of the worst winter storms to hit the region in years. All almost all of the mountain ranges from Syria to Sinai are covered in snow and the coastal areas…

Airstrike in Yemen worst attack in over a year
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 – A reported US drone attack in Yemen yesterday is the bloodiest air strike reported in the country so far this year. A convoy or procession travelling to a wedding in southern Yemen, was attacked by US…

Israel opens dams flooding Gaza Strip near Deir al Balah 
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 — The Gaza Government s Disaster Response Committee announced late Friday that Israeli authorities had opened up dams just east of the Gaza Strip, flooding numerous residential areas in nearby villages within the coastal territory. Committee chairman…

Bedouin face eviction as Israel builds new towns
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 — Some 50 years after Israeli authorities gave them the land, the Bedouin of Umm al-Heiran village face eviction to make way for two modern towns.Located in the Negev desert, the village is home to some 150…

Widespread flooding in Gaza forces thousands to flee homes
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 – – The Gaza Strip was pounded by fierce winds and rain again on Friday as flooding reached dangerous levels in many areas, forcing thousands to flee their homes amid widespread power outages as temperatures plunged into…

IRGC: Iran will do whatever s necessary to save the Syrian government
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 – In a recent speech, commander of Iran s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jaffari talked about Iran s involvement in Syria in more blunt terms than many other Iranian officials have used. He also…

Ending the academy s silence about Israel
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 – WANT to thank the ASA for taking this position, which is long overdue. Normally, the ASA Council, which is elected by the whole membership of the ASA, makes the decision about resolutions without going back to…

Syria News – December 12, 2013 (Warning: Graphic Videos)
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013- By the end of Thursday the Coordination Committees were able to document 72 martrs including 5 children, 8 women and 11 martyrs under torture: 30 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs, 18 in Aleppo, 12…

In West Bank, Arab home faces demolition while Jewish ones get stamp of approval
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13, 2013 -The Defense Ministry s Civil Administration on Tuesday rejected a request to legalize a Palestinian house, claiming it was too close to a main West Bank road. A day earlier, the administration approved the construction of homes…

Human Rights Day 2013 Too Little Progress, Too Much Regress! 
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 13 , 2013 – ….The situation in Palestine continuously deteriorates with an increase of serious systematic and widespread human rights violations. The Palestinians continue to experience the infringement of right to life, freedom of movement, return to the place of…

US, EU pressure Palestinians to accept security plan
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 -It might be a coincidence or hype from the Palestinian leadership. But a look at the narrative being weaved by the Palestinian leadership and one has no alternative but to think that the Americans and Europeans have…

The Mirror of Guantánamo
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013- A decision last week by the federal appeals court in Washington, rejecting yet another Guantánamo detainee s challenge to his continued confinement, left barely a ripple in the vast, still pond of Guantánamo litigation. Yet its very…

In Budget Crunch, Congress Still Triples Aid Request for Israel Obama Asks for $96 Million, Congress Approves $284 Million
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 -With a budget crunch threatening programs across the board, almost every spending request that hits Congress gets only partially filled. Unless you re talking Israel. The US was already sending $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel…

Israeli soldier stabs handcuffed Palestinian student in prison (Videdo) 
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 -Officers in the Israeli army stabbed an 18-year-old Palestinian student in handcuffs after arresting him at his home near the city of Qalqilya, in the We
st Bank. According to the Israeli news site Walla, Palestinian student Zahir…

Besieged Gaza Strip s dire conditions aggravated by cold weather
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013- Since Tuesday, the Gaza Strip has been hit by bad weather and temperatures have fallen rapidly. Most people remain in their homes. Many stores are closed. It is hard to go out because in many areas, the…

Relying on the regime
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 – It was never any mystery that Bashar al-Assad was re-legitimized by the chemical disarmament accord agreed to last September between the US and Russia, which was then certified by the only UN Security Council resolution ever…

Christmas greetings from Bethlehem
Uruknet 13 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 – The festive season has begun. In Bethlehem, a large Christmas tree stands tall in Manger Square. The tree is a gift to the Palestinians from USAID, the lead US government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian…

Hagel Lifts Veil on Major Military Center in Qatar
Uruknet 12 Dec 2013 – December 12, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel s visit to the advanced air operations center here this week was not just a stop at an important outpost of the United States military. It was also a major step forward…

Daily Star

East Libya group allows one day for talks on reopening oil ports
Daily Star 13 Dec 2013 A group that has seized oil ports as it seeks autonomy for East Libya said it would negotiate with government officials for a greater share of the country’s wealth but if its demands were not met…

UN chief deplores use of chemical weapons in Syria
Daily Star 13 Dec 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deploring the use of chemical weapons in Syria and demanding that those responsible be held accountable.

Two killed in Egypt clashes over Morsi ouster
Daily Star 13 Dec 2013 Two young men were killed in clashes Friday between supporters and opponents of Egypt’s toppled Islamist president as police used tear gas to disperse protests, officials said.

Evergreen Vogel looks ahead to new chapter
Daily Star 13 Dec 2013 Lebanon will forever be indebted to the invaluable part that Joe Vogel played en route to the country’s first World Championship appearance in 2002.

White House: Iran sanctions move isn’t violation
Daily Star 13 Dec 2013 The White House says that expanding economic sanctions against Iran to cover additional companies does not violate an agreement the United States and other countries have reached with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Stop The Wall

The spirit of the struggle against apartheid lives on!
Stop The Wall – Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign apartheid SA pal With the passing away of Nelson Mandela, South Africa has lost a truly inspirational leader of their struggle against apartheid. The world has lost a symbol of the human quest for justice and equality. Palestine has lost a comrade in the struggle…

YNet News

US to keep 1,500 troops in Jordan for time being 
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – ….

Ayalon Highway reopens
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – ….

Two wounded in shooting in Colorado
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – ….

Egypt’s security forces disperse Islamist protests
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – ….

Ayalon Highway closed for fear of flooding
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – ….

Romanian TV airs anti-Semitic carol
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – US, Israeli embassies in Bucharest sharply criticize state television network for broadcasting Christmas song suggesting Jews should be burned ….

On secular hypocrisy 
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – Op-ed: Seculars in Israel doing better job than haredim in concealing their exclusion of women ….

Biden: US helping Holocaust survivors 
YNet News, 13 Dec 2013 – American vice president announces effort to aid Shoah survivors by coordinating assistance, working with aid groups and using diplomatic means to help recover property confiscated during Nazi era ….

Palestinian Information Center

Hamas cancels Friday events
PIC – The Hamas Movement said it cancelled all marches and popular activities it had planned to hold on Friday in different places of the Gaza Strip to mark its 26th anniversary due to the stormy weather.

Haaretz: Palestinian home faces demolition while Jewish ones approved
PIC – The Israeli army’s civil administration recently approved construction plans for Jewish settlers in an area close to Ofra settlement and banned a Palestinian family from living on their own land.

IOA demolishes 630 houses, displaces 1035 Palestinians in 2013
PIC – UN humanitarian coordinator James Rawley expressed deep concern over the escalated Israeli demolition policy in the West Bank during 2013, calling on Israel to put an end to its demolition policy.

Israeli diggings cause subsidence, cracks in Wadi Hilwa street
PIC – The information center of Wadi Hilwa district reported the occurrence of some fissures and cave-ins on Wadi Hilwa street, south of the Aqsa Mosque, as a result of the ongoing Israeli diggings.

IUMS calls for unifying Friday prayer sermon
PIC – The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) urged Muslim imams around the world to dedicate their Friday sermons to denouncing Jewish settlers’ attacks and assaults on Muslim places of worship.

Houses flooded in Gaza Strip after Israel opens dam gates
PIC – The Israeli Occupation Authorities have opened the floodgates of one of its dams in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, flooding dozens of Palestinian houses in Deir al-Balah and al-Mashaalh.

Netanyahu’s government shelves Prawer plan
PIC – Hebrew media sources revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted on Thursday proposal to suspend the Prawer Bill for resettlement of Negev Bedouins.

Scores of houses flooded in Gaza
PIC – The atrocious weather conditions which hit the Gaza Strip damaged hundreds of houses after they became flooded with rainwater, causing displacement of nearly 500 families including 3, 200 people.

Occupation transfers captives Jamal Abul-Heija and his son to Jalama jail
PIC – The Israeli occupation authorities transferred on Friday morning the captive leader Sheikh Jamal Abul-Heija, 54, and his son Abdul Salam, 29, toAl- Jalama interrogation center.

Misc

Advocates of new Iran sanctions fail to advance key legislation
LA Times 13 Dec 2013 – WASHINGTON – Despite intense lobbying, advocates of imposing new sanctions on Iran failed to advance key legislation in Congress this week, a sign that the Obama administration may have more support for its pleas of restraint than it appears.

U.S. drone strike on Yemen wedding party kills 17
LA Times 13 Dec 2013 – SANA, Yemen — Anger over the American drone campaign against militants in Yemen swelled Friday with word that most of those killed in a strike a day earlier were civilians in a wedding party.

Iran angered by fresh wave of U.S. blacklisting
LA Times 13 Dec 2013 – WASHINGTON — Iran complained Friday that U.S. blacklisting of Iranian firms and individuals this week violated the new international deal over its nuclear program, and suggested that it had halted talks in Vienna because of its unhappiness.

Europe falls far short in helping Syrian refugees, rights group says
LA Times 13 Dec 2013 – LONDON — Europe has failed miserably to do its part to assuage Syria’s desperate refugee crisis, accepting a shamefully small number of people fleeing the civil war there and maltreating those who try to get in, Amnesty International said Friday.

Snow closes roads in Israel, is a source of wonder in Egypt
LA Times 13 Dec 2013 – CAIRO — Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Middle East storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

American missing in Iran since 2007 was on CIA mission
LA Times 12 Dec 2013 – Robert Levinson was on an unapproved spy mission that breached agency rules, an inquiry finds. Three analysts were ousted and seven disciplined in the scandal. WASHINGTON — An American who vanished nearly seven years ago in Iran was working for the CIA on an unapproved…

U.N. inspectors in Syria suspect chemical weapons used
in five areas

LA Times 12 Dec 2013 – The strongest evidence of chemical weapons use came the Aug. 21 attacks outside Damascus, U.N. inspectors say. BEIRUT — A United Nations report released Thursday concluded that chemical weapons probably were deployed on several occasions in Syria, the most convincing evidence coming from the Aug….

U.N. Chief Responds to Syria Report
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The United Nations secretary general on Friday said that those who used chemical weapons in Syria should be brought to justice. 

The Lede: American Who Killed for Iran’s Revolution in 1980 Resurfaces in C.I.A. Spy Drama
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The C.I.A. contractor who disappeared during a 2007 trip to Iran had traveled there to meet with a man whose life story could provide Hollywood screenwriters with material for a sequel to “Argo.” 

Snow in Mideast Snarls Kerry’s Shuttle Diplomacy
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The worst winter storm to hit Jerusalem since the 1950s disrupted life in the region and threw a new obstacle into Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace efforts in the region. 

UNESCO Sounds Alarm About Illicit Syria Archeology Digs
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The head of UNESCO sounded an alarm about widespread illegal archeological excavations across war-ravaged Syria on Friday, saying the U.N. cultural, education and science arm has warned auction houses, museums and collections about the problem. 

Yemen Says Airstrike Targeted Al-Qaida Militants
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – Yemen’s official security committee said on Friday that people targeted in an airstrike in central city were al-Qaida militants including those who masterminded attacks on vital institutions, the police and army. 

U.S. to Keep 1,500 Troops in Jordan for Time Being
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The United States has about 1,500 U.S. troops in Jordan and they will remain there until the security situation improves, the White House told Congress on Friday. 

UN Says 90 of Its Peacekeepers Killed This Year
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The U.N. peacekeeping chief says 90 of his colleagues have been killed this year, with 29 of them in “deliberate attacks.” 

25 Prisoners Flee Baghdad Jail
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – The authorities questioned whether guards had helped the prisoners, who were facing terrorism charges, escape. 

Gunmen Shoot Dead 18 Gas Workers in Northeast Iraq: Witnesses
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – Masked gunmen shot dead 18 oil and gas workers, most of them Iranians, outside the northeastern Iraqi town of Muqdadiya on Friday, witnesses and officials said. 

Accused Partner of Russian Arms Dealer Convicted in United States
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – A U.S.-Syrian citizen was convicted on Friday of conspiring with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to buy aircraft in violation of sanctions imposed on them by the U.S. government. 

Syrian Opposition Seeks More Help From Abroad, Warns of Chaos
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – Syrian opposition leaders called on Western and Arab allies on Friday to give them funding to reorganize their forces after Islamist fighters seized some of their weapons. 

Militant Rise Galvanizes Assad’s Camp in Syria War
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – Ahmed Luay’s second-eldest son, a soldier in the Syrian army, fell in battle with rebels just over a month ago. Three more of his sons are still on the front lines in the Damascus suburbs. Luay insists he’s prepared to sacrifice them all in what he says is a war against a terrorist invasion. 

Qaeda Rebels Seize 120 Syrian Kurds Near Turkish Border: Watchdog
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – Islamist rebels linked to al Qaeda kidnapped at least 120 Kurdish civilians on Friday from a village near the Turkish border in Aleppo province, a monitoring group said. 

A Disappearing Spy, and a Scandal at the C.I.A.
New York Times 13 Dec 2013 – When Robert A. Levinson disappeared in Iran in 2007, U.S. officials insisted he was a private investigator. In fact, he was a C.I.A. contractor. 

Breaking News: Another AIPAC loss, win for us
Jewish Voice for Peace – The House of Representatives left DC for the year just hours ago, and with it they left behind a terrible bill. The US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act included admission for Israel into the US Visa Waiver Program, which would have codified in US law the right for…

Another way of saying thanks – Get Susan Abulhawa’s stunning new book of poetry with a donation to Mondoweiss
Mondoweiss – Thank you so much for all the support you’ve shown us so far in our end of the year fundraiser . We really appreciate it and have a new way to show our thanks. Starting today in addition to Max Blumenthal’s Goliath: Fear and Loathing in Greater…

In ’50s, CIA secretly funded anti-Zionist lobby group in US
Mondoweiss – American Friends of the Middle East was an anti-Zionist lobby founded in the 50s as a domestic front for the CIA, new book alleges

Israel’s water company recognizes no Green Line, no occupation
Mondow
eiss – Earlier today we did a post on the Israeli prime minister’s situation room having a radar map that doesn’t show the Green Line demarcating the occupied territories. Well there’s no occupation in this official map at the Israeli national water company either! Yossi Yaacoby is an…

The American Studies Association is challenging a taboo in the American academy by speaking freely about Israel
Mondoweiss – I want to thank the National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA) for taking this position in favor of an academic boycott of Israel, though it is long overdue. Normally, the ASA Council, which is elected by the entire membership of the ASA, makes decisions…

Settler siren channels Miley Cyrus in bulldozer vid
Mondoweiss – It’s Shabbos, so enjoy the video above! P.S. A few words of explanation. +972 and Heeb magazine say the video, by settler siren Orit Arfa, is the worst video ever made. Called “Jews Can’t Stop,” Arfa riffs off Miley Cyrus’s song, We Can’t Stop . Cyrus sang:…

Freezing and canoeing in Gaza
Mondoweiss – Gaza Strip, Palestine December 13,2012 (photo: @MuathHumaid ) Well, I need to share with you some news about Gaza, my home. I haven’t heard from my family for 3 days, haven’t seen any of my siblings online anywhere, so I called (internationally since I could neither Skype…

Palestinian negotiators angered as Kerry proposes Israeli demands
Mondoweiss – Kerry met with Palestinians and Israelis on Thursday and Friday. Kerry is pushing to lead a three-party summit with Abbas and Netanyahu and a security plan in which the Israel military would have a significant long-term presence in a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians feel that…

Netanyahu’s situation room recognizes no West Bank
Mondoweiss – Israeli government situation room Peter Lerner is the Israeli Defense Forces spokesman for international media. He tweeted this picture today. Prime Minister @Netanyahu & Mayor Barakat in the #Jerusalem Sit. Room assessing the snow storm. pic.twitter.com/QcY6pgdlZO — Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) December 13, 2013 If you look…

We are inside the walls
Mondoweiss – Max Blumenthal on book tour Two months ago Peter Beinart wrote a piece in the New York Review of Books saying that the American Jewish community was a “cocoon” that was blocking out other voices on the conflict. He is wrong. The American Jewish community is…

In response to ASA boycott vote, Lawrence Summers calls academic boycotts ‘abhorrent’ and then calls for a boycott of the ASA
Mondoweiss – Larry Summers was on the Charlie Rose show yesterday and was asked about the American Studies Association (ASA) vote on the academic boycott of Israel . This isn’t the first time Summers has taken on the issue of boycotts. In 2002, when Summers was serving as president…

Where is Palestine’s Mandela? 
Sabbah report 13 Dec 2013 – The answer to my headline question is that he, Marwan Barghouti , is in an Israeli jail where he has been since his arrest in Ramallah by an IDF unit in 2002, after which, in 2004, he was sentenced to five life terms in prison. Some months…

Israeli forces kill one child, wound 4 people including a child 
Sabbah report 13 Dec 2013 – The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child at the southern entrance of al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. Also, a Palestinian child was wounded in Hebron. Israeli forces have continued to use excessive force against peaceful protesters in…

Shibley Telhami: Would Israelis and Palestinians Support a Realistic Peace Deal? 
Sabbah report 13 Dec 2013 – One of the major questions lying behind the talks is: what will be the attitudes of the public on each side if a basic framework for a settlement does emerge? Will either the Israeli public, or the Palestinian public–or both–support such a framework, even if it…

How the West lost respect for international law 
Sabbah report 13 Dec 2013 – Karsten has put together a book of immense research which will remain the volume on Israel’s shame in Lebanon and its historical defeat. That’s the title of the English edition – Goodbye Lebanon: Israel’s First Defeat. His detailed questioning of torture victims – hanged by their…

Syrian refugees forgotten in Lebanon 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Syrians struggle to survive in Lebanon camps

Levinson ‘not US government worker’ 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – The White House says the ex-FBI agent believed to have been held in Iran for the last seven years was not working for the US government at the time of his disappearance.

Iran talks halted amid sanctions row 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Iran’s delegation leaves talks on the implementation of a deal over its nuclear programme after the expansion of a US sanctions blacklist.

Israel Inaugurates First Memorial to Gay Holocaust Victims in Tel Aviv 
The Foward Breaking News 13 Dec 2013 – History was made on Tuesday with the inauguration of Israel’s first memorial to victims persecuted by the Nazis for their sexual orientation — Jews and non-Jews alike. Click here for the rest of the article…

‘Rebel attack’ kills Syria civilians 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – An attack by Islamist rebels has left at least 10 people dead over the past two days in the Syrian town of Adra, activists and eyewitnesses say.

French Suburb Honors Man Imprisoned for Murder of American and Israel Diplomats 
The Foward Breaking News 13 Dec 2013 – A suburb of the French capital honored a man imprisoned for helping to murder diplomats from Israel and the United States. Click here for the rest of the article…

Possible Peace Deal
Could Come By the End of April, Kerry Says 

The Foward Breaking News 13 Dec 2013 – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday Israel and the Palestinians were still on schedule to reach a full Middle East peace deal by the end of April, and both sides were committed to the talks. Click here for the rest of the article……

American Jew Who Vanished in Iran Was on Rogue CIA Mission 
The Foward Breaking News 13 Dec 2013 – An American Jewish man who disappeared in Iran in 2007 had been working for the CIA in a rogue operation, an American newspaper reported. Click here for the rest of the article…

Israel’s Defenders Glum as American Studies Association Votes on Boycott Resolution 
The Forward New 13 Dec 2013 – Advocates of an academic boycott of Israel have mostly failed, but an American Studies Association vote closing on Sunday may hand them a significant victory. Click here for the rest of the article…

Syrian refugees forgotten in Lebanon 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Syrians struggle to survive in Lebanon camps

Iran nuclear talks collapse as US backtracks on deal 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif addresses the parliament in Tehran on November 27, 2013, as MPs were reviewing the accord struck with world powers on the weekend over Iran’s nuclear program. (Photo: AFP – Atta Kenare) Iran has quit nuclear talks with world powers, accusing…

The map that caused a century of trouble 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – The secret Middle East deal causing trouble 100 years on

Iraq pipeline attack kills Iranians 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Eighteen gas pipeline workers, most of them Iranians, have been shot dead in an attack north-east of Baghdad, officials say.

Levinson ‘not US government worker’ 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – The White House says the ex-FBI agent believed to have been held in Iran for the last seven years was not working for the US government at the time of his disappearance.

Iran talks halted amid sanctions row 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Iran’s delegation leaves talks on the implementation of a deal over its nuclear programme after the expansion of a US sanctions blacklist.

‘Rebel attack’ kills Syria civilians 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – An attack by Islamist rebels has left at least 10 people dead over the past two days in the Syrian town of Adra, activists and eyewitnesses say.

VIDEO: Inside Lebanon’s squatter camps 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – The BBC’s Jim Muir reports from squatter settlements in Lebanon as Syrian refugees struggle to cope in freezing conditions.

Week In Photo (07 December – 13 December) 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – Residents walks past murals of late South African former president Nelson Mandela in Soweto, near Johannesburg, on December 7, 2013, two days after his death. (Photo: Carl de Souza – AFP) Residents walks past murals of late South African former president Nelson Mandela in Soweto, near…

Christian Ghazi: Radical Until the Last Breath 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – Christian Ghazi left this world after a life of struggle and a long career in cinema with only one surviving film. (Photo: Al-Akhbar). Christian Ghazi left this world after a life of struggle and a long career in cinema with only one surviving film. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)….

Putin Defies the West 
Al-Akhbar Opinion 13 Dec 2013 – Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers an annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, on December 12, 2013.(Photo: AFP / Ria-Novosti – Mikhail Metzel). Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers an annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, on December 12,…

“Billionaire” Ahmad Afash: Pioneer, Thief and Founder of Free Syria Brigade 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – Syrian rebel fighters drink tea around a firewood in a street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on December 8, 2013. (Photo: AFP – Mohammed Al-Khatieb). Syrian rebel fighters drink tea around a firewood in a street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on…

Storm delays Syria aid airlift for second day 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – Young Syrian refugees build a snowman following a storm in a makeshift refugee camp in the Lebanese village of Baaloul in the Bekaa Valley, on December 12, 2013. (Photo: AFP – Mahmoud Zayyat) Severe weather has delayed the start of the first United Nations airlift of…

Over 20 escape from Baghdad prison after killing guard 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – More than 20 Iraqi suspects escaped from a Baghdad prison after murdering a guard on Friday in the latest of a series of jailbreaks, but some were later recaptured and at least one was killed, officials and police sources said. There were sharply differing versions of…

Syria crisis: Time to rethink a future with Assad? 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Rise of jihadists prompting rethink over getting rid of Assad

Death toll from US strike on Yemeni wedding reaches 17 
Al-Akhbar News 13 Dec 2013 – Medea Benjamin (L), co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink, places flowers on mock graves of drone victims in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, in front of the White House in Washington on November 15, 2013 ahead of the Global Drone Summit. (Photo: AFP – Nicholas Kamm) A…

Tunisia parties ‘reach deal’ on PM 
BBC 13 Dec 2013 – Tunisia’s governing Islamist Ennahda party and the opposition agree in principle on a new prime minister to lead a caretaker government.

Free Syrian Army and al-Nusra Front Eye Ersal 
Al-Akhbar Politics 12 Dec 2013 – A rebel fighter points his weapon through a hole in the wall towards forces loyal to the regime on November 24, 2013 (Photo: AFP – Medo Hala). A rebel fighter points his weapon through a hole in the wall towards forces loyal to the regime on…

Articles


Israel must give up its worst-kept secret: the bomb 
Neve Gordon, Al Jazeera 12/13/2013
Experts offer a solution to end the nuclear threat across the Middle East.
Across the globe, headlines pronounced that a “breakthrough agreement” had been reached in Geneva. Iran’s atomic ambitions had been curbed in exchange for limited sanctions relief, thus deflating the long-standing military standoff.
The deal hammered out between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia stipulates that Tehran will halt progress on enrichment capacity, stop developing its heavy water reactor at Arak, and open access to international weapons inspection. While this deal paves the way for Iran’s reintegration into the family of Western nations, and can therefore be conceived as a real milestone, in terms of the Middle East nuclear problem, any robust agreement,however, will have to include Israel.
Within Israel, speaking about the nuclear programme in Dimona is taboo. Mysteriously, however, there is also a broad-based agreement to keep silent about it in Washington and in most European capitals. Despite claims made by independent analysts that Israel likely has around 80 warheads, and is believed to be the only state in the region that has produced separated plutonium, and possibly highly enriched uranium, the two key ingredients in nuclear weapons. Indeed, it may now have enough plutonium, including the plutonium already in weapons, for up to 200 nuclear warheads.
Broader framework needed
So why are politicians and mainstream media outlets concentrating on Iran and its decision to embark on a nuclear programme instead of adopting a more ambitious framework that considers the steps needed to make the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction?….more.. e-mail

Israeli leaders skip trip and an oral whiplashing 
George S. Hishmeh, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 12/12/2013
There was no doubt that the last-minute refusal and the excuse offered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and President Shimon Peres) for not attending the funeral of the internationally-admired South African leader, Nelson Mandela, alongside some 100 heads of state including President Barack Obama and three of his predecessors, was ludicrous, if not insulting, because the trip would be very expensive. Holy Smokes!
The Israeli prime minister was castigated for reportedly spending some $127,000 (Dh466,090) of Israeli taxpayers’ money on a “resting chamber” for a five-hour flight from Israel to London.
Peres said he was sick with the flu but the wily Israeli prime minister failed to elaborate further, raising many uncomplimentary reactions within Israel as what Bradley Burston of Haaretz wrote: “Benjamin Netanyahu proved that he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He’s something worse.”
The Times of Israel quoted one unidentified Jewish leader as saying “the fact that money was cited as a reason for Netanyahu staying home was playing into the image of Jews as miserly.”
The most likely reason for refusing to travel to South Africa was that Israel’s relationship with South Africa particularly during the apartheid regime was anything but smooth — in fact it was shameful. In turn, the much-admired African leader, who spent 27 years in jail, had close relationship with the Palestinian liberation movement, especially its late leader, Yasser Arafat.
When Arafat passed away Mandela called him “an icon in the proper sense of the word.” He added: “Yasser Arafat was one of the outstanding freedom fighters of his generation … it is with great sadness that one notes that his and his people’s dream of a Palestinian state had not been realised.” more.. e-mail

Self-Boycott 
Uri Avnery, CounterPunch 12/13/2013
Israelis Can’t Imagine Peace
Can a country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.
At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History” as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.
The only dignitary who agreed to go was the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, a nice person, an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)
Why? The President of the State, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.
The Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had an
even stranger reason. The journey, he claimed, was too expensive, what with all the accompanying security people and so on.

Not so long ago, Netanyahu caused a scandal when it transpired that for his journey to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a five hour flight, he had a special double bed installed in the El Al plane at great expense. He and his much maligned wife, Sara’le, did not want to provoke another scandal so soon. Who’s Mandela, after all?
Altogether it was an undignified show of personal cowardice by both Peres and Netanyahu.
What were they afraid of?…. more.. e-mail

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at the XXVII Guadalajara International Book Fair 
Malu Huacuja Del Toro and Elliot Sperber, CounterPunch 12/13/2013
A Letter From Elliot Sperber
Considered the most important Book Fair in the Spanish-speaking world, and second in the world only to the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, concluded this Sunday, December 8th, under heavy security. The unusually high level of security resulted from the guest of honor of this year’s book fair, the State of Israel. For the past 20 years, the book fair has honored a city, country, or region as its guest. No earlier guests, however, have been as controversial, or have aroused as much protest and dissent, as has the State of Israel. Hence, the unprecedented levels of security.
Along with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Israeli President Shimon Peres was in attendance. And although several protests against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, and demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people, took place outside the fair, there was little press coverage on the issue. Likewise, there was no acknowledgment within the fair of the political controversy – until the final day of the book fair.
As a guest I was invited to introduce my most recent collection of short stories, “El suicidio y otros cuentos” (“Suicide and Other Tales”), as well as a collection of essays on the catastrophic effects of NAFTA in the Mexican culture. To the great disappointment of my publisher, who attempted but failed to interrupt me, I surprised the assembled guests by raising the issue of international justice as it relates to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Marco Vinicio Gonzalez of Radiobilingue wrote, “the sophisticated security measures around the Israeli president Shimon Peres could not prevent the entrance of a Trojan horse.” As this “Trojan horse”, I brought with me and read a letter of solidarity written by the contemporary Jewish writer, attorney, and CounterPunch contributor, Elliot Sperber. While my Spanish translation of Sperber’s letter has been printed in Spanish language media, and has generated a very grateful, engaged response from my readers, it has not been published in its original English version. It appears below. more.. e-mail

Forging new links to boycott movement in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 13 Dec 2013 – Corporate Watch’s research trip to Palestine aims to connect young activists in Gaza and those in the west. more..

Why Palestine solidarity movement should challenge America’s legacy of conquest 
Electronic Intifada: 13 Dec 2013 – Mark Braverman argues that the Israeli occupation cannot be reformed. more..

Gaza drowning …and under power and media blackout
In Gaza: 13 Dec 2013 – Photos and updates from Gaza paint one of the most dire scenarios the Palestinians locked in the Strip have faced, Israeli bombing campaigns aside. For over a month Palestinians in Gaza have endured 18 or more hours/day power outages. Now, with unusually heavy rains, cold temperatures, Israeli-released torrents of water (suddenly opening of dams along the border with Gaza), and even snow, Gaza is under water, under siege, and people are suffering freezing conditions. According on one international in Gaza, a baby has frozen to death in one of Gaza’s refugee camps. Omar Ghraieb, from Gaza, writes: “44 days without electricity! New emergency schedule started yesterday, electricity hours r downsized to 3 instead of 6, per day! Leaving Palestinians in Gaza with a 21+ hours of power outage a day. Add to this the horrible weather, constant rain, floods, wind, thunder & lightening!” Omar Ghraieb ************************************************************* Israel ‘opens dams’ flooding Gaza…more


More material available from Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel – www.vtjp.org
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