VTJP Occupied Palestine and Israel: News and Articles 25 December 2013

25 December 2013 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Four Palestinians Kidnapped Near Jenin
IMEMC – Army invades Hebron, installs roadblocks [Wednesday December 25, 2013] Israeli soldiers have invaded Ya’bod village, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, kidnapping four Palestinians. … 

Gaza Lays To Rest Palestinian Child Killed In Israeli Strike
IMEMC – Hundreds of mourners in Gaza, today, attended the funeral of the 3-year-old girl who was killed by Israeli forces, during an airstrike conducted the previous day. …

Two Students Arrested At Al Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC – [Wednesday December 25, 2013] Israeli police have arrested two students attending an outdoor class session at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem, on Wednesday. …

26 Palestinian Prisoners To Be Released
IMEMC – [Wednesday December 25, 2013] Israel is expected tp release a group of Palestinian prisoners, all of which have been in jail since before 1994. The release is to take place next week, the Palestinian News Network (PNN) has reported. …

Clashes In Tulkarm, Two Injured
IMEMC – [Wednesday December 25, 2013] Two people, including a 13-year-old, were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in Tulkarm, on Wednesday, according to witnesses in the area. …

Ma’an News

Israeli forces injure 13-year-old Palestinian in Tulkarem clashes
12/25/2013 – TULKAREM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian teenager was injured and a man was detained after clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the northern West Bank Wednesday, locals told Ma’an. Witnesses said Muhammad Ali Hassan Haddad, 13, was injured after being hit in the head by shrapnel from a stun grenade that Israeli troops fired at Palestinians in a neighborhood in….

Israel denies killing second Palestinian during Gaza upheaval
12/25/2013 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Reports that a Palestinian man was killed west of Beit Lahiya during an upheaval of violence in the Gaza Strip have been denied by Palestinian and Israeli sources. Palestinian medical sources originally said Tuesday that Israeli forces had shot and killed a Palestinian on the beach in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Red Crescent said Israeli forces told the….

Israeli forces detain 7 Palestinians across the West Bank
12/26/2013 – JENIN (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians across the West Bank in overnight raids, an Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an. Five Palestinians were detained in the northern West Bank town of Yaabad, in addition to one in Jenin and one in Hebron, the spokeswoman said. Palestinian sources confirmed the detentions in Yaabad, saying Israeli forces stormed the village early Wednesday between….

UNRWA condemns Israel’s ‘Christmas Eve demolitions’ in the West Bank
12/25/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The United Nations Palestine refugee agency on Wednesday condemned Israel’s latest demolitions of Palestinian Bedouin homes in the West Bank, which UNRWA said displaced 68 people. The latest demolitions in the West Bank, “the most recent of which occurred on Christmas Eve,” have “severely threatened” the livelihoods of the families that lost their homes, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunnes said….

Gaza lays to rest 3-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli strike
12/25/2013 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hundreds of mourners in Gaza Wednesday attended the funeral of a 3-year-old girl who was killed by Israeli forces the day before. Hala Abu Sbeikha, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike Tuesday, was buried in al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Hala’s father carried her body to his house, where family members….

Prisoner ‘find cameras’ in Rimon jail cells
12/25/2013 – HEBRON (Ma’an) — Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday said they discovered cameras hidden in the walls of their cells in Rimon Prison, the Palestinian prisoners society reported. The director of the society Amjad al-Najjar said that the prison administration raided several cells after prisoners made the discovery. He added that prisoners refused to hand the cameras they found to the prison administration and refused to….

Islamic Jihad: 1,400 Gaza ceasefire violations since 2012
12/26/2013 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel has violated a November ceasefire with Gaza over 1,400 times since December 2012, a spokesman for the military wing of Islamic Jihad said Wednesday. Al-Quds Brigades spokesman Abu Ahmad told Ma’an that the killing of a child on Tuesday marked the biggest violation of a truce since Egypt brokered an agreement to end a week-long assault on….

Egypt destroys 6 smuggling tunnels under Gaza border
12/25/2013 – CAIRO (Ma’an) – Egyptian border guards on Tuesday afternoon discovered and destroyed six smuggling tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip, military sources said. They told Ma’an that the operation was a joint activity between border guards and army engineering units. They added that the tunnels were discovered in Rafah on the Egyptian side. A large quantity of goods was seized….

Poll: Most Palestinians believe Israel poisoned Arafat
12/25/2013 – RAMALLAH (AFP) — A majority of Palestinians believe Israel poisoned their late leader Yasser Arafat, according to poll published Tuesday, which also highlights a decline in Hamas popularity compared to rival Fatah. The poll, released by Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, showed 59 percent of respondents believe Israel fatally poisoned Arafat, while 21 percent “believe that a Palestinian party or group or a….

Abbas: Prisoners to be freed by month’s end
12/25/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that in a few days the next batch of veteran prisoners will be released from Israeli prisons. Abbas said in a speech during Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem on Tuesday that “the rest of our prisoners will be released consecutively until Israeli jails are cleared”Abbas congratulated Palestinians on the occasion of Christmas and expressed his hopes….

South African solidarity activists visit Gaza
12/25/2013 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – A delegation of 19 solidarity activists from South Africa on Wednesday started a six-day visit to the Gaza Strip, a Hamas government official said. Alaa al-Batta, who heads a governmental committee for hosting visiting delegations, told Ma’an that the visitors brought gifts for Gaza children “who have been suffering as a result of the siege.””The South African….

Report: Netanyahu adviser meets secretly with top Egyptian official
12/25/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political adviser Yitzhak Molcho met secretly with a top Egyptian official three weeks ago, according to the Hebrew-language daily Maariv. The report said the meeting took place in a European capital and was the first of its kind in months. The official Maariv quoted was described as a “Western source”. [END]

Erekat: Israeli airstrikes a ‘criminal Christmas gift’ to Gaza
12/25/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A senior Palestinian official on Tuesday condemned Israel’s recent airstrikes on Gaza, calling the incident a “war crime,” a PLO statement said.” We condemn in the strongest terms this new Israeli war crime against the Palestinian civilians in Gaza Strip which aims to initiate a bloody escalation,” Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement. Israel’s….

Minister: Internet prices to drop in 2014
12/25/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – The Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology plans to reduces Internet prices in 2014, the minister said Tuesday. Suleiman al-Zuheiri told Ma’an he would seek to increase the numbers of Internet users and provide faster Internet speed at a lower price to keep up with technological developments in the world. The ministry, added the minister, will urge Internet….

Christmas blasts kill 35 in Iraq
12/25/2013 – BAGHDAD (AFP) — Bombs exploded in a market near a church in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, killing 35 people and wounding more than 50, the interior ministry said. The blasts come as Iraq suffers its worst violence since 2008, when it was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings, raising fears that the country is slipping back into all-out conflict.”Two roadside bombs….

Egypt declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
12/25/2013 – CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt’s military-installed government declared the Muslim Brotherhood movement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi a “terrorist” group Wednesday, banning all its activities, including demonstrations, ministers said after a cabinet meeting. Deputy prime minister Hossam Eissa said the movement has been declared a “terrorist” group and social solidarity minister Ahmed al-Borei said the government would ban all its activities, including “protests.”[END]

Egypt blames police HQ bombing on Muslim Brotherhood
12/25/2013 – CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt’s military-installed government on Wednesday blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the bombing of a police headquarters that killed 15 people, in a statement declaring the group a terrorist organisation.”All of Egypt was horrified by the ugly crime committed by the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday morning, when it blew up the Daqhaleya police headquarters,” the cabinet statement said. [END]

Palestine News Network

Bethlehem Eyes Tourism after Dark Decade
Palestine News Network

Relief Web

occupied Palestinian territory: UN condemns Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes
Relief Web 25 Dec 2013 – Source: Agence France-Presse Country: occupied Palestinian territory 12/25/2013 15:04 GMT – JERUSALEM, December 25, 2013 (AFP) – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday condemned the Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank and called on…

The National

Turkey PM faces resignation call as three ministers quit
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Three Turkish cabinet ministers resign amid a sweeping corruption and bribery scandal that has targeted the allies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Taliban rockets land in US embassy compound in Kabul
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Two rockets land inside US embassy compound in Kabul, causing no casualties but underlining Afghanistan’s continuing security problems.

Brotherhood declared a terrorist group in Egypt
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Government blames Muslim Brotherhood for suicide attack on police station, despite counter claim by Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit Al Maqdis.

UN condemns Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes
The National 25 Dec 2013 – UNRWA condemns the latest demolitions in the West Bank, which displaced 68 people, the most recent of which occurred on Christmas Eve.

Syria inks Russia fuel deal
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Damascus signs oil and gas deal with a Russian company which will allow for the first-ever exploration off Syria’s coast.

Nepal’s chaos may herald return of the royalists
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Himalayan nation’s political and economic fortunes have dipped alarmingly since palace massacre of 2001.

Iran MPs want higher uranium enrichment in case of new sanctions
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Politicians present a bill to the parliament’s presiding board which could oblige the government to enrich uranium to 60 per cent if new sanctions are imposed.

China smugglers dig tunnel into Hong Kong: report
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Chinese smugglers dug a ‘professional’ concrete tunnel into Hong Kong equipped with lights, vents, steel reinforcements and even rails to transport goods, domestic media reported.

Christmas day bombings targeting Christians celebrating in Baghdad kill 37
The National 25 Dec 2013 – In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighbourhood, while earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien.

Protest-hit Thai PM proposes national reform council
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Thailand’s prime minister has proposed a ‘national reform council’ to seek a way out of the political crisis gripping the kingdom.

Efforts to end South Sudan crisis gain pace
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Thousands are believed to have been killed in more than a week of violence between troops loyal to the country’s president, Salva Kiir, and those backing his rival Riek Machar, a former vice president who was sacked in July.

Over 400 killed in 10-day air blitz of Syria’s Aleppo: NGO
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says toll since December 15 from air strikes and a bombing campaign stands at 410, including 117 children.

Three trials ahead for Morsi against falling Brotherhood support in Egypt
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Barely six months after his downfall, Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi is facing three trials on a wide range of charges, as support for his former party, the Muslim Brotherhood, dries up. Youssef Hamza reports from Cairo

Middle East Christians being ‘massacred’: Anglican leader
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Christians in the Middle East are being ‘attacked and massacred’ and driven into exile, the leader of the world’s Anglicans said in his first Christmas sermon.

You don’t want to bash this teapot
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Made by an eminent Chinese ceramic artist, this clay teapot will set you back a mere US$150,000.

Third Turkish minister steps down, calls on PM to quit
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Turkey’s environment minister becomes the third in the cabinet to resign over an anti-graft probe that has roiled the government.

Car bomb targeting Iraq church kills 14 on Christmas day
The National 25 Dec 2013 – A car bomb targeted a church in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday as worshippers left after Christmas Mass, killing at least 14 people, most of them Christians, security officials said.

Video: UN boosts peacekeepers in South Sudan 
The National 25 Dec 2013 – UN votes to double the number of UN peacekeepers in South Sudan as violence pushes the world’s newest state to the verge of civil war.

Video: A moment of peace on Christmas Eve in Syria 
The National 25 Dec 2013 – After airstrikes bombard the city of Aleppo, the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch calls for mercy in this war-torn country during mass on Christmas Eve.

Women and reporters remain under threat in Afghanistan, Pakistan
The National 25 Dec 2013 – Advances made in women’s rights in Afghanistan are in serious danger of being rolled back in the run-up to the majority of foreign troops withdrawing in 2014, and the 2011 murder of a Pakistani journalist remains unsolved, Paul Muir writes.


State refers to African migrants by prison numbers in court
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Arab MK calls for release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Some 72% of Jewish public believes Israel, Palestinians must teach peace
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Israel has become Zionism’s worst enemy
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Blood, crime, Russian immigrants and racism; an apology
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Israel must let the Gazans live
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

The price of peace
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

South Tel Aviv residents disrupt court session on petition against migrants
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Netanyahu to announce new housing tenders in West Bank, East Jerusalem settlements
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Hamas seeks end to current hostilities, but preparing for next war with Israel
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Defense minister: Escalation in Palestinian terror attacks linked to peace talks
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

JFK vs. Rabin: How America and Israel remember
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Gilad Shalit calls for Jonathan Pollard’s release from U.S. jail
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Sick El Al pilots leave passengers stranded for 5 hours
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Safed hospital treats 200th Syria civil war victim
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Knesset approves tax breaks for same-sex parents
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Will Saudi Arabia really go it alone?
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Kim Jong-un’s second year: Prince Macbeth on steroids
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Netanyahu to Abbas: Spate of terror attacks result of Palestinian incitement
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Pope calls for peace in first Christmas message at Vatican
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Netanyahu’s Christmas gaffe: Blessing Christians for serving in ‘Jewish’ army
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Ex-N.Y. governor Elliot Spitzer getting divorced
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

Heroes and villains, politicians and tycoons, rabbis and rock stars
Ha’aretz – 25 Dec 2013

High Court to mull demolition of illegal houses in legal West Bank settlement
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2013

Israel closes probe of private guard who shot and killed Palestinian
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2013

Tel Aviv gives homeless living in city park three weeks to raze tent camp
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2013

Erdogan, Mubarak: our role models
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2013

My ‘mission’s accomplished,’ says Snowden
Ha’aretz – 24 Dec 2013

Jerusalem Post

Peres honored by Olympic C’ttee
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Delegation, including Shahar Tzuberi, award president with bust of founder of modern Olympics. 

A-G to Aharonovitch: No administrative detention in organized crime cases
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Weinstein says government will continue to limit administrative detention to security-terror cases. 

Coalition blocks probe on storm
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Opposition asked Knesset to approve investigation because government decided not to open its own. 

Erdogan replaces 10 Turkish ministers amid corruption scandal
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – 

Mothers of terror victims go on offensive against impending Palestinian prisoner release
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Bereaved families demonstrate in front of PM’s Residence against next week’s expected release; “We are taking a step to build trust with our enemies, but what step is the government taking to build trust with its citizens?” 

Crisis in South Sudan
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – The world has a chance to show that the mistakes of the 1990s in ignoring genocide in Africa will not be repeated. 

Candidly Speaking: Debasing the Warsaw Ghetto uprising
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – The most obscene aspect of “The Warsaw Ghetto Myth” is the allegation that the ghetto fighters were responsible for the death of the 50,000 Jews who remained in the ghetto. 

Inside Out: Security and normalcy
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – While the right wing holds a parliamentary majority in Israel, the theological Right was and remains a small minority. 

Media Comment: The unhappy birthday
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Ben-Yehuda used the Bible as the basis for his imaginative extensions of the Hebrew language, bringing it up to date with the contemporary needs of his time. 

Israel’s first national unity coalition – the united resistance
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – For Zion’s Sake: On August 23, 10 months after it began, Tenuat HaMeri – Israel’s first national unity coalition – was terminated. 

Encountering Peace: Contextual reciprocity
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – What appears to be escalation of Palestinian violence since July cannot be separated from what appears to be an escalation of Israeli violence against Palestinians during the same time period. 

Quoting tradition when it suits them
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – You can’t have it both ways; Jews for Jesus, and Christianity, essentially attempt the same thing. 

Fundamentally Freund: Ignore Obama’s lame-duck quacking
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – As the great comedian Bob Hope once noted, “The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.” Let’s keep it that way. 

Arab MKs join effort for Pollard’s release
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Three Arab factions boost campaign to free Israeli agent from US jail. 

Israel to again couple Palestinian prisoner release with new construction plans beyond Green Line
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Move likely to anger Palestinians, spark condemnation from US, EU; PMO ‘disappointed’ Abbas has not condemned terror attacks; Ya’alon says Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic talks are sparking incitement. 

Mayors elected in 24 regional councils
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – 432 communities hit the polls with a 61.5% average turnout; Gush Etzion, Har Hevron show lowest turnout rate with 40%, officials blame weather. 

Christmas? There’s an Israeli app for that
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Israeli company has no less than ten apps devoted to December 25 and its associated characters. 

Liberman calls for re-arrest of released hunger-striking Palestinian
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Following release from prison Monday, Samer al-Issawi called for kidnapping of IDF soldiers during interview with Hamas TV. 

Netanyahu sides with Treasury on curbing budget growth
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Prime minister adopts Finance Ministry’s changes, against the Bank of Israel’s advice. 

USC digitally remasters Holocaust testimonial tapes
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – There are 4,754 interviews on damaged tapes, majority can be restored; new technology hopes to bring to life additional Holocaust testimony. 

Report: Hamas attack thwarted by Egyptian army
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Palestinian arrested in Sinai attempting to bomb building in northern Sinai, admits to plan during interrogation, according to AFP. 

Tax credits bill for gay couples passes preliminary hearing
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid in mutual recriminations whether a deal was agree to dilute the bill in committee. 

Egyptian government designates Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Move comes days after suicide bomb that killed 16; Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims responsibility for this week’s attack. 

Jerusalem plays down Turkish report that ‘Mavi Marmara’ compensation deal ‘almost’ complete
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Report says countries expected to announce upgrading of relations and exchange of ambassadors once the agreement is approved. 

Iranian MPs propose bill to enrich uranium up to 60%
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Hardline MPs submit bill for higher uranium enrichment; not clear whether or when parliament will discuss the bill.

Concert review: Eliezer Botzer Lights Up Tel Aviv
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – If you did not know any better, you would think you were in an Orthodox village. Turns out, you are in a Tel Aviv night club. 

Ya’alon: Hamas must restrain other terror groups
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Defense Minister links rising West Bank violence to diplomatic talks, PA incitement; says Palestinian prisoner release to be discussed. 

Person of the year in Israeli crime: The Felician family
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Jerusalem Post crime reporter Ben Hartman picks the Pardes Katz family at the center of the Bar Noar case. 

Stories you may have missed in 2013
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Aside from airstrikes, bus bombs and celebrity visits, here are some of the interesting stories that may have gone under the radar this year. 

In first Christmas message, Pope calls for Middle East peace
Jerusalem Post 25 Dec 2013 – Pope Francis calls for dialogue to end all conflicts, prays for “favorable outcome” to Israeli-Palestinian peace process. 

The Guardian

Eyewitness: West Bank
The Guardian 25 Dec 2013 – Photographs from the Guardian Eyewitness series


Syria : Record of Starvation and Malnutrition Cases
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 25, 2013 – The trend of rising child malnutrition is confirmed by aid agencies in Hama, Homs, Aleppo, Rural Damascus, Quneitra, Deir al-Zor, rural Deraa and Idlib. About 100 children are treated for malnutrition and dehydration each month in…

Info & Disinfo on Gaza, and Appeal for Hala Abu Shbeika, 3, killed in Israeli airstrike against Gaza
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 25, 2013 – Some things to consider giving Israel s bombing spree in Gaza on Dec 24: -Israeli soldiers on a routine basis target Palestinians of all ages, including children, as they farm or fish, killing and maiming them….

Three Turkey ministers resign over bribery scandal, and one calls for Prime Minster Recep Erdogan to step down
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 25, 2013 — Three senior ministers in Turkey s Cabinet resigned Wednesday as a secret 14-month corruption investigation of tender-rigging and bribery intensified, threatening to topple the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The three-pronged graft probe presents the…

Gaza lays to rest 3-year-old Palestinian girl killed by Israeli strike
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 25, 2013 – Hundreds of mourners in Gaza Wednesday attended the funeral of a 3-year-old girl who was killed by Israeli forces the day before. Hala Abu Sbeikha, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike Tuesday, was buried in…

For Christmas, the Reverend Nicholas Mercer Calls for the Release of Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo, Denounces UK Involvement in Torture
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 25, 2013 – As I spend Christmas with family, I recall that, on this Christian holiday, which commemorates the birth of Jesus – drawing on an older tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, and the beginning of the sun…

PHOTOS: A decade on, Citizenship Law still denies Palestinians their rights
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 25, 2013- One of the fundamental rights to which a citizen is entitled is the right to marry and build a family in her or his own state. In practice, any person who marries an Israeli citizen is entitled…

Syria News – December 24, 2013 (Warning: Graphic Videos) 
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 – By the end of Tuesday the Coordination Committees were able to document 99 martyrs including 19 children, 13 women and 5 martyrs under torture: 50 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 27 in Damascus and its Suburbs;…

Court rejects Bagram prisoners, again
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013- An appeals court has again rejected habeas corpus petitions filed by alleged enemy combatants held in Afghanistan at the Bagram Airfield Military Base. In a 44-page decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia…

Edward Snowden s Success: Why He Had a Responsibility to Act
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013- Why was it the responsibility of Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower, to take information from the NSA and release to the public for the world to see what this NSA was actually doing…

Hungry for Bread in Yarmouk Palestinian Camp
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 – …Living conditions in Yarmouk, already a functioning refugee camp before the conflict began in March 2011, are harsh. Food and water are scarce, and according to the U.N. Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), shelling has forced…

Gaza Christians yearn for Bethlehem
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 – Suzy al-Najjar, Samer al-Salfiti and their daughter, Judy, gazed longingly at the Christmas tree being lit by Bishop Alexius, the pastor of the Greek Orthodox church, in the presence of dozens of parishioners from the Gaza…

Israeli leaflets warn Palestinian parents of their terrorist kids 
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 – — In an unprecedented move, Israeli forces on Sunday night put up posters in a refugee camp near Hebron featuring photos of locals Israeli forces claim are the fathers of those who commit “terrorist attacks.” The…

Mekorot s Involvement in the Israeli Occupation
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 -On 12 December 2013, the largest Dutch water company, Vitens, announced that it had ended its cooperation with Mekorot, an Israeli water company. In a public statement, Vitens said: “Today, Vitens informed Mekorot about its decision to…

The real reason behind the confiscation of my passport
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 -… The language and attitude of the British government has steadily changed towards the Syrian opposition especially since it has openly chosen an Islamic path. Britain went to war based on the falsehood that Iraq possessed weapons…

Anti-Access, Area Denial Israeli Style Mother Nature Intensifies the Gaza Siege
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013- … The reality is that bulk of the crisis in Gaza is a direct result of Israel s oppressive policies over the long term, made more acute by the current Siege of Gaza – i.e., blockade coupled to…

Samer Issawi is FREE, UFree Network congratulates him on this historic victory
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24,2013 – Israeli authorities have released Monday evening (23rd December) the jerusalemite prisoner Samer Issawi who engaged in one of the longest hunger strikes in history after spending more than 11 years inside Israeli jails. Issawi has been released…

Qatar: Unpaid migrant construction workers left to go hungry
Uruknet 25 Dec 2013 – December 24, 2013 – More than 80 migrant construction workers in Qatar who worked for nearly a year without pay on a prestigious tower in Doha s financial district are facing serious food shortages and need urgent government assistance, Amnesty…

Daily Star

Al-Qaeda leader targeting U.N. workers
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 The shadowy leader of a powerful Al-Qaeda group fighting in Syria sought to kidnap United Nations workers and scrawled out plans for his aides to take over in the event of his death, according to excerpts…

Egypt names Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 Egypt’s military-backed interim government declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, criminalizing all its activities, its financing and even membership to the group from which the country’s ousted president hails.

Over 400 killed in 10-day air blitz of Syria’s Aleppo: activists
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 A 10-day air offensive by Syria’s regime against rebel areas of divided Aleppo city and nearby villages has killed more than 400 people, including 117 children, a monitor said Wednesday.

Iran MPs want higher enrichment in case of new sanctions
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 Iranian lawmakers present a bill to the parliament’s presiding board which could oblige the government to enrich uranium to 60 percent if new sanctions are imposed, media report.

Blast wounds hunter, kills dog in s. Lebanon
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 A Lebanese man is severely wounded and his hunting dog perished when an object, suspected to be a cluster bomb left by Israel’s Army, explodes in south Lebanon.

Egypt army says it foiled Hamas Sinai attack
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 The Egyptian army says it foiled a plan by Hamas to attack a strategic security building in North Sinai, where militants have increased activity in recent months.

UN in South Sudan denies report of mass grave
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 The United Nations mission in South Sudan has denied a report of a mass grave that was issued by the office of a U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights.

Issawi release blow to Israeli oppression: Hezbollah
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 Hezbollah says the release of Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi from an Israeli jail was a major victory over Israeli oppression.

Syria inks oil, gas exploration deal with Russian firm: AFP
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 Damascus signs a major oil and gas exploration deal with a Russian company in the Syrian capital which will allow for exploration in a section of Syrian waters, an AFP journalist witnesses.

Pope prays for Syria, S. Sudan on first Christmas
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 Pope Francis calls for humanitarian aid access in Syria and “social harmony” in South Sudan on his first Christmas in the Vatican after months of shaking up the papacy with his humble style and common touch.

Maaloula family celebrates Christmas in Lebanon
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 Like many Syrian Christian refugees, Bassam Qaloumi and his family, originally from Maaloula, are celebrating Christmas this year in Lebanon, clinging to the hope that one day they’ll return home.

Al-Qaida-linked group claims Egypt police attack
Daily Star 25 Dec 2013 An al-Qaida-inspired group based in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula claims responsibility for the suicide bombing of the police headquarters in a Nile Delta city that killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.

YNet News

Color red alert sounds in Hof Ashkelon; hit detected
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – ….

Car bomb near church kills 14 in southern Baghdad
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – ….

IDF deploys Iron Dome in Beersheba
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – ….

Turkey: Police disperse anti-corruption protest in Istanbul 
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – ….

Turkish PM replaces 10 ministers amid graft inquiry 
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – ….

Christmas spirit gone awry
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – Op-ed: NGOs’ attacks on Israel using Christmas symbols debase very meaning of holiday ….

350 synagogues in 70 weeks
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – After initiating private documentation of thriving communities in pre-Holocaust Europe through deserted synagogues, Rivka and Ben-Zion Dorfman are donating fruits of their study to Yad Vashem ….

The balance of terror
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – Analysis: Hamas has no interest in giving IDF opportunity to destroy its military infrastructure ….

Ex-Soviet Jews exhibit works on Shoah
YNet News, 25 Dec 2013 – In first-of-its-kind exhibition, Jewish artists from former Soviet Union present pieces commemorating Holocaust, inspired by writings of Elie Wiesel ….

Jews, Muslims volunteering on Christmas
YNet News, 24 Dec 2013 – About 1,000 Jewish volunteers from several congregations in Detroit area expected to join local Muslims Wednesday for Mitzvah Day while their Christian neighbors celebrate holiday ….

Palestinian Information Center

Qatar condemns the Israeli raids on Gaza
PIC – Qatar condemned on Wednesday the Israeli airstrikes that targeted various areas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening.

IOF soldiers arrest seven young men
PIC – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed at dawn Wednesday Askar and Fara refugee camps in Nablus and arrested two brothers.

Gaza schools severely damaged by the Israeli shelling
PIC – The Ministry of Education in Gaza said that a number of schools in the central governorate were severely damaged as a result of the Israeli shelling of the neighboring areas in Deir al-Balah.

7 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria
PIC – Seven Palestinian refugees were killed on Tuesday evening in Damascus as Syrian regular army continued bombing Palestinian refugees camps, while Handarat camp was targeted by Barrel Bombs.

Khudari lashes out at IOA for closing crossing
PIC – MP Jamal Al-Khudari has lashed out at the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) for closing the Karm Abu Salem crossing, south of the Gaza Strip, until further notice.

Bardawil: Resistance will not pay political price to lift Gaza siege
PIC – Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said that the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip is “mainly a political siege that aims at subjugating the Palestinian people.”

Husam Badran Hamas spokesman abroad
PIC – Hamas movement announced that liberated prisoner Husam Badran would serve as its spokesman outside occupied Palestine.

IOF demolishes 14 Bedouin houses in Ramallah
PIC – Israeli bulldozers demolished 14 Bedouin tents and a number of sheds and agricultural facilities on Tuesday near Ain Ayoub area west of Ramallah, Tadamun Foundation for Human Rights stated.


Israeli Army Orders Rehabilitation on Seven Houses to Stop
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013

Israeli Force Conduct Military Training near Hebron
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013

Two Injured in Clashes with Israeli Soldiers in Tulkarm
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013

Exports, Imports Up in October, says Statistics Bureau
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013

Israeli Police Arrests Two Students at Al-Aqua Mosque
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013

Christmas Eve in Bethlehem: a Joyous Atmosphere
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013

At Midnight Mass, Latin Patriarch Prays for Peace in Palestine
WAFA – 25 Dec 2013


Egypt declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization
LA Times 25 Dec 2013 – CAIRO — In a sharp escalation of the confrontation between Egypt’s military-backed administration and the Muslim Brotherhood, the interim government on Wednesday declared the Islamist movement a terrorist organization.

Iran lawmakers threaten nuclear speed-up if Congress adds sanctions
LA Times 25 Dec 2013 – TEHRAN — More than a third of Iran’s parliament has signed on to a bill ordering an acceleration of the country’s nuclear program if Congress follows through with new sanctions, lawmakers said.

U.S. condemns Christmas attacks that kill 37 Christians in Iraq
LA Times 25 Dec 2013 – WASHINGTON — The State Department condemned twin Christmas Day attacks on Christians in Iraq that killed at least 37 people.

Al Qaeda-linked group says it bombed Egypt police headquarters
LA Times 25 Dec 2013 – CAIRO — An Al Qaeda-inspired group that until now had concentrated its attacks in the restive Sinai peninsula claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the bombing of a security headquarters in northern Egypt a day earlier that killed at least 15 people.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians feel vulnerable amid nation’s upheaval
LA Times 25 Dec 2013 – Egypt’s Copts have long suffered discrimination and oppression. But Islamist attacks on churches have left the Christian minority feeling especially imperiled. KERDASA, Egypt — Three times a week without fail, the sound of ancient chants reverberates from the blackened walls of the Church of the…

Remittances Throw Lifeline to Philippines’ Typhoon Survivors
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – A sister living on the other side of the world gave Roberto Retanal what he needed most to piece his humble home back together after the devastating typhoon that tore through his village in the central Philippines last month. 

Israel Plans New Settlement Push While Freeing Palestinian Prisoners
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – Israel plans to announce a push for more construction in Jewish settlements when it frees two dozen Palestinian prisoners next week, an Israeli official said on Wednesday, in a move that could jeopardise U.S.-brokered peace talks. 

Official: Israel Plans New Settlement Construction
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – Israel likely will announce new plans for construction in Jewish settlements next week, an official said Wednesday, a move that is likely to trigger an international uproar and threaten peace talks with the Palestinians. 

Egypt, Dealing a Blow to the Muslim Brotherhood, Deems It a Terrorist Group
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – The action is the harshest crackdown yet on the group, which emerged last year as the most successful group in democratic elections. 

Iran Lawmakers Introduce Uranium-Enrichment Bill
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – Some 100 Iranian lawmakers introduced a bill in parliament that would force the government to increase uranium enrichment to 60 percent if new sanctions are imposed on the Islamic Republic, state television reported Wednesday. 

Israeli Actors Sit Out Show at Settlement Theater
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – A trio of Israeli stage actors is refusing to perform in an acclaimed play before a theater in a West Bank Jewish settlement, part of a burgeoning domestic movement against the government’s settlement policies. 

AP Exclusive: Al-Qaida Leader Targeting UN Workers
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – The shadowy leader of a powerful al-Qaida group fighting in Syria sought to kidnap United Nations workers and scrawled out plans for his aides to take over in the event of his death, according to excerpts of letters obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press. 

Activists Say 2013 Dark Year for Saudi Rights
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – With global attention focused on upheaval elsewhere in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia quietly intensified its clampdown on dissent in 2013, silencing democracy advocates and human rights defenders with arrests, trials and intimidation in what reformists say was one of the darkest years ever for their efforts in the powerful U.S.-allied Gulf state. 

Worshipers Are Targeted at a Christmas Service in Baghdad
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – More than two dozen people were killed in when a car bomb exploded in a parking lot near a church, one of a series of attacks across Iraq. 

Iranian MPs Propose Bill to Enrich Uranium Up to 60 Percent
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – Iran’s hardline lawmakers are seeking to increase uranium enrichment under the country’s nuclear program to a level that can produce bomb-grade material, a state-run website said on Wednesday. 

Analysis: As Egypt Hardliners Gain, Scope for Conflict Grows
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – If there was any hope left that the generals who overthrew Egypt’s elected president six months ago might ease the state’s crackdown on dissent, a suicide bomb that ripped through a police station on Tuesday may have destroyed it. 

Another Dark Christmas for Iraq’s Christians
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – It’s Christmas in Baghdad, and once again Iraq’s Christians are celebrating behind blast walls and barbed wire. 

Syria Signs Oil Exploration Deal With Russian Firm
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – Syria’s state news agency says the oil ministry has signed a deal with Russian oil and gas company Soyuzneftegaz to explore in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Sinai-Based Group Say Bombed Egypt Police Station
New York Times 25 Dec 2013 – Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis said on Wednesday it had carried out a bomb attack on an Egyptian police compound in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura which killed 16 people and wounded about 140. 

IEC badly underestimated storm
Globes Energy & Water – Hours before the storm that left thousands without power, Israel Electric Corpoation was talking of “a possibility of snow in Jerusalem”.

Fortissimo wins bidding for software co Eshbel
Globes Main News – Fortissimo Capital bid NIS 192 million for the profitable but troubled company.

Netanyahu sides with Treasury on curbing budget growth
Globes Main News – The prime minister has adopted the Ministry of Finance’s changes in the formula governing public spending, against the Bank of Israel’s advice.

BoI, Treasury clash on spending
Globes Macro Economics – The Bank of Israel advocates higher taxes to protect public services; the Finance Ministry thinks it should mind its own business.

Insulin pill developer Oramed raises $13m
Globes Main News – The company’s share price has risen 115% since the start of the week.

Major Jewish org: boycott vote is wake-up call in battle against ‘extremist’ delegitimization of Israel
Mondoweiss – Malcolm Hoenlein The landslide American Studies Association vote in favor of academic boycott is proving to be a highwater mark in the BDS movement, and it is galvanizing both sides in a fierce struggle. The ASA’s action has sparked a reaction from many official groups, with…

American Studies Association caucus seeks support against campaign to discredit ASA
Mondoweiss – The following is a statement from the ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism. It is not from the American Studies Association. To Friends of the AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION SUPPORT THE ASA Background: In an act of international solidarity, congruent with its historic mission to advance…

Snowden’s Christmas address
Mondoweiss – This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page. I just couldn’t resist, after my own Jewish Christmas message, another unexpected Christian message – from Edward Snowden no less. At least Snowden…

Pressure builds to set exchange rate floor
Globes Main News – A senior financial system source told “Globes” that a shekel-dollar “floor rate” requires a government and Knesset consensus.

Cold weather sends vegetable prices soaring
Globes Macro Economics – Tomato prices have more than tripled since the storms two weeks ago, while cucumber prices have more than doubled.

‘Time is running out’: The peace process and the fierce urgency of never
Mondoweiss – “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.” –Golda Meir Since the dawn of the peace process, serious men and women have warned that time was running out on a two state solution. If dramatic, urgent measures were not taken and painful compromises not…

A visit from the NSA (for Christmas)
Mondoweiss – (Image: Rick McKee ) ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land, Not a hacker was hacking along the broadband. The laptops were plugged by the chimney with care With hopes that the outlets would work over there. The children were nestled with their iPhones…

Delek sells Phoenix shares to focus on energy
Globes Main News – Delek Group CEO Asi Bartfeld said that sale of the insurance company’s shares is part of the policy of focusing more on energy and gas.

Three-year-old Palestinian girl, Hala Abu Sabikha, killed in Israeli raid on Gaza
Mondoweiss – Gaza under blockade Palestinian girl killed in Israeli strike on Gaza GAZA CITY (AFP) 25 Dec — A three-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in an Israeli raid on the Gaza Strip after the fatal shooting Tuesday of an Israeli near the Gaza border, in the latest…

In ‘intractable conflict,’ Israel must periodically and forcefully ‘mow the grass’
Mondoweiss – From the IDF twitter feed Yet another sign of the lack of vision of the Israeli security state and the crisis that it is plunging into given the failure to resolve the conflict with Palestinians. A study by leading national security experts calls for “mowing the…

Dutch court dismisses TPG suit against Strauss
Globes Main News – TPG claimed its interests as a minority shareholder in Strauss Coffee had been badly damaged by Strauss Group’s conduct.

Al Quds University: Anatomy of a Smear
Tikun Olam – Islamic Jihad salute falsely labeled “Nazi” at Al Quds University campus rally I wrote several posts a few weeks ago about Brandeis University’s abrupt severing of all ties with the Palestinian Al Quds University and its remarkable president, Sari Nusseibeh. In those posts I rebutted false…

Class action suit alleges Teva inflated share price
Globes Main News – Law firm Rigrodsky & Long has filed a class action lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Israel Plans New Settlement Push Despite Threat to Peace Talks 
The Foward Breaking News 25 Dec 2013 – Israel plans to announce a push for more construction in Jewish settlements when it frees two dozen Palestinian prisoners next week, an Israeli official said on Wednesday, in a move that could jeopardise U.S.-brokered peace talks. Click here for the rest of the article…

Egypt Brotherhood ‘terrorist group’ 
BBC 25 Dec 2013 – Egypt declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after blaming it for a deadly attack on a police HQ earlier this week.

Pope urges aid access to Syria 
BBC 25 Dec 2013 – Pope Francis tells thousands of pilgrims in the Vatican to pray for aid access and peace in Syria, in his first Christmas address as pontiff.

Gilad Shalit Joins Push To Free Jonathan Pollard 
The Foward Breaking News 25 Dec 2013 – Former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit wrote in an open letter that all Israelis should demand that the United States free jailed spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard. Click here for the rest of the article…

Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘Jewish’ Christmas Message Gaffe 
The Foward Breaking News 25 Dec 2013 – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his holiday blessings to the Christian citizens of Israel — barely stopping himself from uttering the word ‘Jewish’ in Hebrew. Click here for the rest of the article…

Kenyon and Indiana Quit Israel Boycott Group 
The Foward Breaking News 25 Dec 2013 – Two more American institutions of higher learning officially withdrew their memberships from the American Studies Association after its membership voted in favor of an academic boycott of Israel. Click here for the rest of the article…

Beirut’s Southern Suburbs Witness Population ‘Exodus’ 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – Following a recent spate of bombings, many residents in Beirut’s southern suburbs are moving to different areas in search of safety.

Tensions Rise as Barzani Closes Syrian-Iraqi Kurdistan Border 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – After Syrian KDP members are detained by the PYD, Iraqi Kurdistan President Barzani ordered the border closure between Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Turkey’s Flirt With Islamists Turns Sour in Somalia 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – Al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Turkish Embassy compound in Somalia; some believe the bombing was a response to Turkey’s foreign policy and image as a ‘secular Islamic’ nation.

Kurds Now Share Turkey’s Longest Border 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – With Turkey’s Arab neighbors consumed by instability and unrest, its longest border is now shared with the comparatively stable and administratively entrenched Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Syrian Opposition Leader: We Need Arms, Not Foreign Fighters 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – The head of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba said that the coming months will witness a major change in the Syrian revolution’s history.

New Findings Shake Confidence In Turkish-Kurdish Peace Process 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – While the PKK contends that the first stage of the Turkish-Kurdish peace process is nearly complete, recent security findings and statements made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicate otherwise.

Egypt Readies for Operation To Free Abducted Soldiers 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – The Egyptian army is sending reinforcements to the Sinai Peninsula for an operation to free the seven soldiers kidnapped a few days ago, amid disagreements with the presidency about the best way to do it.

As PKK Militants Withdraw, Where Will They Go? 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – As part of the Turkish-Kurd peace process, PKK militants will retreat with their guns, although some fear the conflict hasn’t ended, only changed locations and borders, writes Orhan Miroglu.

Algerian Experts Share Predictions For Syria Intervention 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – As speculation mounts over Western military intervention in Syria, Algerian military experts offer their forecasts for how this scenario might play out.

The EU’s Misguided Decision To Lift Syrian Oil Embargo 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – While the EU’s recent decision to lift an oil embargo on Syria was aimed at assisting the opposition forces, it has created tribal warlords who fight for control of the country’s natural resources.

Turkey Struggles to Increase Exposure and Maintain Friends 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – Turkey’s role in the region and the world has taken off since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011, increasing its diplomatic and humanitarian presence, while also drawing the ire of some parties.

Sectarian Tensions Rise in Bahrain Amid Mosque Attacks 
Al-Monitor 25 Dec 2013 – In Bahrain, sectarian tensions have increased as both Sunni and Shiite mosques witness attacks and acts of vandalism.

Egypt Brotherhood ‘terrorist group’ 
BBC 25 Dec 2013 – Egypt declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after blaming it for a deadly attack on a police HQ earlier this week.

Pope urges aid access to Syria 
BBC 25 Dec 2013 – Pope Francis tells thousands of pilgrims in the Vatican to pray for aid access and peace in Syria, in his first Christmas address as pontiff.

Christian areas hit by Baghdad bombs 
BBC 25 Dec 2013 – Two bombs near a Catholic church and a market in Baghdad kill at least 35 people, as Iraqi Christians celebrated Christmas, officials say.

Jihadist group claims attack on Egyptian police station 
Al-Akhbar News 25 Dec 2013 – An al-Qaeda-inspired group based in Egypt’s Sinai Wednesday claimed a suicide car bombing of a police headquarters north of Cairo that killed 15 people, the deadliest such attack since Mohammed Mursi’s overthrow. The brazen assault underscored the military’s challenge to contain Sinai militants who have killed…

Broadcast cut after Turkish minister calls on PM to resign 
Al-Akhbar News 25 Dec 2013 – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledges his supporters upon his arrival at Esenboga Airport in Ankara December 24, 2013. (Photo: AFP – Adem Altan) Turkey’s environment minister stepped down on Wednesday over a corruption probe, with his live broadcast being cut after calling on the…

Christmas blasts kill 35 in Baghdad 
Al-Akhbar News 25 Dec 2013 – Iraqi Christians take part in Christmas celebrations at a church in the northern city of Arbil, on December 24, 2013. (Photo: AFP – Safin Hamed) Updated 3:00pm: Bombs exploded in a market near a church in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, killing 35 people and wounding…


Conditions of Apartheid 
Maria C. Khoury, CounterPunch 12/25/2013
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
It is under unimaginable conditions of Apartheid that Christians in Bethlehem continue to share the Good News. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!The Orthodox Holy Nativity Liturgy is always celebrated on the Old Julian calendar but culturally and socially since after the Oslo Peace Agreement (1993) all Christians have united to celebrate Christmas day on December 25th. It is always expected that the president of Palestine shows up at the midnight service both times or at least that is what the late Yasser Arafat use to do to embrace the Christian community during the most sacred day of Christ’s birth. Specifically, in the Holy Land, Christmas is celebrated three times: Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian (Dec 25th, Jan 7th, Jan 19th ).
All efforts are being made with the new mayor of Bethlehem being a woman, Ms. Vera Baboun to have diverse and distinctive activities for this holy city to attract pilgrims. This December 23rd, across the globe, Activists for Peace will light a candle, say a prayer, or send healing energy in solidarity with the Palestinians in Bethlehem and in the Holy Land. From Bethlehem Nativity Square, a prayer vigil will be held for Peace in the Holy Land and including all people suffering from conflict particularly in Syria.
This is the 46th year that Christians in Bethlehem will be celebrating Christmas under Israeli military occupation. It is important, more than ever, to understand the Good News and to pray for the peace that the “Prince of Peace” offers in a place that has turned into a big prison. As the local people are literally locked up behind a 26th foot concrete wall, the Christian community will continue to reflect the true Light of Christ no matter how small their numbers dwindle. Palestinian Christians will continue to announce the Good News from Bethlehem with their genuine witness, although more than twenty-two illegal Israeli settlements are closing in on the little town of Christ’s birth. Not to mention hundred of checkpoints everywhere. more.. e-mail

Israel doesn’t do retaliation, just more of the same 
Ibrahim Hewitt, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/25/2013
Once again we hear that Israel has bombed the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip “in retaliation” for something that they’ve done against Israelis. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country will “respond”. Many people would agree that a person in his position has a duty to protect his citizens. Certainly, those in the White House and Downing Street do, which is why Israel gets away with murder, quite literally. It’s all down to legitimate self-defence; or so we are led to believe.
What, though, is the reality? Why is that right of self-defence never extended to the people of Palestine? After all, it is their land which is under occupation; it is their land which is being stolen and colonised; it is their land from which they are being excluded in a decades-long act of ethnic cleansing that its proponents hope will never end.
If retaliation and responses are the effects, then the occupation and colonisation of Palestine have to be the causes. There is no other way to look at the asymmetric conflict in the Holy Land. Despite what Israel and its apologists would have us believe, this is not a clash of equals, nor is it a case of a defenceless state struggling for its very existence in the face of overwhelming odds. It is, in fact, a nuclear-armed state, backed by the word’s superpowers and armed to the teeth with conventional weapons, most of them self-produced (and sold to the world for a staggering $7 billion a year boost to Israel’s economy), occupying, colonising and threatening a largely civilian population armed, at best, with AK47s and other small arms.
Israel is an occupying power; its occupation of somebody else’s land is the cause, and the resistance to the occupation by the Palestinians is the very legitimate effect; Israel doesn’t do retaliation, it is merely continuing to do what it has done for sixty-five years and counting, killing Palestinians and taking their land. That is the ugly reality of the situation. It is all very well for Netanyahu to say that his country will “respond” to acts of resistance by the Palestinians, but it is much more valid and legitimate for Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to say that action from Gaza is his people’s response to Israel’s brutal military occupation. That is a more accurate narrative for us to follow and accept. more.. e-mail

Dayan’s attempt to justify settlement expansion delegitimise the Zionist state 
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/24/2013
A recent blog in the Times of Israel by Dani Dayan, Chief Foreign Envoy of the YESHA council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (known to the rest of the world as the occupied West Bank) epitomised the extent of Zionist fraudulence. Arguing the necessity and legality of Israel’s settler-colonial expansion of settlements in the West Bank, Dayan’s erroneous justifications for exterminating Palestinian existence and resistance included the repudiation of international law, the Zionist interpretation of peac
e and an appropriation of Nelson Mandela’s philosophy.

Articulating intense displeasure at the achievements of the boycott movements, Dayan attempts to mellow the impact of defeat by intensifying Israel’s commitment to settlement expansion which, he declares, are “legal, legitimate and necessary for peace”. Dayan cites the boycott progress as hindering “the values which Europe holds dear”, disregarding internationalist solidarity and striving to associate the movement with alleged European values. It is illogical to tarnish the success of the movement with a region that still has to move beyond symbolic gestures of solidarity with Palestinians while acquiescing to Israel’s ever greater demands in return for economic benefits.
The cited attributes of legality, legitimacy and peace which Dayan associates with the construction of a forged memory, as well as the theft of public space reinforcing the Zionist project, are limited to the abhorrent political structures supporting the illegality of the Jewish state: Zionism, imperialism and the United Nations. It is through this framework that Dayan can claim, “The Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are not only legal but are impeccably legitimate.” The Zionist expansion is supported by imperialism, while the UN has distanced itself from the rigour of international law. In its support of the illegal Zionist state since the atrocities of the Nakba, the UN created the contradiction and distinction between legal frameworks and resolutions stipulating the illegality of Israeli settlements and the organisation’s affirmation of Israel’s “right to exist and defend itself.” more.. e-mail

Invalidating Palestinian existence at the 10th annual Saban Forum 
Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 12/13/2013
Obama attempted to portray the US as ‘an effective facilitator of that negotiation and dialogue’ at the Saban Forum
The 10th annual Saban Forum, hosted by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy has offered the US and Israel a platform to strengthen their elimination of Palestinians from the farcical peace negotiations through their manipulation of language and history. The conference focused on “Power Shifts: US-Israel Relations in a Dynamic Middle East.” President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry justified imperial support for Israel, under the guise of human rights and security concerns using selective historical memory.
Obama attempted to portray the US as “an effective facilitator of that negotiation and dialogue” between Israelis and Palestinians, ignoring the ramifications of Israel’s settler-colonial process aided by Western imperialism. Determination to secure the success of the negotiations has been compromised by Israel’s ruthless expansion and Palestinian official representation. They underscore the differences between Israelis who are allegedly frightened by ‘terror’ threats and Palestinians who endure decades of state terrorism supported by the coloniser’s allies. Within Obama’s discourse, this determination is equivalent to the security of the Jewish state, obliterating Palestinian existence to reveal the ultimate purpose of the negotiations – a hypothetical two state solution ensuring Israel’s demographic majority and that “the state of Israel as a Jewish secure state”.
Obama highlighted the efforts undertaken to “understand the Israeli perspective” of security for the Jewish state, which further subjugates Palestinians whose identity is fractured and rendered obsolete at the whim of the imperialists. Obama speaks of implementing a “pathway to peace” in the West Bank – upholding the area as a model for Palestinians living in Gaza to eventually emulate. Both areas remain characterised by the diverging leadership – the acquiescence personified by Mahmoud Abbas and the resistance which Hamas has never relinquished…. more..e-mail

Info & Disinfo on Gaza, and Appeal for Hala Abu Shbeika, 3, killed in Israeli airstrike against Gaza
In Gaza: 25 Dec 2013 – Some things to consider giving Israel’s bombing spree in Gaza on Dec 24: -Israeli soldiers on a routine basis target Palestinians of all ages, including children, as they farm or fish, killing and maiming them. This is policy from the top-down, not random, not “bad apples”. See videos here and here; see reports here and here and here and here and UN . -Israel has violated the Nov 2012 “truce”/”ceasefire” from the beginning, as documented here [ Israeli Ceasefire Violations in Gaza and World Silence ] and here . and this important clarification from Yousef at the Jerusalem Fund : Israel, and Kershner, Strike Again The bias in New York Times reporting on Israel/Palestine is so systematic, it is predictable. Literally.When the news broke this morning that an Israeli had been shot by a sniper in Gaza while working on the fence around Gaza I knew that the killing would receive plenty of coverage in…more

2013: Assessing the Conflict in Syria and Egypt – The War Continues
Palestine Chronicle: 25 Dec 2013 – By Ramzy Baroud 2013 has expectedly been a terrible year for several Arab nations. It has been terrible because the promise of greater freedoms and politica
l reforms has been reversed, most violently in some instances, by taking a few countries down the path of anarchy and complete chaos. Syria and Egypt are two cases in point. Syria has been hit the hardest. For months, the United Nations has maintained that over 100,000 people have been killed in the 33 months of conflict. More recently, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights concluded that at least 125,835, of which more than third of them are civilians, have been killed. The UN’s humanitarian agency (OCHA) says that millions of Syrians living in perpetual suffering are in need of aid, and this number will reach 9.3 million by the end of next year. OCHA’s numbers attempt to forecast the need for aid for…

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