VTJP Occupied Palestine and Israel: News and Articles 28 December 2013

28 December 2013 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Soldiers Invade Bethlehem, Hebron, Kidnap Four Palestinians
IMEMC – [Saturday at dawn December 28, 2013] Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Hebron, and kidnapped four Palestinians. Soldiers also installed roadblocks in Hebron, and searched cars. …

Ma’an News

Sick prisoners in Israeli jails threaten to start hunger strike
12/29/2013 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Sick Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails have threatened to start a hunger strike protesting their dire health conditions in custody, the Palestinian Authority’s prisoners’ society said. In a letter smuggled out of Israel’s Eshel prison, prisoners wrote on behalf of all sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, appealing to the Palestinian people and leaders for….

Israel extends house arrest of mentally challenged teen
12/29/2013 – JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israel has extended the house arrest of a mentally challenged Palestinian who has been under home confinement for four months, relatives said. Ahmad Dawuod Obeid, 19, was beaten and arrested in August by undercover Israeli forces in al-Issawiya near Jerusalem. Obeid was in court several times and was charged with throwing rocks at Israeli forces until he was released on bail….

Rafah crossing closed for second day in a row
12/28/2013 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing on Saturday for the second day in a row, a Palestinian official said. After being open from Tuesday through Thursday in an exceptional case, the crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has now been closed two days in a row, the Gaza government’s Director of Border Crossings Mahir Abu Sabha told….

Official: Kerry to Mideast next week for peace talks
12/29/2013 – RAMALLAH (AFP) — US Secretary of State John Kerry will return to the Middle East next week for talks with Palestinian and Israeli officials on the peace process, a Palestinian official said Saturday.”Mr. Kerry has told the Palestinian Authority he will return to the region on January 4 to discuss the peace process and negotiations with Israel,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity….

EU donates 16 million euros to UNRWA
12/28/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The European Union has announced a 16 million euro ($21. 9 million) contribution to the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA said in a statement Friday. The donation brought the EU’s contribution to UNRWA to nearly $210 million, the statement said, adding that 41 percent of UNRWA’s funding came from European countries in 2013.”The latest….

PLO urges Hamas to sever ties with Muslim Brotherhood
12/28/2013 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Several leaders from various factions in the PLO on Saturday urged Hamas to dissociate itself from the Muslim Brotherhood, some calling the Egyptian organization a “terrorist group.” A Fatah representative in the PLO executive committee said Hamas should detach itself from the Brotherhood, warning of political, economic, and security consequences if Hamas remained “subordinate” to “this banned terrorist group.””Confirm loyalty….

Fatah official: Palestinians should choose ‘smart’ resistance in 2014
12/28/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – The Palestinian Authority will continue plans in 2014 immediately after a 9-month time limit given to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to reach an agreement ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a Fatah official said Saturday. Speaking to Ma’an,Nabil Shaath said no peace deal would emerge after the nine-month limit “because of what Israel and the United States are proposing….

PA: Israel to release names of prisoners set for release
12/28/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Minister of prisoners affairs Issa Qaraqe said Saturday that Israel would announce the names of a third group of prisoners to be released at midnight. Qaraqe told Ma’an TV that Israel did not provide the PA with a list in advance. He denounced the delay of the release of the third group to Dec. 30, and rejected Israel’….

Kerry phones Abbas to push peace process forward
12/28/2013 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday received a phone call from US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the peace process, Palestinian officials said. [END]

PA: Fatah-Hamas tension not behind Gaza power plant closure
12/29/2013 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian Authority official on Saturday denied Israeli claims that lack of fuel in Gaza was due to tension between Fatah and Hamas. Nathmi Muhanna, PA director of border crossings, said in a statement that neither financial or political disputes with Hamas were behind the fuel shortage in Gaza.”It’s all because Israel has shut down the Kerem Shalom….

Lebanese say ‘nowhere is safe’ after Beirut blast
12/28/2013 – Beirut (AFP) — The deadly car bomb that ripped through downtown Beirut shook buildings and rattled windows, triggering fear among many people that “nowhere is safe” anymore in Lebanon. The country, which fought a long civil war between 1975 and 1990, is no stranger to violence and has seen a rise in attacks linked to the fighting in neighboring Syria, but Friday’s explosion in….

Syria opposition blames regime for Beirut bombing
12/28/2013 – BEIRUT (AFP) — A key member of the Syrian opposition has accused the Damascus regime and its allies Iran and Hezbollah of being behind a bomb attack that killed a Lebanese politician in Beirut. The powerful car bomb in the heart of the Lebanese capital on Friday killed six people, including Mohammad Chatah, a leading critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”The murderers….

One student killed as Egypt police clash with Islamists
12/28/2013 – CAIRO (AFP) — A student was killed and more than 100 arrested as police clashed with students who set fire to Cairo university building on Saturday, in an intensifying crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, officials said. The unrest followed nationwide repression of Islamist protests on Friday after the military-installed government listed the Brotherhood, the movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, as a terrorist organisation. A hospital….

Death toll from Yemen shelling of funeral tent rises to 19
12/28/2013 – ADEN (AFP) — The death toll from the army’s shelling of a funeral tent erected by the Southern Movement at a school in Yemen has risen up to 19, including four children, medics said Saturday. Witnesses and southern activists had said two tanks shelled the tent in Sanah, 185 miles south of the capital, in an attack on Friday that prompted calls to arms….

Iraq forces arrest Sunni MP, kill brother and guards
12/28/2013 – RAMADI, Iraq (AFP) — Iraqi security forces on Saturday raided the home of a Sunni MP who backs anti-government protesters, arresting him and sparking clashes that killed his brother and five guards, police said. The raid threatens to inflame widespread discontent among Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority and could compound rampant violence plaguing the country. A police major said automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers….

Syrian air strike on market, hospital in Aleppo ‘kills 20’
12/28/2013 – BEIRUT (AFP) — Helicopters dropped TNT-packed barrels on a vegetable market and next to a hospital in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 20 civilians including two children Saturday, a monitoring group said.” The number of people killed has risen to 20 including two children, a teenager, a woman, and a media activist,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian….

Bahrain’s Shiite opposition says its chief arrested
12/28/2013 – DUBAI (AFP) — Bahrain police have arrested Ali Salman, head of the main Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq that has spearheaded protests against the authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, the group said on Saturday.” Al-Wefaq can confirm that sheikh Ali Salman has been arrested,” it said in a brief statement.” He is in detention after a series of illegal measures which comprised summonsing him to the office….

Lebanon’s anti-Syria bloc rejects govt with Hezbollah
12/28/2013 – BEIRUT (AFP) — Lebanon’s anti-Syria bloc said on Saturday that it refuses to join a government with Hezbollah, a day after it lost an influential member in a Beirut car bombing. The attack in the heart of the capital on Friday killed seven people including March 14 bloc member Mohammad Chatah. Hours later, the bloc implied it held Hezbollah and its ally Syrian President….

Saudi police ‘pounce on woman defying drive ban’
12/28/2013 – JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi police on Saturday pulled over a woman minutes after she got behind the wheel in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after activists called for a new challenge to a driving ban.” Only 10 minutes after Tamador al-Yami got behind the wheel police stopped her,” activist Eman al-Nafjan told AFP, adding that Yami carries an international driving licence and was….

UN: Syria chemical deadline ‘unlikely’ to be met
12/28/2013 – UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — Syria is “unlikely” to meet a December 31 deadline to transport its most dangerous chemical arms out of the country, the United Nations acknowledged Saturday. The UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said “important progress” has been made on Syria’s banned weapons, but called on President Bashar Assad’s government to “intensify efforts….

AlJazeera

Israelis protest Palestinian prisoner release
AlJazeera 28 Dec 2013 – Demonstration comes as Israel reveals names of 26 prisoners to be freed as part of ongoing peace negotiations.

International Solidarity Movement

Five Years After the Cast Lead Operation: ‘Gaza Writes Back’
12/28/2013 – International Solidarity Movement – Interview – Arabic Literature (in English), M. Lynx Qualey, Cairo, Egypt – It was five years ago that Cast Lead began. Now a book of short stories, Gaza Writes Back, marks the anniversary. The book’s editor, Refaat Alareer, answers questions about the collection: ArabLit: How did the idea for this collection come about? How did you put out the call for submissions? Did you tell the….

The National

Children would stare and say ‘look at the girl’s lip’, says UAE expat mother
The National 28 Dec 2013 – Kerloot Udawatte, whose daughter was born with a cleft lip, says the stigma will be removed only by talking about the condition

EU voices concern over Turkish graft scandal
The National 28 Dec 2013 – European officials call for transparency in handling of corruption investigation as Turkish PM blames judiciary of complicity in smear campaign.

India train fire kills at least 26 passengers
The National 28 Dec 2013 – As the inferno and thick black smoke raced through the two cars at 3:45am, panicked passengers broke the windows and many saved themselves by jumping from the train.

Aid to Syrian rebels flows through a complex maze
The National 28 Dec 2013 – Most weapons and funding from western and Arab countries goes through central command, but some states and private donors also hand over aid directly.

Syrian rebels get arms and advice through secret command centre in Amman
The National 28 Dec 2013 – Rebels fighting in the southern Deraa region reveal how officials from 14 countries help provide weapons and strategy in war on Assad regime.

Nanded Express fire highlights India’s need to upgrade its railways
The National 28 Dec 2013 – Various government committees have, over the years, emphasised the urgent need for an injection of funds into the Indian Railways. One report, for instance, recommended an expenditure of 9 trillion rupees (Dh533.73 billion) over five years to bring the network up to modern standards.

Video: Bodies pile up after clashes in Central African Republic 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – Red Cross volunteers bury bodies in mass graves after widespread clashes killed at least 44 people in Central African Republic, as French troops patrol streets.

Video: Mourning the past and fearing the future in China 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – For Chinese parents whose only child has died, the loss of their offspring means they have no one to look after them – financially or physically – in the future.

Video: Chinese icebreaker arrives in Antarctica to free trapped ship 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – A Russian ship trapped in the Antarctic ice is coming closer to freedom after the arrival of a Chinese icebreaker.

Video: Times Square crystal ball gets a makeover 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball gets a brand new design for its 2,688 crystal panels.

Video: Protesters clash in Turkey in aftermath of corruption scandal 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – A corruption scandal in Turkey angers protesters who are demanding the government resign.

Video: Officials link deadly Beirut blast to Syria, Hezbollah 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – Local TV in Lebanon shows site where former minister was killed in bombing. Officials link deadly blast to conflict in Syria and Hezbollah.

Video: Clashes after Friday prayers in Egypt 
The National 28 Dec 2013 – At least two people have been killed as clashes erupt after Friday prayers between police and Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Ha’aretz

Gaza border area set for $47.5 million aid
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

For Kerry, Pollard is a bargaining chip with Netanyahu
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Peres leaving office means Presidential Conference won’t be held next year
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Davos meeting offers Netanayhu fresh opportunity for a farce
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Israel’s public hospitals could ‘lose out on foreign medical tourists’
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Panel to choose between 113 remedies for state-subsidized ‘health basket’
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Arab parties: Raising Knesset threshold will backfire on right
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Egyptian student dies during campus protests
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

No partner for peace in Israel
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

The gears of racism are oiled by ordinary bureaucrats
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Israel Police chief warns job losses could trigger new social protests
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

What was occupying Netanyahu’s mind when he made his Christmas gaffe?
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Birds on a wiretap
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

HMOs claim financial woes, despite $167m state payout
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Israel government approves release of 26 Palestinian prisoners
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

French soccer player celebrates goal with Nazi-like salute
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Thousands of Africans, Israelis march to demand freedom for asylum seekers
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Erdogan in the headlights: Crimes, corruption and conspiracies
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Housing minister: Settlement construction is a constant, and the U.S. knows it
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Earthquake felt in northern Israel
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Senior minister blasts Ya’alon: You can’t deem talks a failure while in government
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Senior minister blasts Ya’alon: You can’t deem talks a failure while in government
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Report: Kerry offered to free Pollard as part of Palestinian prisoner release
Ha’aretz – 28 Dec 2013

Netanyahu briefly hospitalized with sinus infection
Ha’aretz – 27 Dec 2013

State to court: Injunction to freeze Infiltration Law will infringe on Knesset’s powers
Ha’aretz – 27 Dec 2013

After court cries foul, non-Haredim in Beit Shemesh cheer for re-election
Ha’aretz – 27 Dec 2013

Israeli schools gain autonomy over what theater shows pupils see
Ha’aretz – 27 Dec 2013

Jerusalem Post

Ministers release list of 26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed in advance of Kerry’s arrival
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Ministers finalize list of prisoners to be freed ahead of Kerry’s return to the region; Peri: 15-25% of settlers would be evacuated in peace deal; illegal West Bank building can be treated as criminal activity. 

English soccer league to probe alleged anti-Semitic gesture by French star
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka made controversial “quenelle” signal during team’s 3-3 draw at West Ham. 

Poll: Most Israeli Jews feel schools should teach ‘Palestinian narrative’
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – The results, announced on Thursday, reignited the longstanding controversy over the content of school curricula on both sides. 

Pollard group downplays reports of his release in return for freeing of Palestinian prisoners
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Spokesman for the Committee for the Release of Jonathan Pollard says “not aware of the accuracy or reliability of reports”. 

The real Ukraine
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Even at a practical level, the justification for using the Soviet moniker is weak as today’s readers are likely to know more of the current nature of these countries than their Soviet histories. 

Out There: A farewell to parent-teacher night
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – The 90-minute ride home from the parent-teacher meeting at our son’s yeshiva last week was, for The Wife and me, a bittersweet one. 

What’s in a title?
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – One thing veteran Knesset followers have learned is to never assume the subject matter listed for a discussion in the Knesset plenum is ultimately what is going to come out of the deliberation. 

Left urges Netanyahu not to build in West Bank
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Opposition says announcements of plans for new settlement construction harm negotiating process with Palestinians. 

Asylum seekers protest in Tel Aviv against government policy
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Some 5,000 African migrants, supporters march in central Tel Aviv chanting “freedom!” and “no more prisons”. 

Tremors from Mediterranean earthquake felt in Israel
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Mild seismic waves reach northern Israel from 5.8 magnitude quake with epicenter off the coast of Western Turkey. 

Snowden revelations of US spying give Israel golden opportunity to end Pollard saga
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Israel’s intelligence community must appeal to its US counterpart and request that as a gesture of mercy it persuade Obama that the time has come to pardon Pollard. 

Syria’s Assad sends private message to Pope Francis
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Syrian envoy holds talks with Vatican heads; transmits message from president that “illustrated the position of the Syrian gov’t”. 

Rights group: Syrian army kills 25 in Aleppo vegetable market
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Video posted by Insaan Rights Watch showed residents pulling mangled corpses out of scorched and twisted car frames. 

Slain Defense Ministry employee’s family to sue Channel 2
Jerusalem Post 28 Dec 2013 – Abu Latyef family says Ch. 2 slandered deceased’s name by accusing Hamas linkage after deadly shooting on Gaza border. 

The Guardian

US secretary of state John Kerry will return to Middle East for peace talks
The Guardian 28 Dec 2013 – Kerry will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah late next week for more talks with Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas

Uruknet

Asymmetric Warfare The Killings Fields of Gaza
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – Revelations from Israeli sources such as Breaking the Silence and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that the Israeli assaults on Gaza in 2008/9 (Cast Lead) and 2012 (Pillars of Defence) were planned many months ahead pose many…

Ben Gurion Foresaw Palestinian Expulsion in 1937
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – There is much debate among historians and activists about the precise attitude of pre-state Israel s leadership toward the Palestinian minority. Leading up the 1948 War, how far was David Ben Gurion prepared to go? Was…

5th anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza | Special Report on Palestinian Political Prisoners and detainees from the Gaza Strip
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – Since1967 the Israeli occupation arrested more than 700,000 Palestinians, 250,000 of whom were residents of the Gaza Strip making up 35% of all arrests, a high percentage considering the small size of the Strip, and the…

Four killed, scores wounded in clashes across Egypt
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police clashed across Egypt on Friday, leaving at least four dead in protests after the army-backed government declared the group a terrorist organization. The violence broke out after Friday prayers and the…

Five Years after Cast Lead: Gaza Writes Back 
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – …Since many of the writers are my own students (and friends), I contacted them and informed them of the idea of a book to mark the fifth anniversary of Cast Lead. We had a couple of…

Five Palestinians die of hunger in besieged Yarmouk
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – — Five people, includ
ing an elderly man, a woman and a disabled man, have died of hunger in a besieged Palestinian refugee camp south of Damascus, a monitoring group said Friday. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad s…

VIDEO: Israeli forces shoot Palestinian protester from close range
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013- An Israeli Border Policeman was videotaped shooting Palestinian activist Manal Tamimi in the leg with a rubber-coated bullet from very close range in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh on Friday. According to Manal s husband Bilal…

Judge Defends Government Secrecy & Dismisses ACLU Lawsuit Challenging NSA Surveillance Program
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013- A federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that the National Security Agency s bulk data collection…

African refugees defy desert cold, Israeli internment in march for freedom Budour Youssef Hassan
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – On 15 December, about 150 African asylum-seekers, mostly Sudanese, began a march from the Holot internment camp in the Naqab desert with the intention of reaching the Israeli prime minister s residence in Jerusalem. Braving the…

Video: Israeli troops fire on Palestinian farmers and international activists in Gaza
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – International activists have been accompanying Palestinian farmers to their lands near the separation barrier between the territories occupied in 1948 and the Gaza Strip. We have noticed, in recent days, an increase in the presence of…

Erdogan criticizes, undermines huge corruption investigation
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – One of Turkey s largest-ever corruption investigations is underway. A public bank CEO, an Iranian businessman and the sons of the freshly resigned interior and economy ministers are among the 24 suspects arrested so far, pending…

Maliki calls for making Karbala the new Muslim Qibla (instead of Makkah)
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki s statements that the Shiite holy city of Karbala must be the Qibla – the direction to which Muslims pray – has stirred controversy among Islamic scholars. “Karbala must be the Qibla…

Iraq snapshot – December 27, 2013 
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – …. Tuesday, December 24th, Nouri had his forces cut off roads leading out of Ramadi and to surround the protest yard. All Iraq News reports that Nouri s forces withdrew from the protest yard but Iraq Times…

Video: Israeli troops fire on Palestinian farmers and international activists in Gaza Video: Israeli troops fire on Palestinian farmers and international activists in Gaza
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – International activists have been accompanying Palestinian farmers to their lands near the separation barrier between the territories occupied in 1948 and the Gaza Strip. We have noticed, in recent days, an increase in the presence of…

Israel Marks 5th Anniversary of Operation Cast Lead with Air Strikes on Gaza
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 -On the fifth anniversary of its brutal Operation Cast Lead, Israel launched a series of attacks on the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, injuring at least two people. One of the injured has been identified as Salem…

Killing Mohammad Chatah
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013- The last time I met Mohammad Chatah, a former Lebanese minister opposed to President Bashar al-Assad s regime, he expressed a sense of relief that Lebanon had been spared the worst of the violence raging in Syria….

Report: Kerry Offered Pollard Release to Israel
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013- Reports swirling around the Israeli press say that Secretary of State John Kerry has offered to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard and secure his departure to Israel if the Israeli government doesn t renege on the promised…

No Austerity for Military Budget in 2014
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – In an era of bipartisan agreement on austerity cuts to vital services and workers benefits, military-industrial-complex spending will continue into the new year untouched. President Barack Obama signed into law on Thursday the National Defense Authorization…

Five years on, family keep open Gaza clinic of doctor killed by Israel
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013- A portrait of Dr. Ehab Jasir al-Shaer still greets patients at his skincare clinic in the city of Rafah. Five years ago this week, al-Shaer was one of the first Palestinians to be killed when Israel launched…

Interview with NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney: Afraid We re Spreading Secret Government Around World
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – The FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and law enforcement, along with the NSA, are collecting information on Americans and then using that information to arrest people. “Parallel construction” is then used to “fabricate evidence” that is substituted…

In video: Nabi Saleh woman shot at close range by Israeli forces
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 27, 2013 – — Activists from Nabi Saleh have released a video showing an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian woman in the leg at close range following clashes on Friday afternoon. The video, uploaded by prominent local activist Bilal…

Syria News – December 26, 2013 (Warning: Graphic Videos) 
Uruknet 28 Dec 2013 – December 26, 2013 – By the end of Thursday the Coordination Committees were able to document 89 martyrs including 12 children, 5 women and 3 martyrs under torture: 43 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs; 14 in Aleppo;…

Daily Star

Man killed in south Lebanon car accident
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 A man was killed in a car accident in a Sidon suburb in south Lebanon.

Bahrain’s Shiite opposition says its chief arrested
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 Bahrain police have arrested Ali Salman, head of the main Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq that has spearheaded protests against the authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, the group says.

Kerry to Mideast next week for peace talks: Palestinians
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will return to the Middle East next week for talks with Palestinian and Israeli officials on the peace process, a Palestinian official says.

Syria’s Assad sends message to Pope Francis, Vatican says
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 Syrian President Bashar Assad has sent Pope Francis a private message, the Vatican says, without disclosing its contents.

Teen wounded in Beirut car bombing dies
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 A secondary school student seriously wounded in the Beirut car bombing that targeted former Minister Mohammad Shatah dies, a security source say.

Removal of chemical arms from Syria delayed: watchdog
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 The removal of deadly toxins from Syria under an international effort to rid the nation of its chemical arsenal will likely miss a Dec. 31 deadline, the global chemical arms watchdog says.

Lebanon to refer Shatah’s killing to Judicial Council
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 Lebanon will refer the assassination of former Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah to the Justice Council, officials say, as Mikati calls for the formation of an inclusive Cabinet to end the political impasse.

Three Asian workers dead as Saudi offshore platform sinks
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 Saudi coastguards have found the bodies of three Asian workers at sea after they went missing when an oil company’s offshore platform sank, officials say.

Syria opposition blames regime for Beirut bombing
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 A key member of the Syrian opposition has accused the Damascus regime and its allies Iran and Hezbollah of being behind a bomb attack that killed a Lebanese politician in Beirut.

Death toll from Yemen shelling of funeral tent rises to 19
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 The death toll from the army’s shelling of a funeral tent erected by the Southern Movement at a school in Yemen has risen up to 19, including four children, medics say.

Beirut bombing death toll rises to seven
Daily Star 28 Dec 2013 The death toll from Friday’s car bombing in Beirut that claimed the life of former Minister Mohammad Shatah rises to seven, a security source says.

YNet News

Attempt to smuggle 100kg drugs thwarted by IDF forces 
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – ….

IPS publishes names of 26 prisoners to be released
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – ….

Third phase of Palestinian prisoner release confirmed
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – ….

De Blasio to be sworn in by Bill Clinton
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – ….

Former Minister Yosef Shapira dies at 87
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – ….

Israel’s empty gesture
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – Op-ed: Murderers released next week will likely be the only ones to enjoy Israel’s concession ….

St. Petersburg Jews searching for identity 
YNet News, 28 Dec 2013 – After decades of assimilation, young members of Russian city’s Jewish community are connecting to their roots through Jewish student clubs, synagogue activities and annual Limmud festival ….

Palestinian Information Center

Futility of current talks between Israel and PA
PIC – Listening to media statements by some PA officials, one occasionally gets the impression that there will be light at the end of the long and dark tunnel of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

Popular Committee against the Siege warns of humanitarian disaster in Gaza
PIC – Popular Committee against the Siege warned of a real humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip due to the closure of Karm Abu Salem crossing and the prevention of entry of fuel to run the power plant.

Abu Zuhri: Hamas did not and will not interfere in Egyptian affairs
PIC – Hamas movement refused statements by Othman Yasser, the Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, that asked Hamas not to interfere in Egyptian internal affairs.

Gaza: Karam Abu Salem crossing and Rafah crossing still closed
PIC – The authorities in Gaza said the Israeli-controlled Karam Abu Salem crossing and the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing have been closed for days, with no indication if they would be opened soon.

Captive with broken leg left without treatment in Israeli jail
PIC – The family of captive Mohammed Furaihat said the Negev prison administration has been procrastinating in providing proper treatment to Muhammad who broke his leg twenty days ago.

Sheikh Sabri slams recent US solutions to Palestinian-Israeli conflict
PIC – Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, preacher of the Aqsa Mosque, condemned the latest US overtures to the Palestinian Authority, stressing that Israel is persistent in annexing lands and expanding settlements.

IOF arrests four Palestinians in al-Khalil and Bethlehem
PIC – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Saturday morning four citizens in the cities of al-Khalil and Bethlehem, and took them to unknown destination.

Palestinians of 1948 occupied lands commemorate Balad Al-Sheikh massacre
PIC – The Palestinian citizens in the 1948 occupied lands held their Friday prayers in Balad Al-Sheikh village, east of Haifa city, to commemorate the massacre which had been committed by Zionist gangs.

Data: 75% of the detainees in Israeli jails are children and youngsters
PIC – Official data showed that the arrests carried out by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in 2013 mainly targeted Palestinian children and youths.

IOF reportedly discover an underground tunnel intended to kidnap soldiers
PIC – Israeli Givati Brigade claimed the discovery of an underground tunnel near a wanted person’s house in Ramallah in the West Bank intended to kidnap Israeli soldiers, Israeli media sources said.

WAFA

Activists Reclaim Land in Threatened Area
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

Jordan’s Minister of Tourism Urges Visits to Jerusalem
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

PLO Calls on Hamas to Break Ties with Muslim Brotherhood
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

Government says Closure of Crossing Impedes Entry of Fuel into Gaza
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

EU Contributes 16M Euros to Refugee Organization
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

Abbas orders Immediate Food Supplies to Yarmouk Camp in Syria
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

Army Arrests Two in Bethlehem, Two from Halhoul
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

Weather: Temperature around Normal with Rain Expected at Night
WAFA – 28 Dec 2013

Misc

At least one dead as protest on Cairo campus turns violent
LA Times 28 Dec 2013 – CAIRO — Violent clashes at an Islamic university that has become a flash point for protests left at least one student dead Saturday, according to activists and Egyptian state media. A second student was reported to be in critical condition.

Deadly Syrian Bomb Strikes Crowded Aleppo Market
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – At least 21 people were killed at a market as government forces kept up a bombing campaign. 

Deadly Shootout and Arrest in Iraq Set Off Sunni Protests
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – A raid by Iraqi security forces on the home of a prominent Sunni member of Parliament on Saturday morning in Anbar Province set off a two-hour gun battle that left the lawmaker’s brother and five guards dead, along with a soldier, Iraqi security and medical officials said. 

Shots Fired Before 4 Were Held in Libya
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – The holding of four American military personnel on Friday was preceded by a confrontation at a checkpoint, a witness and an Obama administration official said. 

New Study Refines View of Sarin Attack in Syria
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – A new analysis of rockets linked to the chemical attack on Damascus in August concluded that they were most likely fired by multiple launchers and had a range of about three kilometers. 

Militia Leaders in Benghazi
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – A list of the militia leaders in Benghazi and the roles they played. 

Deadly Mix in Benghazi: False Allies, Crude Video
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – The reality behind the deadly attack on American outposts in Libya is murkier and more complex than initially believed. 

Tunisian Parties Reach Compromise on Constitution
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – The head of Tunisia’s transitional parliament says rival political parties reached agreement on contentious points in a draft constitution, and the document will go to the legislature Jan. 3. 

Bahrain: Shiite Opposition Leader Questioned
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – Bahrain authorities summoned the head of the country’s main Shiite opposition bloc on Saturday for questioning on allegations of incitement, a move that could inflame tensions in the tiny Western-allied Gulf kingdom. 

Kerry Heads to Middle East Next Week for Peace Talks: U.S. Official
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Israel and the Palestinian territories for peace talks next week, the State Department said on Saturday, in a visit that will come days after Israel is due to free another group of Palestinian prisoners. 

A Protester Is Killed During Campus Violence in Egypt
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – One demonstrator was confirmed dead on Saturday after a clash between police officers and student supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood on the eastern Cairo campus of Al-Azhar University. 

Members of Jewish Student Group Test Permissible Discussion on Israel
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – Swarthmore’s Hillel rebelled this month, saying it would not abide by its parent group’s guidelines prohibiting collaboration with speakers or groups deemed unsupportive of Israel. 

Death Toll Rises to 19 in Yemen Shelling
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – Yemeni health officials say the death toll from artillery shells that landed near a funeral tent in the south has risen to 19, including six children. 

Syria’s Assad Sends Message to Pope Francis, Vatican Says
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sent Pope Francis a private message, the Vatican said on Saturday, without disclosing its contents. 

Qatar Signs Aid Deal Worth $1.25 Billion for Morocco
New York Times 28 Dec 2013 – Qatar and Morocco have signed an aid deal worth $1.25 b
illion, part of a five-year package of financial assistance extended by wealthy Gulf states to the North African kingdom to help it weather ‘Arab Spring’ protests. 

Gaza is the only place the world forgets about (or pretends to forget about)
Mondoweiss – Palestinian children look at a double rainbow after heavy rain flooded Gaza Dec. 12, 2013. (photo: Hatem Moussa/AP) ‘Look where the world is and where we are!’ an exclamation I very frequently heard at home, and even expressed myself at some points. Going out to this…

Unintended consequences
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. People of all faith persuasions – including many Christians of Conscience – must be glad to see the Christmas season disappear into our…

Palestinian farmers are to blame for settler attacks on occupied land, Israel says
Mondoweiss – Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing Israel: Palestinian farmers to blame for settler attacks on their land Haaretz 26 Dec by Amira Hass — The state is claiming that Palestinians who were the recent target of a “price tag” attack are to blame for their…

Rage over ASA boycott shows, world has never punished Israel for human rights violations –Derfner
Mondoweiss – Everyone is passing around this slam-dunk argument from Israeli-American Larry Derfner at +972 saying that the “reaction” against the ASA boycott vote highlights the fact that Israel has enjoyed favored immunity from boycott, forever. It’s titled, “The world’s blatant double standard – in Israel’s favor,” and…

‘WSJ’ piece argues that Israeli Christians and Jews are aligned, but not Muslims
Mondoweiss – Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in occupied East Jerusalem Expect to see more of this trend, which has an Islamophobic scent to it that we covered yesterday. In the Wall Street Journal, “Israel’s Christian Awakening,” by Adi Schwartz, argues that Israel is more hospitable to Christian…

Ben Gurion Foresaw Palestinian Expulsion in 1937
Tikun Olam – There is much debate among historians and activists about the precise attitude of pre-state Israel’s leadership toward the Palestinian minority. Leading up the 1948 War , how far was David Ben Gurion prepared to go? Was he an active proponent of the ethnic cleansing campaign that eventually…

Syria urged to help ship toxic arms 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – The global chemical weapons watchdog calls on Syria to “intensify its efforts” to help ship out its most dangerous chemical weapons for destruction.

Cairo campus torched amid protest 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – A student dies in Cairo as supporters of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood clash with police and university buildings are set on fire.

John Kerry Set To Jumpstart Mideast Peace Talks 
The Foward Breaking News 28 Dec 2013 – Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Israel and the Palestinian territories for peace talks next week, a senior U.S. government official said on Saturday, days after Israel is due to free another group of Palestinian prisoners. Click here for the rest of the article……

Lebanon assassination targets potential prime minister 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – Lebanon assassination targeted potential PM, Kim Ghattas says

Strike on Syria market ‘kills 21’ 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – A Syrian government airstrike on a crowded market in the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least 20 people, activists say.

Romanian FM: Obama should intervene in Israeli-Palestinian talks 
Al-Monitor 13 Mar 2014 – Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean is doubtful about Israelis and Palestinians arriving to an agreement soon, unless US President Barack Obama intervenes.

Syria urged to help ship toxic arms 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – The global chemical weapons watchdog calls on Syria to “intensify its efforts” to help ship out its most dangerous chemical weapons for destruction.

Cairo campus torched amid protest 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – A student dies in Cairo as supporters of Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood clash with police and university buildings are set on fire.

Turkey: Gulen-Erdogan Conflict Deepens With Corruption Probe 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – People hold hoses to symbolize the siphoning of public funds by people close to the government as civil servants gather in central Ankara on December 28, 2013 to protest corruption and the government of the Turkish prime minister. (Photo: AFP – Adem Altan) People hold hoses…

Lines of the Game: Price to Pay for the Shatah Assassination 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – The assassination ought to increase pressure on the formation of a Lebanese government and a formula for a presidential agreement. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi) The assassination ought to increase pressure on the formation of a Lebanese government and a formula for a presidential agreement. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)…

Lebanon: Surviving the Starco Blast 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – The blast inflicted great damages on the region surrounding Starco Building in downtown Beirut. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi) The blast inflicted great damages on the region surrounding Starco Building in downtown Beirut. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi) Everyday, the Lebanese seem deprived of further space in their own country….

Future Movement and March 14: Hezbollah Killed Shatah 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – Lebanese policemen stand at the site of a powerful car bomb explosion on D
ecember 28, 2013 that rocked central Beirut the previous day. (Photo: AFP – Anwar Amro) Lebanese policemen stand at the site of a powerful car bomb explosion on December 28, 2013 that rocked…

Shatah Assassination: Who Will Benefit From the Accusations? 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – People attend a candle-light vigil at the site of a car bomb that targeted former finance minister, Mohamed Chatah, in Beirut on December 28, 2013. (Photo: AFP – Anwar Amro) People attend a candle-light vigil at the site of a car bomb that targeted former finance…

Iraq troops arrest MP in deadly raid 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – Iraqi forces have arrested an MP, killing his brother and five of his guards who had opened fire on the officers, police say.

Lebanon assassination targets potential prime minister 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – Lebanon assassination targeted potential PM, Kim Ghattas says

Strike on Syria market ‘kills 21’ 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – A Syrian government airstrike on a crowded market in the northern city of Aleppo has killed at least 20 people, activists say.

Ethiopian maid found hanging in South Lebanon 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – An Ethiopian maid was found hanging from an electrical cord outside her employer’s South Lebanon home in an apparent suicide, state news reported Saturday. The National News Agency identified the victim as Dimi Kash-Kalashou Kata. It published a disturbing image of the woman hanging by her…

Students torch Cairo university, one killed 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – A man stands outside a faculty building at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University after student supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood stormed it on December 28, 2013. (Photo: AFP – Khaled Kamel) Egyptian police shot a student dead Saturday at Cairo’s Al-Azhar university after Islamist students set fire to…

Death toll in Yemen shelling rises to 19, including four children 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – The death toll from the army’s shelling of a funeral tent erected by the Southern Movement at a school in Yemen has risen up to 19, including four children, medics said Saturday. Witnesses and southern activists had said two tanks shelled the tent in Sanah, 300…

Seventh victim dies from Beirut blast 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – A seventh victim succumbed to his wounds Saturday morning from the massive car bomb that killed former Finance Minister Mohammed Shattah in Beirut one day earlier. Lebanon’s National News Agency said Mohammed al-Shaar died from his injuries Saturday morning at the American University of Beirut Medical…

Iraqi forces arrest MP after killing his brother, five guards 
Al-Akhbar News 28 Dec 2013 – An member of the Sahwa, made up of former rebels who sided with US soldiers against al-Qaeda during Iraq’s brutal insurgency, stands guard at the entrance to a market close to the scene of a car bomb, in the Doura district of the capital Baghdad on…

VIDEO: Preparing to transport chemical weapons 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – The BBC’s Anna Holligan reports from the Norwegian war ship which is preparing to travel to Syria to remove chemical weapons, and explains the precautions that have been taken for the mission.

Party leaders unite for Syria appeal 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg issue a rare joint statement backing a £4bn United Nations appeal on behalf of Syrian refugees.

VIDEO: Life as a tailor in Baghdad 
BBC 28 Dec 2013 – The BBC has revisited some Baghdad residents, first interviewed three years ago, to see how life has changed – Abbas al Azzawi is a tailor in the capital.

Libya ‘frees’ US military personnel 
BBC 27 Dec 2013 – The Libyan authorities have released four American military personnel detained on Friday, US officials say.

Who Was Mohammed Shatah? 
Al-Akhbar Politics 27 Dec 2013 – In 2006 Shatah played a role in the negotiations that brought an end to Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon with the enactment of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. (Photo: Bilal Jawish). In 2006 Shatah played a role in the negotiations that brought an end to…

Saudi Preacher ‘Guides’ Syrian Druze to Wahhabi Salvation 
Al-Akhbar Politics 27 Dec 2013 – Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the Druze in Idlib have not borne arms on the side of the Syrian army, or formed local armed committees. (Photo: AFP). Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the Druze in Idlib have not borne arms on the…

10-Horse Race to Lebanon’s Presidential Palace 
Al-Akhbar Politics 27 Dec 2013 – President Suleiman visited Paris, aiming to get a definitive answer about the possibility of living in France at the end of his term and assuming the general secretariat of the Francophonie.(Photo: Marwan Tahtah). President Suleiman visited Paris, aiming to get a definitive answer about the possibility…

Articles


Apartheid in Palestine 
Sister Miriam Ward, Rutland Herald, VTJP News & Articles Links 12/19/2013
Around the time Nelson Mandela was released from his 27 years in prison (1990) and as President (1994) he was leading South Africa against apartheid on the path to reconciliation and peace. Ironically, Israel was putting in place its brand of apartheid. “Its brand” because apartheid in Israel is not identical to apartheid as practiced in South Africa. However there are many similarities.
Apartheid means “separation.” In South Africa apartheid entailed the deliberate segregation of people (black, white, colored, Indian) and a prohibition against “mixing”. It also meant the displacement of non-whites with the attendant theft of land and resources. The appropriate laws and infrastructure reinforced the separation.
Keeping in mind the key word is “separation,” there are two legal systems in Israel: one for Jews and the other for Palestinians. The legal system for Jews is manifested in the settlements infrastructure which contributes positively to a free society and supported by a military presence.
The legal system for Palestinians is one of restrictions on a population under a brutal military occupation. The permit system used against Palestinians is a stark reminder of the hated “Pass Laws” of South Africa apartheid. Permits control movement and every aspect of Palestinian life. Checkpoints control the flow of Palestinians trying to get to a job, school, or doctor.
Begun in 2002, the Wall is appropriately called the Separation Barrier. Others refer to it as the Apartheid wall. It claims to separate the Palestinians from the Israelis but in reality is also separating the Palestinians from other Palestinians. Bethlehem is totally surrounded by the six-foot wall, an open-air prison.
What is difficult for Westerners to grasp is that the psychological barrier is not new…. more.. e-mail

Congress Must Not Cede Its War Power to Israel 
Sheldon Richman, CounterPunch 12/27/2013
AIPAC’s Stranglehold
The American people should know that pending right now in Congress is a bipartisan bill that would virtually commit the United States to go to war against Iran if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic. “The bill outsources any decision about resort to military action to the government of Israel,” Columbia University Iran expert Gary Sick wrote to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in protest, one of the bill’s principal sponsors.
The mind boggles at the thought that Congress would let a foreign government decide when America goes to war, so here is the language (PDF):
If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people and existence.
This section is legally nonbinding, but given the clout of the bill’s chief supporter outside of Congress — the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC [PDF]), leader of the pro-Israel lobby — that is a mere formality.
Since AIPAC wants this bill passed, it follows that so does the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposes American negotiations with Iran and has repeatedly threatened to attack the Islamic Republic. Against all evidence, Netanyahu insists the purpose of Iran’s nuclear program is to build a weapon with which to attack Israel. Iran says its facilities, which are routinely inspected, are for peaceful civilian purposes: the generation of electricity and the production of medical isotopes. more.. e-mail

Five Years After the Cast Lead Operation: ‘Gaza Writes Back’ 
International Solidarity Movement 12/28/2013
Arabic Literature (in English), M. Lynx Qualey, Cairo, Egypt
It was five years ago that Cast Lead began. Now a book of short stories, Gaza Writes Back, marks the anniversary. The book’s editor, Refaat Alareer, answers questions about the collection: 
Five Years After the Cast Lead Operation: ‘Gaza Writes Back’ArabLit: How did the idea for this collection come abou
t? How did you put out the call for submissions? Did you tell the writers it was to commemorate Cast Lead?

Refaat Alareer: I’ve been teaching World Literature and Creative Writing at the Islamic University-Gaza (IUG), and at other Gaza training centres, ever since I finished my MA in Comparative Literature from UCL, UK in 2007. And I always had the idea of collecting the best pieces written by my students in a book. Going global became a necessity after the hateful Israeli Offensive of 2008-09. I met Helena Cobban in Gaza and threw the idea of a book of young talents into her lap, and later, thanks to Annie Robbins of Mondoweiss.net, Helena saw the potential in the project. In October 2012, Helena and I discussed a number of possible book projects and later decided a book of short fiction is the best place to start.
Since many of the writers are my own students (and friends), I contacted them and informed them of the idea of a book to mark the fifth anniversary of Cast Lead. We had a couple of fruitful workshops, and I took many of their suggestions into consideration. Later, I announced the project through Facebook, Twitter, local universities in Gaza, and personal contacts.
You should know that maybe only four stories were written in order to be submitted to the book. Many had already been written a year, two, or even three before I asked for submissions. But all pieces were written after the Cast Lead Operation. — See also: Gaza Writes Backmore.. e-mail

When the Unimaginable Happened 
Uri Avnery, CounterPunch 12/27/2013
Mandela: the Movie
I HAVE just seen the new movie “Mandela”, and I am so full of impressions that I cannot abstain from writing them down.
It is a very good film, with very good actors. But that’s not the main point. It is a very accurate film, depicting what actually happened in South Africa, and one cannot help thinking about it again and again.
What do I think?
IF ONE had asked any South African, black or white, some 35 years ago how the conflict would end, the answer would most probably have been: “It will not end. There is no solution.” That is exactly the answer one receives today In Israel and Palestine.
There could be no solution. The vast majority of black South Africans wanted freedom and black rule. The great majority of the Whites, both Boer and British, knew that once the Africans assumed power, the Whites would be slaughtered or driven out. No side could possibly back down.
Yet the incredible, the unimaginable, happened. The blacks won. A black president assumed power. The Whites were neither slaughtered nor evicted. Some say that they are today in many ways more powerful than the Blacks.
We have got used to this so thoroughly that we are not conscious anymore what a miracle it is.
When Algeria was freed, after a long and brutal war of liberation, more than a million “colons” fled for their lives. The huge exodus was not imposed…. more.. e-mail

Grim Horror Surrounding Our ‘Little Town of Bethlehem’
Palestine Chronicle: 28 Dec 2013 – By Stuart Littlewood London’s Christmas was made gloomier this year – and rightly so – by the appearance in the courtyard of St James’s Church, Piccadilly, of a replica of the hated Israeli annexation Wall that threads its thieving way around the Palestinian West Bank . It’s a life-size representation of the actual 8-metre high Wall surrounding Bethlehem and imprisoning its inhabitants. The project, called ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ is a response to a call from the united churches of the Holy Land pleading with churches and communities around the world to “help us get our freedom back”. The Israelis claim that the monstrous Wall, also known as the apartheid Wall, is to protect its citizens from terrorist attack. But in reality it is carefully routed to bite deep into Palestinian territory in order to steal choice agricultural land and water resources, as well as to seize strategic landscape and communication features and…more

Of Hunters and Policemen
Palestine Chroni
cle: 28 Dec 2013 – By Tamar Fleishman – Qalandiya, the West Bank There were no electricity for five days and no water in Qalandiya refugee camp, said Mahmud. “Just as it was at your place”, he said. I thought that is wasn’t exactly how it was at our place Mahmud, not exactly. The relics of the snow by the side of the wall made Marwan Barghouti, whose staring face appears on the wall, grow pale. Perhaps it was the brightness of the snow or it was all in the eyes of the beholder, but it seemed that on that day, as the date of the release of Palestinian political prisoners was approaching, Barghouti’s face, a man who rots in prison and who once might have been the one to lead the Palestinian people towards independence, is starting to vanish, to fade away from our consciousness and perhaps even from history. The hand of the…
more

Five Years of Brutality – Bequest of Cast Lead
Palestine Chronicle: 28 Dec 2013 – By Ibrahim Vawda – Johannesburg Many will spend the day recalling these moments in time five years ago that stunned the world. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what sears these moments into the mind’s eye. Perhaps it was the corpses that piled up on the streets of Gaza as the mortuaries overflowed. Perhaps it was the mountains of rubble left in the places that were once called ‘home’ by the people of Gaza. Perhaps it was the ferocity with which the might of the worlds most sophisticated armaments were brought to bear on the souls of a defenseless civilian population. What remains without question is that Gaza was never the same after Operation Cast Lead and neither would the lives of the 1.8 million people that were subjected to the bombardment. The plight of the Gazan population has been a tragedy that marks the current generation as failures. As…more

Gas, Oil, and Trouble in the Levant
Dissident Voice: 28 Dec 2013 – Israel is set to become a major exporter of gas and some oil, if all goes to plan. The giant Leviathan natural gas field, in the eastern Mediterranean, discovered in December 2010, is widely described as “off the coast of Israel.” At the time the gas field was : “… the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. Also involved is Perth, Australia-based Woodside Petroleum, which has signed a memorandum of understanding for a thirty percent stake in the project, in negotiations which have been described as “up and down.” There is currently speculation that Woodside might…more


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