Archive for May 31, 2012

Land Theft & Destruction / Restriction of Movement / Refugees

Jerusalem Municipality & Israeli Government Fund New Settlement Close to Al-Aqsa
The Jerusalem Municipality along with Israeli Ministry of Tourism are to jointly allocate 4 million NIS to fund the development of a new settlement project, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, south of al-Aqsa mosque.
link to www.imemc.org

Army Bulldozes Farmlands Near Hebron
On Tuesday Israeli soldiers bulldozed more than 30 Dunams (7.4 Acres) of Palestinian farmlands in al-Baq’a area, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and confiscated irrigation systems used by the local farmers.
link to www.imemc.org
Hizma, occupied Palestinian Territories—Around 12:30 AM on Tuesday 29 May 2012 upwards more than of 60 Israeli army soldiers raided the village of Hizma. Included within the greater East Jerusalem municipality, the village lies on the opposite (West Bank) side of Israel’s Apartheid Wall. With jeeps blocking all entrances and exits, the entire village was closed within minutes. The soldiers then split up into smaller units and went about their night’s task. The village’s three gas stations suffered the worst. Three gasoline pumps were extirpated and taken from Abdel Salam’s gas station. The soldiers then went around the side of the station and drained the main petrol tank, estimated to have held upwards of $25,000 (USD) worth of fuel. “Ten families survive off the money from this one gas station alone,” said Abdel Salam, “I really don’t know what will happen to us now.” Simultaneously, another group of soldiers went to work at the neighboring gas station, uprooting an additional two gas pumps. Muayad Al-Helo, an accountant for the station estimates each pump to have cost upwards of $7,000 (USD). Soldiers also reportedly pilfered a brand new air pump ($1,000), a variety of car supplies such as motor oil and cleaning products ($2,000), as well as all the equipment pertaining to the station’s makeshift car wash stand ($2,500).
 
Like the State of Israel, the Hamas education ministry doesn`t like it when Gazan youth go to the West Bank or overseas. And for good reason: Political and religious indoctrination ebbs when horizons open up. If Israel genuinely wanted to weaken Hamas rule, it would respect freedom of movement, which has been restricted since 1991.
link to www.haaretz.com 

Visualizing Palestine: Where the color of your license plate dictates which roads you can drive on, Adam Horowitz

 

Hamas refugee office slams Washington for reducing its aid for UNRWA
Director of the Hamas office for refugee affairs Isam Adwan denounced the US congress for making an amendment aimed at shrinking Washington’s financial support for the UNRWA.

 
The problem with banning the phrase “Israel firster” is that it is a neat summation of an important problem, and when people bar such phrases they are really trying to shut down the discourse. And in fact Zionists themselves have used the term Israel firster when it suited their meaning.

link to mondoweiss.net 


Siege on Gaza
Petitioner #5
Last Wednesday morning, for just under an hour, Israel’s High Court heard arguments about whether or not five women from Gaza should be able to travel to their studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank. In a watershed moment for Gisha, which has brought no less than three similar cases in its seven years of existence, and for the first time in 12 years since a ban on travel for students between Gaza and the West Bank began, the court actually instructed the state to reconsider its position. That is, reconsider it for four of the five women.
link to www.gazagateway.org
 
Gaza The United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority (UAERCA) has generously contributed around Dh3 million ($817,000) for food for the poorest refugees in Gaza. Over the last five years, the UAERCA offered Dh18.4 million in food assistance to Gaza Strip. The donation will support some of the most vulnerable Palestine refugee families requiring assistance under the Agency’s social safety net programme (SSNP). This programme targets refugee families most in need in UNRWA’s five fields of operation through providing food assistance, including baskets of essential commodities such as flour, rice, oil, sugar and milk.
link to gulfnews.com

Arab, Islamic relief convoy arrives in Gaza
An Arab-Islamic aid convoy arrived in Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening from Egypt through the Rafah border terminal carrying various relief material.

Invited to bid on Gaza infrastructure projects, does Israel stand to profit from their wanton destruction during the 2008-09 attacks?

link to electronicintifada.net 


Mavi Marmara 

Turkey Charges Israel Officers With Flotilla Murders, As Former Allies’ Alienation Deepens
On Monday, a Turkish court charged four Israeli military leaders with the deaths of nine activists who participated in the Gaza flotilla expedition in 2010. The four indicted senior members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) include Gabi Ashkenazi, formerly Israel’s military chief of staff, and three other prominent officers. A prosecutor in Istanbul has recommended nine consecutive life sentences for each official — one for every life lost. The 144-page indictment comes nearly two years after IDF forces, enforcing Israel’s blockade on Palestine’s Gaza strip, intercepted six boats traveling from Cyprus. The vessels were filled with activists determined to break the blockade.
link to www.ibtimes.com

Lieberman: Israel will not allow its officers to be terrorized by Turkey
Foreign Minister urges European nations to ‘put Turkey back in its place’ after a Turkish court charged four IDF officers for deaths of nine activists in 2010 Gaza flotilla.
link to www.haaretz.com

Gaza remembers the martyrs of the Mavi Marmara
In the memory of the crime of the occupied ship Marmara, for the second year the children of Gaza, wave the Turkish flag in the Port of Gaza. A press conference was held in which Palestinian leadership confirmed that the events of Marmara discouraged the world’s delay and shaped the critical period surrounding the blockade of Gaza. The blood of the Turkish martyrs created a true picture of the ugliness of the occupation and its crime against the Palestinians. It also showed the solidarity states that demand the increase of the blockade in Gaza as well as the continuation of restrictions of oppressed people who have been exhausted of their freedoms. Mohamed Kaeel, an official of the Turkish organisation IHH, confirmed that the Turkish will continue to support Palestinans with the Palestinian Issue and in breaking the blockade of Gaza. This points to the occupation after the ongoing crisis of needing to loosening some of the restrictions of expression and this leads to the complication that the world faces in its unjustified blockade.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Mavi Marmara indictments herald an end to Israeli impunity, Sarah Colborne
Turkey has indicted four Israeli commanders for their role in the killing of nine humanitarians aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship two years ago.
link to electronicintifada.net

Gaza’s ripple effect
Two years ago today, Israeli commandoes boarded the Mavi Marmara, part of an aid flotilla headed to Gaza, killing nine of the 40 activists on board. The relationship between Israel and Turkey, previously close regional allies, has never recovered. Even before the second anniversary of the attack, Turkey had announced that it was breaking off all high level diplomatic relations with its neighbour, kicked out Israel’s ambassador to Ankara and terminated the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) mission in Turkey. More seriously, Turkey now insists that its navy would not hesitate to engage the Israelis in international waters if it felt that its freedoms were being threatened.
link to www.thenational.ae

Violence / Aggression (Past, Present & Future)

1,456 Palestinian children shot dead by Israel since 2000
Coinciding with International Children’s Day on 1 June, figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Information show that 1,456 Palestinian children have been shot dead by Israelis since the Aqsa Uprising started in late 2000. The ministry pointed out that all Palestinian children are still subjected to constant abuse and attacks by Israeli occupation forces and illegal Jewish settlers across the occupied Palestinian territories. Dozens have been arrested by Israel in a campaign of harassment in the occupied West Bank.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk
 
Army Invades Gaza, Opens Fire At Farmers
A number of armored Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Wednesday afternoon, an area east of Az-Zeitoun neighborhood, south of Gaza City, and opened fire at a number of farmers working in their lands.
 

IOF incursion forces farmers to abandon their land
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided eastern Gaza city amidst intensified firing at farmers tending to their land, local sources said.

link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Jewish settlers assault Palestinian farmers
Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian farmers near Yatta, south of Al-Khalil, on Wednesday night, local sources said.

Right-wing attacks on Palestinians on the rise
A young Palestinian boy was attacked by a gang of right-wing Israeli extremists in Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan on Monday 28 May. A dozen Israelis targeted the child, with the situation escalating to physical attack when local residents rushed to the scene after hearing the boy’s cries for help. Reports were received of another attack on Tuesday morning, with a group of settlers scaling a Palestinian home in Wadi Hilweh while the owners were asleep to remove the Palestinian flag flying. Extremist attacks on Palestinians have risen sharply in recent months, with many assailants knowing that Israeli law enforcement’s bias in their favor allows them a high degree of impunity.

link to silwanic.net

Shin Bet Head: The Time to Attack Gaza is Now
ISA (Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet) Director Yoram Cohen told senior officials on Wednesday, that if Israel does not launch a military strike against Gaza at this time, Hamas will continue to fortify itself and the next conflict will be all the more difficult and costly. In his first appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee Cohen explained the dilemma. He stated that the problem is not launching a military offensive against terrorists in Gaza, but concerns surround the response and possibly having to order too many citizens into bomb shelters.
link to www.theyeshivaworld.com

Israel returns remains of Palestinians
Bodies of the 91 martyrs killed during attacks on Israel since 1967 brought to Ramallah in the West Bank.
link to www.aljazeera.com

Family plans daughter’s funeral 9 years after her death
JENIN (Ma’an) — After nine years of efforts to bring the body of their daughter home, Hiba Daraghmeh’s family on Thursday hoped to bury her next to her grandfather. Israeli authorities have agreed to return the bodies of 91 Palestinians whose remains it kept in unnamed graves in the “cemetery of numbers” just north of the West Bank city of Jericho. Hiba’s father Azem, in the northern West Bank town Tubas, told Ma’an of his joy when he learned his daughter’s body would be returned.  “I am finally going to bury her in Tubas soil next to her grandfather who loved her very much and waited for her body to return … though he died before he could see her.”
link to www.maannews.net

Illegal Arrests / Hunger Strike / Prisoner News

 

Israel: Palestinian’s Conviction Violates Freedom of Assembly
An Israeli military court’s conviction on May 20, 2012, of a Palestinian activist, Bassem Tamimi, of leading illegal demonstrations violates his right to freedom of assembly, while its conviction of him on a second charge of urging children to throw stones on the basis of a child’s coercively-obtained statement raises serious concerns about the fairness of his trial. The court sentenced Tamimi on May 29 to 13 months in prison, which he has already served, as well as a 17-month suspended sentence.
link to www.hrw.org

A Silwan Story: Palestinian Child Arrested, Abused by Israeli Authorities and Barred From Finishing 9th Grade
Someone is pounding on the door. It is 3:45 a.m. The pounding gets louder. The father goes to open the door, and immediately they enter: two men dressed in civilian clothes, flanked by police officers bearing heavy guns. They go straight towards the boy, who has pulled on a baggy sweatshirt and stepped out of his room, snake their hands under his arms, and take him. “He will only be gone for a few hours,” they say. “Don’t worry.” Outside the house, the boy’s hands are tied with plastic packaging bands and he is pushed into the police car. He does not understand much Hebrew, but he knows enough to understand the officer who leans close to him and whispers: “Fuck your mother.”
link to silwanic.net

IOF soldiers storm refugee camp, arrest student
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Fawar refugee camp at dawn Thursday and arrested 22-year-old student Sayyaf Abu Tuaima, eyewitnesses said.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Calls for Intervention in Arrests of Fishermen in Gaza
The General Union of Palestinian Workers in Gaza demanded that human rights organizations intervene immediately to stop attacks on Palestinian fishermen that occur every fishing season.
link to www.imemc.org

Israeli Citizen Fights for Palestinian Citizenship
An Israeli citizen has been imprisoned for trying to drop his Israeli citizenship and replace it with Palestinian citizenship. He said that he does not recognize Israeli courts and the Israeli government as they represent an illegal occupation.
link to www.imemc.org

Farwana: 215 children detained in the Israeli prisons
More than 75,000 Palestinians, including nearly 9,000 children and more than 900 women have been arrested by IOF since the Aqsa Intifada on 28 September 2000, revealed Abdul-Nasser Farwana.

link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Hamas mourns death of Lubada
Hamas has mourned the death of its official Zuhair Lubada who died Thursday morning in the hospital he was transferred to after his release from an Israeli jail a few days ago.

link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

The brother of one of two Palestinians prisoners still on hunger strike has urged him to cut a deal with Israeli authorities before he dies. Mahmoud Sarsak has been on hunger strike for 73 days and is in critical condition, according to the Palestinian prisoner’s rights group Addameer. Mahmoud, a 25-year-old professional footballer from Gaza, and Akram Al-Rikhawi (48 days) have continued to refuse food in protest at their detention without trial, despite a deal that ended a mass hunger strike in Israeli jails earlier this month. The two men refused to accept the deal because they do not trust Israeli authorities to carry out promises of better conditions.

Hunger strikers Sarsak, Rikhawi in critical condition
Detainees Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Al-Rikhawi are in a very serious condition after 76 and 49 days of hunger strike respectively.

 
For Mahmoud Sarsak, we call on students to join the protest at the Scotland v Israel football match, June 16th in Edinburgh
It is a disgrace and stain Scotland’s reputation that whilst a Palestinian footballer, held for years without charges or recourse to any trail, let alone a fair one, is dying on hunger strike, (72 days today) the SFA is gearing-up to host the Israeli women’s national team. Mahmoud Sarsak is reportedly now losing his sight, there will be no football for him on June 16th and no justice for his people. His father from the Israeli created prison that is Gaza has appealed to us to act to save his sons life and we must heed the call.
link to weareallhanashalabi.wordpress.com

Health status of prisoner suffering from cancer seriously worsens
Tadamun society said the Israeli jailers transferred the cancer patient Amer Baher from his cell in Beersheba jail to the hospital of Ramla prison after serious deterioration of his health status.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Occupation renews MPs’ administrative detention
Israeli occupation authority has renewed, on Wednesday, the administrative detention of the MP Abdel Rahman Zeidan for another six months one day before his due release.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

 
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli prison authorities are transferring detainees from Nafha prison to other jails, the PA Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said Wednesday.  Prison officials have started to transfer 395 prisoners from Gaza to various detention centers, the ministry said in a statement. Prisoners reject the move and say Israel is separating them as punishment for the recent mass hunger strike in Israeli jails, the ministry added.
 
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions 
 
4 Billion Reasons to Roll Up Our Sleeves
If it wasn’t enough that President Obama increased military aid to Israel to $3.1 billion in this year’s budget request while proposing major cuts for services to U.S. citizens such as a $360 billion cut over ten years in Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense earlier this month approved even more money for Israel. 
link to blog.endtheoccupation.org

Tonight: Conference Call on U.S. Military Aid
Join us for a conference call tonight, Thursday, May 31, at 9pm EST to learn more about U.S. military aid to Israel, and to hear from inspiring activists across the country about the creative things they are doing- from ad campaigns, to campaigns in city councils, political parties, religious institutions, and more- to educate and organize people for change.

link to blog.endtheoccupation.org

BDS roundup: Veolia contract spiked in The Hague
In this week’s roundup of BDS news from around the world: Another Veolia contract spiked; more countries implement or consider proper labeleing of Israeli settlement products; and more!
link to electronicintifada.net

 
Migros supermarket chain says it doesn’t support boycott calls by pro-Palestinian groups, but wants to let customers decide which products they want to buy

link to www.ynetnews.com 

 
Disruption of Israeli theater group in London, as BDS proves a win-win strategy, Asa Winstanley
Israel’s national theater company performed The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare’s Globe in London yesterday and Monday. But Habima’s presence was fiercely contested for months in advance, and both performances were disrupted by Palestine solidarity activists in the audience.
 
AOHR calls on Paris to cancel the Zionist participation in Eurosatory 2012
AOHR considered that the participation of the Zionist occupation army in Eurosatory 2012 in Paris as “a stain on the principles and ethics upon which the French Republic is based.”


Anti-Solidarity / Normalization
Israeli ‘peace camp’ reconvenes to receive free Madonna tix; Israeli anti-occupation activists say no, Adam Horowitz
Faced with calls to boycott Israel, Madonna sought to save face by turning her Tel Aviv performance tonight into a “peace concert.” Haaretz reports the singer “has donated 600 tickets to her show on Thursday in Tel Aviv to members of the Israeli and Palestinian peace camps, who are set to take part in a special tribunal on peace.” Hmm, who would take up an offer that is clearly meant to undercut the Palestinian civil society call for boycott?
link to mondoweiss.net

UAE Welcomes Madonna After Israeli Love Affair
Akka – Three years ago, Madonna gave a concert in Tel Aviv. The queen of pop donned the Israeli flag and exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be here… Israel is a source of strength and inspiration in the world.” Her words dealt a blow to all the Palestinians and Arabs who had protested against the concert going ahead. Today, the American singer and director (b.1958) returns to “Israel,” once again paying no heed to the calls asking her to boycott Israel. She arrived in occupied Jerusalem accompanied by her three children and her boyfriend, the Algerian French dancer Ibrahim Zibat. This visit is part of a Middle Eastern tour that includes a concert tomorrow in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and two concerts in Abu Dhabi (June 3 and 4).
link to english.al-akhbar.com

 

With less than two full days until a Jewish educational workshop on Palestinian nonviolent movements planned for May 27th at 3pm, the 14th Street Y, a Jewish community space, has pulled the plug. In a phone call made to Liza Behrendt of Young, Jewish, and Proud (YJP) on Friday night, Executive Director Steven Hazan Arnoff cancelled the event and refused to reschedule, although YJP had signed a contract and rented space months before.  Event organizers have chosen to move forward with the event and plan to meet as scheduled, in front of the 14th Street Y.
 
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
 

Case dropped against authors, endorsers of gentile-killing manual, Yossi Gurvitz
Israel’s attorney general decided to drop the case against racist book “Torat Ha’Melech” – since its racism was couched in religious terms. The prosecution, backed by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, announced Monday that it is dropping the case against rabbis Yizhak Shapira, Yoseph Elizur, Dov Lior and Yizhak Ginzburg. The first two wrote a book called “Torat Ha’Melech” (The King’s Bible) two years ago. It is a religious treatise on the killing of gentiles – that is, when a Jew is permitted to kill a non-Jew. Lior and Ginzburg endorsed the book. It is worth noting that all four rabbis are state employees and belong to a state-funded yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

link to 972mag.com

They won’t even get a slap on the wrist from the Israeli injustice system: 11 teens charged with beating foreigners
Teens allegedly robbed, assaulted migrants from Sudan and Eritrea; State Prosecutor says attacks racially motivated.

link to www.ynetnews.com

Prime minister discusses various threats to national security, claims infiltrator problem will be solved, but not in ‘one stroke’; calls on foreign powers to halt Iranian nuclear program.

 

Kadima MK: Send human rights activists to prison camps
During House Committee debate on illegal African migrants, MK Shamalov Berkovich says some leftists would ‘gladly transfer settlers, haredim and keep infiltrators here’.

 

Sudanese housekeeper nearly ‘lynched’ in Eilat
Ynet 29 May —  Abdullah Abuya, 40, from Darfur, is lying beaten and injured in his house in Eilat, after he was allegedly attacked by seven young guests at the Club Hotel where he works. “It happened last Saturday,” Abuya told Ynet on Tuesday. “At 7 pm I was asked to deliver towels and soap to one of the rooms. While I was in the hallway, two men stopped me and asked me to give them the towels. I told them that they were reserved for other guests, and that they can call the front desk and ask for whatever they needed. In response, the two attacked me with their fists,” Abuya recalled, adding that after he fell on the floor, “five of their friends joined them and they all beat me together…” According to Abuya, many hotel guest witnessed the attack, which lasted more than 10 minutes, but did nothing to stop the assailants. 
link to www.ynetnews.com

Dozens in south Tel Aviv call for the deportation of African migrant workers; ‘the black presence is intimidating,” says victim.

link to www.haaretz.com 

 

Second anti-migrant protest sparks tension in south TA
Anti-migrant activists are again urging government to deport African infiltrators. An Israeli of Ethiopian descent was mistaken for an infiltrator and got hit. But there are voices of sanity: ‘I’m here to protest policy and make sure it doesn’t end in violence,’ one demonstrator says.

 
New developments have occurred since my last post about the treatment of African asylum seekers and illegal migrant workers in Israel. Interior Minister Eli Yishai has announced his intention to impose fines against the mayors of Israeli cities employing migrant workers. Referring to these individuals as “infiltrators,” Yishai’s feelings toward Israel’s migrant labor force have been very clear from the start: “We will also start to enforce this so that they do not employ infiltrators. They will employ Israelis instead, the place of infiltrators is in the countries that they came from.”

 

South Tel Aviv stories: ‘I left Sudan due to war and I’m still in a war’, Mya Guarnieri
Sudanese refugee Abraham Alu saw his parents killed by militiamen when he was just seven years old. He discusses life in Israel and how he ended up here. The latest installment of the South Tel Aviv Stories. Abraham Alu, a 35-year-old refugee from what is now South Sudan, was on his way to the store last Wednesday night when an anti-African protest in south Tel Aviv turned violent. Jewish Israelis chased and beat African asylum seekers, broke the windows of a car full of African men, and smashed storefronts of African-owned stores in south Tel Aviv.

 

ISRAEL: Abraham Alu, “We have to move… but there’s nowhere to go”
TEL AVIV 30 May 2012 (IRIN) – Abraham Alu, a 35-year-old South Sudanese is one of roughly 60,000 African asylum seekers in Israel. He lives in south Tel Aviv where rents are cheap, does odd jobs and scrapes by, but feels constantly threatened.

link to www.irinnews.org

Israel is the most naive and racist country in the West, Gideon Levy
Racist, because in no other country can politicians make remarks about migrants as they do here and still remain in office another day; naive, because only now has Israel discovered the problem that has been facing the “first world” for years. Only in Israel can a parliamentarian from the ruling party describe the migrants as a “cancer,” and, far worse, it is only in Israel that she could do so knowing that her contemptible racism would merely gain her support.

Jews, Apes and African Refugees, Richard Silverstein
In reading below it’s also important to note that these very Israeli racist demagogues have proposed creating concentration camps in which the Africans would be incarcerated.  Vichy France did something similar to its Jews, though they ended up being transferred to extermination camps and killed.  A fate that will never befall Israel’s Africans.  They could, however, be expelled back into the Sinai wilderness only to wander there for forty years like Moses and the Israelites till they find a way back to the hell holes they escaped in Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia.
link to www.richardsilverstein.com

Developments / Other News

Israel believes US-Jordan aid cut could lead to instability
Media sources in Israel have revealed that the government in Tel Aviv is opposed to any cut in aid from the US to Jordan, fearing that it could lead to instability in the regime in Amman. The concerns have been raised as the US considers such action in order to put pressure on Jordan to send a new ambassador to Israel. “Israel does not want the intervention of the United States to put pressure on Jordan to return its ambassador to Tel Aviv,” officials told the Jerusalem Post. The anonymous officials pointed out that bilateral relations with Jordan in security and intelligence are good, even though the absence of an ambassador from Amman “is not a good sign”.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Hahaha: Israel says Hamas as strong as Hezbollah
The Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has an armed force to rival that of Israel’s Lebanese foe Hezbollah, the head of the Shin Bet security service said on Wednesday.
link to news.yahoo.com

 
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s defense minister said Wednesday that his government may consider “unilateral action” if peace talks remain at a standstill, in remarks that puzzled Palestinian leaders. Ehud Barak’s suggestion at a security conference that Israel should “consider a provisional arrangement or even unilateral action” if negotiations remain deadlocked, did not go unnoticed in Ramallah.  According to one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, the West Bank leadership is “studying the situation” to judge if the remarks reflected a real shift or only internal political rhetoric. 

 
Comment by chief Abbas aide comes after Defense Minister Barak says Israel should weigh such a move if talks fail; Gideon Sa’ar: Barak doesn’t represent government’s view.

 
Despite changes to ‘war crimes’ law in Britain, Maj. Gen. Doron Almog cancels trip on Jerusalem’s advice.

link to www.haaretz.com  

 

President Joachim Gauck Visits Israel and Ramallah
A meeting is scheduled between the new German President, Joachim Gauck and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Prime Minister, Dr. Salam Fayyad, in Ramallah on Thursday to discuss the latest political negotiations and developments.

Israel to try reporter over leaked army documents
Israel’s attorney general has decided to put a journalist on trial over secret military documents he received from a former soldier who is now in prison for spying, the justice ministry said on Wednesday.
link to news.yahoo.com
 
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Over one-fifth of adult Palestinians smoke, a study released Wednesday said, on the day before international No Tobacco Day. Smoking is more common in the West Bank, at 26.9 percent, compared with the Gaza Strip, at 14.6 percent, the report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and the PA Ministry of Health said. The highest percentage of smokers is found in the Jenin governorate, at 32.2 percent, and the lowest percentage is in the north Gaza governorate, at 11.3 percent, the study said.

link to www.maannews.net 

Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest

The State Department is breaking US law by continuing to fund the Israeli military despite the human rights violations documented in its own annual report.
 

I was just reading a 2007 interviewSheldon Adelson gave to the Kahanist Jewish Press.  In it, he rejects the idea of a two-state solution, which is not news.  But the rejection of any rights for the Palestinian people, and his imputation of genocidal intentions to the Palestinians raises the question: how would Adelson resolve the conflict?  In fact, I wonder whether any interviewer has asked him.  If not, they should.  Because the passage below is friggin’ scary: “There won’t be a two-state solution; there won’t be a one-state solution. The Palestinians want a “no state solution” for the Jews. They don’t want Jews at all. So all of this balagan about the settlements – it’s not about the settlements. It’s something to delay having to sit down and negotiate over a table that will have to lead to a conclusion that they will never agree to. They will have to agree that this is the end of the conflict and they will have to surrender what they call their “right of return to Israel proper.” They will never do either of those things. They don’t want the Jews or any other religion to be alive, so how are they going to get to the point of peace? There isn’t a Palestinian alive who wasn’t raised on a curriculum of hatred and hostility toward the Jews. So how can you talk about giving up land? They publicly acknowledge that they have a multi-phased program. They’ll do it in steps: They’ll take the West Bank, then they’ll take a piece of the Galilee, and piece by piece they’ll want the rest of the land of Israel. There’s no chance for peace, and the settlements are just a red herring issue.

 
A proper hiking guide to “off-the-beaten-track” routes in the West Bank offers excellent practical information but ignores the political reality that has changed Palestine’s physical landscape.

link to electronicintifada.net

Facebook Bans Israeli Graphic Artist for Biting Political Cartoons, Richard Silverstein
Looks like the folks at Facebook have more to worry about than their plummeting stock price (off 28% since the IPO last week).  In recent days, Facebook suspended the account of the Israeli graphic artist, Mysh, about whom I wrote a post a few days ago.  It seems that some of the brilliant political graphics I praised in that post must’ve offended the delicate sensibilities of the pro-Israel crowd.  I’m guessing there was a movement to complain about the images.  And Facebook’s nanny patrol took a look at them and agreed.  At least three images have been removed from Facebook and Mysh’s account was suspended for 24 hours as “punishment” for being such a bad boy and saying such mean things (and referencing the Holocuast) about the Israeli pogromists who assaulted African refugees in Tel Aviv a few days ago.

A Bipartisan Assault on Middle East Peace, Stephen Zunes
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a dangerous piece of legislation, H.R. 4133, which would undermine the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, weaken Israeli moderates and peace advocates, undercut international law, further militarize the Middle East, and make Israel ever more dependent on the United States. The margin was an overwhelming 411-2, with eight abstentions.
link to original.antiwar.com
 
Another sign of the burgeoning discourse: ‘Wired’ has a piece up about Flame, the “state-run” malware that is infecting computers in Iran and across the Middle East. The piece fingers Israel as a likely source of the software, but only mentions Israel twice. Not so the commenters. There are about 300 comments on the post, and judging from the first 100, almost every one is about Israel, with most of the commenters pretty angry about Israel’s conduct. Their attitudes reflect the new Israeli brand, rogue state. Some excerpts.

 

Hammam al-Samra: Gaza’s Watering Hole, Taghrid Atallah

Although it is more than 800 years old, Hammam al-Samra bath house continues to pulse with life in the heart of Gaza. The Hammam (bath) is always bustling with men and women who converge in this place for different reasons. Some come for relaxing hot baths, massage therapy, to take a regular bath, or just to visit the site as a historic landmark. The 500-square-meter Hammam is located in the middle of al-Zaitoun neighborhood in central Gaza. It is designed in a way to facilitate easy movement from hot, to warm, to cold halls, ensuring that visitors don’t catch a cold. Each hall is covered with a colored-glass dome allowing the sun’s rays to stream in, creating a natural and vibrant light. The floors are covered with marble squares and triangles, beautifully merging with the general architecture of the bath house.
 

Obama At Large: Where Are The Lawyers?, Ralph Nader
The rule of law is rapidly breaking down at the top levels of our government. As officers of the court, we have sworn to ‘support the Constitution,’ which clearly implies an affirmative commitment on our part. Take the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The conservative American Bar Association sent three white papers to President Bush describing his continual unconstitutional policies. Then and now civil liberties groups and a few law professors, such as the stalwart David Cole of Georgetown University and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, have distinguished themselves in calling out both presidents for such violations and the necessity for enforcing the rule of law.

link to palestinechronicle.com

Outraged Over Atrocities (Unless They’re Ours), John LaForge
In the war fever being ramped up against Syria, there is broad public indignation over the massacre of more than 100 civilians in the town of Houla last weekend. Would that the U.S. diplomatic corps and the commercial press were equally outraged over our own military’s atrocities. While details of the Syrian massacre are unclear and still subject to dispute, Canada, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Australia, Germany, Spain and the United States have expelled Syrian diplomats in protest. The State Department called the rampage “despicable” and complained about a regime that could “connive in or organize” such a thing. The department was silent on the U.S. killing four years ago of just as many Afghan civilians, including 60 children, in Azizabad. A draft UN Security Council press statement said about the Aug. 22, 2008 bombing that member nations “strongly deplore the fact that this is not the first incident of this kind” and that “the killing and maiming of civilians is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.” The crime wasn’t decried as a “massacre” by our foreign office which finds it easier to denounce indiscriminate attacks when the enemy du jour stands accused.

Bahrain
Abdulhadi AlKhawaja’s statement about ending his hunger strike
Internationally prominent Human Rights, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, announced today that he is ending his 110 days hunger strike this evening. Alkhawaja informed his family that in spite of not succeeding in achieving the main demand of his hunger strike: “freedom or death”, he was still able to achieve his overall goal of shedding light on the ongoing human rights situation in Bahrain. Throughout his hunger strike, which began on the 9th of February he was able to assist activists both inside and outside Bahrain to bring attention to the continuous human rights violations and the situation of the political detainees, this was the ultimate goal.
link to bahrainrights.hopto.org

Out of Jail, Bahraini Activists Nabeel Rajab and Zainab Alkhawaja Urge End to U.S.-Backed Crackdown
We go to Bahrain to speak with two recently released political prisoners, Zainab Alkhawaja and Nabeel Rajab, both jailed for protesting the U.S.-backed monarchy. Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was released on bail after being held for nearly a month. “We always thought that America and Bahrain’s good relations would benefit our fight for freedom and democracy in our region, but it has turned out to be opposite,” he says. “They are supporting a dictator here, the oppressive regime… We have to suffer for being a rich region.” Alkhawaja, who was jailed in April after protesting the detention of her father, Abdulhadi, vows: “We are going to carry on protesting … It doesn’t matter if we get arrested five, six, 10 times, it’s not going to stop. In the end, we have sacrificed a lot for democracy and freedom.”
link to www.democracynow.org

Bahrain’s War on Doctors: Tortured Neurosurgeon Faces Trial For Treating Injured Protesters (video)
In this Democracy Now! video interview, Nabeel Hameed, one of three neurosurgeons in Bahrain, speaks on the human rights situation in Bahrain.  Dr. Hameed is one of the Bahraini physicians and nurses who were arrested and tried for treating anti-government protesters during the crack downs in February 2011.   After his arrest, he was tortured and imprisoned for three months.  He and the other Bahraini medical professionals charged with various offenses in connection with treating the injured await trial in the Bahraini courts.
link to bahraincoordinatingcommittee.org

Bahraini opposition leaders ‘tortured’ in detention
Two Bahraini opposition leaders and human rights activists have said they have been tortured during their detention in the country’s prisons. In an appeals court on Tuesday, Hassan Mushaima and Abduljalil al-Singace made the complaint to the civilian court on the first day of their retrial. A military court has sentenced the two activists to long prison terms for their role in Bahrain’s revolution. Thirteen defendants, seven of whom face life terms, are being retried in a civil appeals court. Prominent rights activists Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who ended his 110-day hunger strike on Monday, is also among the defendants. Khawaja did not appear in court because of poor health.The next court session is scheduled on June 5. The kingdom has been the scene of anti-regime demonstrations since February 2011. Scores of people have been killed and many others have been arrested during the revolution.
link to www.presstv.ir

Bahraini Activists Abused for Role in UN Human Rights Review
Bahrain’s opposition delegates who attended the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations office in Geneva faced a huge backlash after criticising the country’s “deplorable human rights record”.
link to www.ibtimes.co.uk
 
Bahrain urged to free remaining prisoners of conscience
Bahrain must immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said after a court in the capital Manama let the prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab out on bail on Monday. The Bahraini authorities have banned Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, from travelling abroad and he is due to return to court in June on charges related to his activism – which Amnesty International says should be dropped. Also on Monday, jailed human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja ended a 110-day hunger strike. Al-Khawaja and 12 other opposition leaders remain behind bars on charges related to their roles in peaceful pro-reform protests in 2011. Amnesty International considers all of them to be prisoners of conscience. “The ongoing detention and trials of these prisoners of conscience shows that behind Bahrain’s thin veneer of reform, little has changed in practice and the human rights crisis is far from over,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director. “The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all remaining prisoners of conscience, drop the charges against those awaiting trial for peaceful protest and lift the travel ban on Nabeel Rajab.”
link to www.amnesty.org

Bahraini activists ask appeals court for freedom
The two Bahraini opposition activists Hasan Musheime and Abdel Jalil Al-Sankis say they were ‘tortured’ in detention and called on the judge to release them as they face charge of plotting to overthrow the Sunni monarchy
link to english.ahram.org.eg

BCHR calls on international community to keep attention on Bahrain
(BCHR/IFEX) – London/Geneva, 25 May 2012 – UN member states expressed strong concerns over Bahrain’s human rights record during the second cycle of their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on Tuesday. States issued a total of 176 recommendations, a marked improvement from the 9 recommendations issued by states when Bahrain was the first state chosen for review in the first cycle in 2008. This indicates that states are taking the UPR process more seriously and know they cannot let Bahrain’s human rights abuses pass without censure.
link to www.ifex.org

Bahrain protesters call U.S. ‘great satan’
MANAMA, Bahrain, May 28 (UPI) — Shiite demonstrators in Bahrain have turned their anger toward the United States amid calls demanding the end of the Sunni-led monarchy in their country. Shiites protesting in Manama Sunday cried out the slogan of Iran’s late leader Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, “America the great satan,” the Bahrain News Agency reported Monday. The protesters claim the White House is backing the Sunni monarchy and destroying all hope for real reforms, the news agency said. Banners at the demonstration said: “[U.S. President Barack] Obama supports the killers, not democracy and freedom” and “U.S. interests come before our freedom.”
link to m.upi.com

Egypt

Rights group requests investigation into Morsy’s statements ‘against Copts’
The Egyptian Center for Human Rights has requested that the attorney general investigate statements of Mohamed Morsy and other leaders of the Freedom and Justice Party and the Muslim Brotherhood that accused the Copts of betraying the revolution by voting for Ahmed Shafiq. Before the election, the church had announced that it was impartial toward all presidential candidates.
The center considers Morsy’s statement an irresponsible act that fuels sectarianism in society, saying that Coptic votes were distributed among Shafiq, Amr Moussa, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, despite their different orientations.
link to www.egyptindependent.com

April 6 Youth Movement works to build national coalition against Shafiq
The April 6 Youth Movement called Wednesday on national players and presidential hopefuls who didn’t make the runoff to join a  coalition against the “counter-revolution” and prevent the Mubarak regime from being reproduced. The movement is holding meetings to form the coalition to block the revival of the collapsed regime through “rigged elections,” Ahmed Maher, a founder of the movement, said in a statement. Maher warned that any “dissent to consensus and the coalition will harm the entire country,” stressing that the Muslim Brotherhood has a great opportunity to show a sign of goodwill, but must partner with everybody. Maher extended the call to former hopefuls Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, as well as Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy, who is competing in the runoff with former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.
link to www.egyptindependent.com

Egypt Islamist candidate vows break with old ways
The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for the Egyptian presidential runoff promised Tuesday he would break sharply with the ways of ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak, a day after angry protesters burned down the headquarters of his challenger who served as prime minister in the old regime.
link to news.yahoo.com

Egypt’s notorious emergency law lapses
Egypt’s notorious emergency law, in force since 1981, has lapsed at the end of a two-year extension passed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s parliament.
link to news.yahoo.com

Mubarak’s sons face fresh charges
Gamal and Alaa Mubarak charged with making unlawful profits through dealings in shares in Al Watany Bank of Egypt.
link to www.aljazeera.com

Saudi ambassador denies crown prince visited Mubarak
Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmed al-Qattan on Tuesday denied reports printed in an Egyptian newspaper that Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz visited former President Hosni Mubarak in the medical center where he is detained.
The independent Al-Watan daily, which is owned by Mohamed Amin and edited by Magdy el-Gallad, had said that certain dignitaries and Arab leaders, including the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, and the Saudi crown prince visited Mubarak.

link to www.egyptindependent.com

Egypt on edge before verdict in Mubarak trial
CAIRO (Reuters) — Egyptians could hardly believe their eyes when Hosni Mubarak went on trial for complicity over the killing of protesters last year, but those who toppled him doubt Saturday’s verdict will deliver justice for the almost 850 who died. Still less will it deal with the legacy of an autocratic ruler who ran a police state that rode roughshod over human rights for 30 years until popular frustration exploded. “Justice will not be achieved,” said Ahmed el-Fekky, who was blinded in his left eye during the protests against Mubarak.
link to www.maannews.net

A day in the life of Hosni Mubarak behind bars
One of the most striking incidents mentioned in the report was when a nurse was talking to her co-worker in a loud voice and the former president’s wife Suzanne told her, “If you raise your voice again, I will chop off your head.” The nurse replied, “I haven’t done anything wrong for you to threaten me like this.” Suzanne was infuriated at the nurse talking back and slapped her on the face. The nurse started screaming and Mubarak’s guards hurried to investigate the matter. After they checked, one of the officers told Suzanne, “Please calm down, Madam. Don’t forget that things are not the way they were before.”
link to english.alarabiya.net

The Lede Blog: Despite a Frustrating Election, One Young Egyptian Remains Hopeful
For relatives and friends in the reporter Mayy el-Sheikh’s world, the recent first-round results of the landmark election in Egypt — which produced a two-way run-off — emotions ran the gamut from optimism to despair, and from hilarious to depressing.
link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

The Lede Blog: A YouTube Appeal to Egypt’s Diaspora From the Muslim Brother Who Would Be President
Readers who are curious about the Egyptian presidential candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood but are hampered by their lack of Arabic can get a sense of the man by watching a video message he recorded in English, appealing for the support of the Egyptian diaspora.
link to feeds.nytimes.com

Inside Story – Is Egypt’s revolution under threat?
Two men. One post. An unhappy nation. Protests have followed the first round of Egypt’s presidential election. The race is now down to two men — Ahmad Shafiq and Mohammed Morsi. It appears that Egyptians have a stark choice between a former military man with links to a regime they fought so hard to remove and a candidate whose message appeals to the devout, but who makes some of the country’s 82 million people uneasy. So what does this mean for the Egyptian revolution? Guests: Ahmed Naguib, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Rami Khouri.
link to www.youtube.com

 
Iran
 

US troops imitate invasion of Iran with Arab allies

Around 12,000 troops from more than 19 nations are wrapping up a massive military training drill in the Middle East. But for some of those servicemen, these exercises might be just the beginning of something much bigger to come 

Israeli continued warmongering, for more see Syria section: Israeli premier: World powers too soft on Iran
World powers are being too soft over Iran’s nuclear program by only asking an end to low grade enrichment, Israel’s prime minister said Tuesday, charging that Tehran is proceeding to develop atomic weapons.
link to news.yahoo.com
Iraq

Bomb attacks in Iraq kill 18 people, wound 53
Bombs exploded at a crowded Baghdad restaurant and a near police patrol Thursday, among attacks that killed at least 18 people and wounded 53 in Iraq’s bloodiest day in more than a month, police and hospital medics said.
link to news.yahoo.com

Iraq president rebuffs move to unseat premier
Lawmakers say a broad alliance of political opponents of the Iraqi prime minister has failed to persuade the country’s president to take a first step toward unseating the premier.
link to news.yahoo.com

Iraqi police to take over Baghdad security
Iraqi police will take over responsibility for security in Baghdad from the army from July, a statement said on Tuesday, a move that has been delayed several times over concerns over their capabilities.
link to english.alarabiya.net

Saddam Hussein’s daughter plans to publish his memoirs
One of Saddam Hussein’s daughters is looking for a publishing house to release her father’s handwritten memoirs.
link to news.yahoo.com

Tareq Aziz: A Son’s Plea, Felicity Arbuthnot
Iraq’s former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Tareq Aziz, (76) who largely ignored his already ailing health before the illegal 2003 invasion of his country in order to travel and argue eloquently against the embargo’s crippling toll on the population, and later attempt to avert invasion, has now been imprisoned – in the country he loves and for which he fought verbally with passion and tenacity – for nine years. His son Ziad, who with his family, in addition to the pain of his father’s incarceration, now bears the burden of exile, has fought tenaciously for his father’s release, but very rarely speaks publicly of the family’s ongoing grief at his plight. It is a measure of his fears for Tareq Aziz that he has sent a letter, expressing deep fear and concern for his father following his family’s visit to Iraq to see him, to a group affiliated with the Brussels Tribunal including human rights, legal, medical organizations, asking for all possible assistance in resolving the situation.
link to dissidentvoice.org

Lebanon

Lebanese Abductees between Miqati, Raad and Turkish Ambassador
Turkish envoy says Ankara hasn’t stopped its mediations in the case of the abductees and was doing its best to facilitate their release.
link to www.almanar.com.lb

Al-Qaeda in Lebanon: Murmurs of Assassinations
Lebanese security agencies have strong evidence that al-Qaeda has been planning to target high level political and religious figures – including the speaker of parliament – with the aim of provoking sectarian strife.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Exclusive: Veteran Lebanese fighter trains new generation of jihadis – for Syria
Longtime fighter Mustapha explains to the first Western reporter to visit his Bekaa Valley orchard camp how he is preparing eager Lebanese to take up arms against the Assad regime.
link to rss.csmonitor.com

To Hell With the Silent Majority
These are difficult days for the Lebanese. Nobody is standing on solid ground. Everyone behaves as though they know best about the ins and outs of the current situation. There’s no place for the unassuming. Every individual, group and faction believes it possesses the immutable truth, and that the others must either accept and yield to their views or be demonized.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Saudi Arabia

Dennis Ross: Saudi king vowed to obtain nuclear bomb after Iran
Former U.S. official publicly confirms Saudi pledge, which would destroy nuclear non-proliferation regime.
link to www.haaretz.com

Saudi backtracks on mixed sex working places
A Saudi court overturned on Wednesday provisions of a labor ministry circular that allowed saleswomen to work alongside men in shops, a lawyer told AFP. The court in Riyadh “abolished part of the decision by the ministry of labor which allowed shop owners to employ men and women in the same place,” based on a law suit filed by businessman, lawyer Mohammed al-Zamel told AFP. Zamel said the ministry had misinterpreted a 2011 royal decree in which King Abdullah limited work in lingerie shops to women only.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

10 voices for change in Saudi Arabia
From a conservative sheikh to a pioneering female pediatrician, these are just a few of Saudis who are vocally advocating for change in their country.
link to rss.csmonitor.com

Syria 

Half a million displaced in Syria; refugee numbers rise: U.N.
GENEVA (Reuters) – The estimated number of internally displaced Syrians has more than doubled to 500,000 since an April 12 ceasefire and the flow of refugees abroad has gathered pace again, U.N. officials said on Tuesday. The number of internally displaced people, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent estimate given to the U.N., was about 200,000 before the peace deal which both sides have broken. The number of refugees being assisted by the U.N.
link to news.yahoo.com

UN chief warns Syria; regime again shells Houla
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Syria on Thursday to stop its attacks, saying the U.N. observers monitoring the cease-fire were not there to watch the killing of innocent people. The warning came as activists reported that Syrian troops again shelled the country’s central region of Houla where more than 100 people were massacred last week.
link to news.yahoo.com

Troops and rebels clash, 39 killed in Syria: NGO
Fierce fighting erupted on Wednesday between regime troops and rebels near Damascus and in Homs province, a watchdog said, while reporting 39 more people killed across Syria.
link to news.yahoo.com

UN observers in Syria discover 13 bound corpses
U.N. observers have discovered 13 bound corpses in eastern Syria, many of them apparently shot execution-style, the monitoring mission said Wednesday.
link to news.yahoo.com

 
Bassel Shehade: Syria’s Motorcycle Diarist
Twenty-eight year old Bassel Shehade was shot dead in Homs on Monday night. The young filmmaker had left the comforts of campus college life to document events in his homeland.
link to english.al-akhbar.com 

Syracuse University Filmmaker Killed in Syria
A Syrian filmmaker, who took a leave of absence from a fine arts degree program at Syracuse University to cover the carnage in his native country, was killed while filming in the war-ravaged city of Homs, the university’s chancellor said.
link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

 
UN: Children killed in Syria attack were executed
The U.N. human rights office says the global body’s investigators have concluded that children were among almost 90 people summarily executed in the Syrian area of Houla on Friday. 
 
The searing grief of Houla’s survivors
At the first signs of human life in rebel territory loud shouts of “freedom, freedom, freedom”, v-signs for victory and by the time we had managed to get out of our van we were completely mobbed by people shouting and crying in a mixture of relief, shock and anger. At once we were pulled physically from house to house by people desperate to get their story to the outside world. Within minutes we meet 25-year-old Younis, lying in a room with two gunshot wounds in his torso. He’s telling us, weakly, how he was trying to help an 11-year-old boy on Friday when he was injured. The boy was shot dead. A 15-year-old girl lies on another bed not 10 yards away describing how she witnessed the Shabiya militia crouching behind a window as she tried to flee. She too was shot. Abdul Bari, 30, describes how he came by blast wounds during the protest after prayers on Friday. Whether we like it or not we were pretty much dragged onto the streets again. On one hand an 8-year old boy shot in the arm, next to him a man showing us video on his telephone of two children, their throats slit so deeply they are virtually decapitated.
link to blogs.channel4.com

11-year-old played dead to survive Syria massacre
When the gunmen began to slaughter his family, 11-year-old Ali el-Sayed says he fell to the floor of his home, soaking his clothes with his brother’s blood to fool the killers into thinking he was already dead.
link to news.yahoo.com

 

On Hula: this is insanity: can it get more crazier than this, and more dumb?, As’ad AbuKhalil
This is what a Western reporter is posting on Twitter (and it was circulated by Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashuqji–I am told):  “Exclusive Houla: Lots of people report killers had Shia slogans written on their foreheads. ‪#C4news”.   Did they also chant “Long Live Ali Ibn Talib” on the way out?  Can the propaganda be less dumb so that we don’t laugh at it?

link to angryarab.blogspot.com

Some Questions on the Houla Massacre…and Beyond, As’ad AbuKhalil
It is not known who perpetrated the Houla massacre. It is certain though that both sides (the Syrian regime army and the gangs operating under the banner of the Free Syrian Army) have a record of brutality and disregard for human lives to qualify them to do the job. What is certain is that Houla was a propaganda blitz that dominated Western as well as Arab (Saudi-funded and Qatari-funded) media. The romanticizing of the so-called “Syrian Revolution” (the deeds of the Free Syrian Army and Syrian National Council and the Muslim Brotherhood deserve the label of revolution as much as George W. Bush deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and as much as Bashar Assad deserves to serve as president of Syria) clashes with the actual record of the armed groups operating under the umbrella of the FSA.

link to english.al-akhbar.com

Syria Releases 500 Crisis Prisoners
Syria released Thursday 500 detainees who were arrested during the 15-month crisis and not involved in homicide acts.
link to www.almanar.com.lb

Another Lebanese man kidnapped on Syrian border
Updated 4:36pm: Another Lebanese man was kidnapped on the Syrian border on Thursday, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported, after protests erupted over further kidnappings on the previous day. Yehya Muhammad Flyti was reportedly abducted by armed Syrian gunmen near the Lebanese border village of Arsal, NNA added. Flyti’s abduction follows the Wednesday kidnappings of two Lebanese farmers near a border crossing, prompting scores of residents on Thursday to block the road to Syria in protest. Initial reports had suggested the two men had been detained Wednesday at the border crossing. But the
link to english.al-akhbar.com
 

UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan on Wednesday said the situation in Syria is “complex” and urged an intensification of international efforts to end bloodshed that has killed thousands of people.
link to news.yahoo.com
 

Syria rebels set 48-hour deadline
The rebel Free Syrian Army says it will stop adhering to a ceasefire at lunchtime on Friday if the government does not start observing the truce.

link to www.bbc.co.uk

Syrian rebels call for peace plan to be declared a failure
If the Free Syrian Army abandons the peace plan, which they warned yesterday they might do, any vestiges of restraint – on either side – could vanish.

link to rss.csmonitor.com

Syria rebels say they’re preparing for war
The opposition fighters have lost faith in Kofi Annan’s peace plan and are using the time to rearm for a bigger conflict when the cease-fire is declared dead.
link to feeds.latimes.com

Saudi Auction Sells Suicide Bombers for Syria
The father, Abu-Salah, receives 1.5 million Saudi riyals (roughly USD 400,000), for offering his son, Khaled, as “sacrifice”
link to www.almanar.com.lb
 

Hopes of a new initiative over Syria suffer a setback as a Russian spokesman rules out any action by the UN Security Council soon.
link to www.bbc.co.uk

Russia slams “counterproductive” Syrian envoy expulsions
Russia on Wednesday condemned the “counterproductive” expulsion of Syrian envoys from European and other capitals, saying it would damage diplomatic efforts to end the 14-month crisis. “The expulsion of Syrian diplomats from leading Western states seems to us to be counterproductive,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. “After all, vital (diplomatic) channels that could be used to exchange opinions and put constructive pressure on the government of Syria…end up being closed.”
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Russia slams harsher tone against Syria regime
Russia condemned as counterproductive a harsher diplomatic tone against the Syrian government on Wednesday, as the opposition accused Moscow of encouraging “savage crimes” in the country.
link to news.yahoo.com

Romney Condemns Obama’s Syria Policy

Mitt Romney criticized President Obama’s opposition to arming Syrian rebels. Some Republicans share that reluctance, while others want to go further, urging airstrikes.
link to www.nytimes.com    
 
U.S. hints at bypassing U.N. on Syria
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – If the U.N. Security Council does not take swift action to pressure Syria to end its 14-month assault on the opposition, member nations may have no choice but to consider acting outside the United Nations, the U.S. envoy to the world body said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters after international mediator Kofi Annan’s deputy, Jean-Marie Guehenno, gave the 15-nation council a bleak assessment of the impact of Annan’s efforts to halt the violence in Syria, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said there were three ways the Syrian conflict could end.
 
US slaps sanctions on Syrian-Qatari bank
Washington slapped sanctions on the partially Qatar-owned Syria International Islamic Bank on Wednesday, saying it had helped the Damascus regime skirt sanctions placed on the country’s leading bank. Qatar is supporting the move with “corresponding actions” that could include cutting financial links to the bank, the US Treasury said, as Washington and allies step up pressure on the regime of President Bashar Assad over the ongoing crackdown on rebels.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

   
Israeli army ‘may act to stop Syria weapons smuggling’
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israel will consider using military action to intercept the transfer of weaponry or other weapons from Syria to groups like Hezbollah, an Israeli army official said Wednesday. Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan made the remarks during an anniversary conference marking Israel’s first war in Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post, an English-language Israeli daily, reported. He said the first challenge for Israel would be to obtain intelligence that such a transfer has taken place, but that once Israel knew it would need to consider action, the Post reported.
link to www.maannews.net

Israel’s Defense Minister Calls for More Action Against Assad
Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, on Wednesday praised the United States and other countries for ousting Syrian diplomats but said it was not sufficient.
link to feeds.nytimes.com

Israel readies army on Syria border
The Israeli army is making preparations along its border with Syria in case Bashar Assad’s regime collapsed, an event which an army commander said could provide Islamist militants with a “warehouse of weapons” and a new operating base. “Syria is in civil war, which will lead to a failed state, and terrorism will blossom in it,” Major-General Yair Golan told a conference at Bar Ilan University. “Syria has a big arsenal.” Golan, commander of Israeli forces on the border with Lebanon and the frontline with Syria in the Golan Heights, told an audience at the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies that the situation in Syria put Israel at risk.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Top IDF officer: Terrorist threat in Syria could be directed at Israel
Speaking at Bar-Ilan University, GOC Command chief says Israel is waging a daily and indirect war with Iran through its proxies in the region.
link to www.haaretz.com

Turkey expels diplomats as Syria denounces protest
Turkey and Japan expelled Syrian diplomats on Wednesday, joining the U.S. and several other nations in protesting a weekend massacre of more than 100 people in Syria, including women and children.
link to news.yahoo.com

Syria: Houran’s Brush With Civil War

This week, the southern province of Sweida in Syria was on the verge of erupting in violence after over a dozen police officers from the area were kidnapped by militants from nearby Daraa.
link to english.al-akhbar.com
 
The United States and 11 other countries have formally expelled Syrian diplomats following a massacre of more than 100 people in the village of Houla. U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan now says Syria has reached a “tipping point” after more than a year of conflict. We’re joined by Charles Glass, an award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster specializing in the Middle East. Glass reported from Syria last month for the New York Review of Books.
link to www.democracynow.org

U.S. Frustration on Iran and Syria Puts New Cards in Russia’s Hands, Tony Karon
Russia’s help will be crucial for President Barack Obama in addressing the crisis in Syria and the Iran nuclear standoff, but President Vladimir Putin is playing hard to get. Since resuming the presidency three weeks ago after a four-year, constitutionally mandated sabbatical in the role of Prime Minister, Putin pointedly snubbed the G-8 summit hosted by Obama at Camp David, instead sending Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. Obama and Putin have finally agreed on a date and venue for a tête-à-tête, even if the timing is a little fraught: they plan to huddle on the sidelines of G-20 meeting in the Mexican city of Los Cabos from June 18 to 19. Curiously enough, the same dates have been chosen for the next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China), which will be held in Moscow.

Hands Off Syria, Ivan Eland
The recent massacre by the Syrian government of 108 people, mostly women and children, will inevitably put intense pressure on a reluctant Obama administration to take out President Bashar al-Assad using force.
link to original.antiwar.com

World News

Glenn Greenwald: Obama’s Secret Kill List “The Most Radical Power a Government Can Seize”
The New York Times revealed this week that President Obama personally oversees a “secret kill list” containing the names and photos of individuals targeted for assassination in the U.S. drone war. According to the Times, Obama signs off on every targeted killing in Yemen and Somalia and the more complex or risky strikes in Pakistan. Individuals on the list include U.S. citizens, as well teenage girls as young as 17 years old. “The President of the United States believes he has the power to order people killed — in total secrecy, without any due process, without transparency or oversight of any kind,” says Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for Salon.com. “I really do believe it’s literally the most radical power that a government and president can seize, and yet the Obama administration has seized [it] and exercised it aggressively with little controversy.”
link to www.democracynow.org

Sesame Street composer: U.S. ‘perverted’ my music to torture prisoners
Christopher Cerf, creator of the children’s program The Electric Company and an award-winning composer who produced the theme song to Sesame Street, told a reporter recently that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “perverted” his music “to serve evil” by using his most famous composition to torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
link to www.rawstory.com

‘Ten Commandments’ Judge Roy Moore: Secularism leads to Sharia law
The man who is likely to be Alabama’s next chief justice is warning that secular government will lead to Islamic law in the United States. In an interview with conservative talk show host Steve Deace last week, Roy Moore opined that “a government that is denying God” was also allowing Sharia law to take hold. The Republican candidate explained that he had no regrets after the Alabama Court of the Judiciary was forced to strip him of the chief justice title in 2003 because he rejected a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse.
link to www.rawstory.com

UAE: Free Blogger Activist
Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should immediately stop any current deportation proceedings against a UAE blogger and activist, and free him from immigration-related detention. (Beirut) – Authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should immediately stop any current deportation proceedings against a UAE blogger and activist, and free him from immigration-related detention, Human Rights Watch said today.
link to www.hrw.org

United Arab Emirates Step Up Efforts to Counter Dissent
Security forces in the United Arab Emirates have now detained 15 men who have called for a more democratic political system, human rights groups and family members said.
link to feeds.nytimes.com

Amnesty urges Sudan halt stoning woman to death
Amnesty International appealed on Tuesday to Khartoum to halt the stoning of a 20-year-old Sudanese woman for adultery. Intisar Sharif Abdallah was convicted of adultery after being tried in a Khartoum court on May 13 and now faces the death penalty. She had initially pleaded not guilty, but admitted to the charges at a later hearing after she was reportedly beaten by her brother. Abdallah, who has three children including a four-month old baby who is being kept in her cell, is due to be stoned. Groups of men will throw rocks at her until she dies.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Libyan women plunge into politics
Showing that women in Libya can be much more than just sexy bodyguards or accessories to murder, women are dipping into politics in the hope of drafting a constitution which protects their rights.
link to news.yahoo.com

Dubai bans selling tobacco for 24 hours: reports
Nearly 300 stores in the Gulf emirate of Dubai will ban the sale of cigarettes for 24 hours on Thursday to mark the World No Tobacco Day, local media reported.
link to news.yahoo.com