Land Theft & Property Destruction / Restriction of Movement / Apartheid / Refugees

Settlers Establish New Outpost East of Ramallah
Dozens of Jewish settlers erected a new outpost near the “Hashmonaim” settlement east of the West Bank city of Ramallah under the name “Or Hadash” (new light).
link to

New Israel Plans to Grab More Palestinian Lands


Recently released documents show that Israel’s Civil Administration, part of the Defence Ministry, has long earmarked up to 10 percent of the West Bank for new settlements or the expansion of existing ones. This is in contravention of international law, which bans the construction of towns and villages by the occupying power on territory captured in war.
link to

Palestinians seek UN condemnation over Israeli settlements


The Palestinians have sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council seeking condemnation of Israeli settlement activity, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday. Riyad al-Malki said the Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, had submitted letters to the council and UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon on Monday, ahead of a meeting of the peacemaking Quartet in Washington on Wednesday.
link to


Record number of Israelis holiday in West Bank settlement areas


Tens of thousands of Israelis visited West Bank settlement areas during this week’s Passover holiday. Israel’s development of settler tourist attractions and normalization of its occupation are behind these record numbers.
link to


The occupation imposes total siege on Ram in northern occupied Jerusalem


The Zionist occupation imposed a total siege on Ram neighborhood north-east occupied Jerusalem after closing its principal entrance this week using big cement blocks to prevent residents’ movements.

Soldiers place large boulders across all four lanes of the main entrance to A-Ram, a Palestinian town of 60,000, blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.
link to

The Encircled Village of Al Walaja


As I pulled into the PNN office anticipating a day of stress-free work on my photos and blog Monjed nabbed me and said, come with us to Al Walaja for a meeting. Only a short time, he promised. Al Walaja is a small village about 4 km northwest of Bethlehem virtually surrounded by settlements including Har Gilo and Gilo and the apartheid wall, some sections built and some planned. Israel confiscated some of the original village’s land to build Har Gilo, a settlement, illegal by international law. It is also the site of al-Badawi, a 5,000 year old olive tree, claimed to be the oldest in the world.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Maher Abu Sabha, general director of crossings in Gaza, said Wednesday that work at the Rafah crossing would slow down for the next 24 hours due to computer malfunctions on the Egyptian side.  Abu Sabha added that the number of those who left Gaza through the crossing was only about 150 travelers on Wednesday. He said normally the number of travelers is between 700 and 800.
A humble shepherd is run off his grandfather’s grandfather’s land because of settlers’ ‘security’, Philip Weiss
Peter Beinart was motivated to cry out to Americans about the occupation when he saw a shocking video of a Palestinian being arrested

 at his farm near Hebron for insisting on his rights to village water. Well it’s two years after that video. And here is another, from last month, shocking in its bald exposure of the humiliations of Palestinians, inflicted by Jewish soldiers acting in my name and Beinart’s name.

Hamas: Destroying Qassam tombstone a crime

Hamas denounced the Israeli authorities for attempting to destroy the headstone of Sheikh Ezzuddin Al-Qassam’s grave in Haifa.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Popular committees and local organizations will hold a conference Saturday to discuss the situation of Palestinian refugees, MP Muhammad al-Lahham said Tuesday. The conference will be held in Jericho, al-Lahham said. Organizations and lawmakers from refugee camps across the West Bank will attend, he said. Participants will discuss the conditions in refugee camps and relations with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, he added.

Israeli Violence 
Video captures Israeli occupation forces violently attacking Palestinians and international visitors touring the Old City of Hebron, as they attended the 7th International Bilin Conference on the Palestinian Popular Struggle.
Dozens wounded in IOF quelling of Bilin conference

Dozens of local and foreign activists were either wounded or detained when Israeli occupation forces cracked down on participants in the 7th international Bilin conference near the Ibrahimi mosque.

link to

Three Palestinian farmers wounded in Jewish settlers attack


Three Palestinian farmers from Aqraba village, near Nablus, were wounded on Thursday morning after Jewish settlers attacked them.

Passover violence in Occupied Al Khalil


The Israeli army enforced a system of extensive closures, detentions, and violence against Palestinians and internationals activists during the Jewish holiday of Passover in Al Khalil (Hebron). The army closed off the busy Beersheba road to allow Jewish settlers to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Knaz inside of Palestinian controlled Hebron. Under the Hebron Protocol the city is divided into two parts; H1 is under complete Israeli military control and H2 is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, although the Israeli army frequently violates the protocol by entering P.A. controlled Hebron.


VIDEO: Protesters sprayed with ‘smelly water’


The Israeli army is using a non-lethal method of dispersing Palestinian protesters in the occupied territories – spraying them with an overpoweringly smelly fluid known as ‘skunk water’.

Past Massacres
The symbol of Nakba: Deir Yassin remembered, Allison Deger

“I wish I had died before what happened in Deir Yassin,” said Zeinab Akel, a survivor of the village whose oral history is filmed by Zochrot, an Israeli group that teaches the Nakba to schoolchildren. Akel was just 20 years old when Zionist forces threw her from her home, on April 9, 1948. The building is now an Israeli hospital and part of larger mental health clinic.

Two days ago, we visited Deir Yasin, or to be more specific, what remains of Deir Yasin, with Zochrot, an Israeli organization dedicated to educating the Israeli public about the nakba. The tour was organized in commemoration of the Deir Yasin massacre. We walked along the main street of the village (now Kanfey Nesharim Street), and passed the few homes still standing, where many people were massacred. The girls school, built in 1941, still stands. What used to be the city center is now a bus station. As for the homes, they are surrounded by a fence and have been incorporated into the Kfar Shaul mental hospital. After passing the homes (hospital), we walked by the remains of the Palestinian cemetery and ended the tour in the grove behind the hospital.

link to

Abdulrahman Katanani: The Treasure Cove of Sabra and Shatila

In his previous exhibitions, the figures that feature in Abdulrahman Katanani’s work were fashioned out of scrap materials and day-to-day objects from Sabra and Shatila refugee camp. These were displayed in spacious and pristine galleries which bear no resemblance to the environment which they and Katanani hail from.
link to

Gaza Siege
A family in the central Gaza Strip has suffered an unimaginable tragedy because of a candle lit during one of Gaza’s frequent power outages. I wish I was burned along with them, I wish I was with them in heaven now,” said Nehad Bashir, mother of Nadine, a six-year-old girl, Farah, a five-year-old girl, and Sabri, a four-year-old boy.

Detainees / Political Prisoners

Tadamun: IOF soldiers arrested 7 women in March


The international Tadamun foundation for human rights has said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) had arrested 300 Palestinians over the past month including seven women.

link to

IOF soldiers round up 7 Palestinians in Nablus, Al-Khalil


Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up seven Palestinians in Nablus and Al-Khalil at dawn Thursday, eyewitnesses said.

Dozens arrested in IOF quelling of Bilin conference
Dozens of local and foreign activists were either wounded or detained when Israeli occupation forces cracked down on participants in the 7th international Bilin conference near the Ibrahimi mosque.
link to

IOF soldiers kidnap Palestinian for allegedly possessing arms


Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained a Palestinian citizen in the Jordan Valley on Wednesday evening claiming he was carrying seven explosive devices, five bullets, and three knives.
link to


Life of Abu Hadid in danger in Israeli detention


The life of 60-year-old Hussein Abu Hadid is in danger in Israeli administrative custody. He has been in Ramle prison hospital since his arrest last month.

Barghouthi hunger strike starts Thursday

Abdullah Al-Barghouthi, who is serving the highest sentence in Israeli prisons, has announced that he would start his hunger strike on Thursday demanding an end to his isolation.

Popular Protests / Solidarity & Activism / BDS
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Palestinians and international activists went out in a demonstration organized by a local initiative in Beit Hanoun north of Gaza to protest the buffer zone on Tuesday. Coordinator Saber Zaaneen said the demonstration arrived to the zone, which Israel imposed on the borders of Gaza. It prevent hundreds of farmers from reaching their lands. He added that the demonstrators carried Palestinian and Italian flags. The demonstration was entitled “Onadikom (I call you), Be Human Vittorio Arigoni” to commemorate the first anniversary of Arigoni’s death.

Several Israelis have been questioned at length by the security service in recent weeks regarding Sunday’s planned ‘fly-in’; activists’ lawyer says Shin Bet is attempting to deter people from taking part in legal activities.

link to



Hundreds to swarm Israeli airport in fly campaign for Palestine

A leading activist on Tuesday blasted Israel’s “crazy” reaction to a fly-in campaign of hundreds expected to arrive at Tel Aviv airport this Sunday in solidarity with occupied Palestinians. Israeli security forces said earlier on Tuesday that they had begun preparations for roughly 2,500 activists flying in primarily from Europe and North America, dubbing the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign as “hostile.” “We have made arrangements and are prepared for this operation, which is expected to begin from Sunday,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, without giving further details.
link to

Dozens rally in support of Palestinian female prisoners

Dozens of Palestinian and foreign solidarity activists and relatives of prisoners rallied in front of the Israeli Sharon jail on Wednesday demanding the release of all Palestinian female detainees.


Resheq calls for widespread solidarity with captives next Tuesday
Ezzat al-Resheq, member of the Political Bureau of Hamas, today called for activities next Tuesday in Solidarity with the Palestinian captives in the occupation’s prisons.

This week International Solidarity Movement is calling for international solidarity in the run up to Palestinian Prisoners Day on the 17th April.  The Palestinian prisoners struggle needs immediate international attention as Israel’s treatment of prisoners under a military judicial system starkly violates international law and fundamental human rights.  According to Addammer there are currently 4,637 Palestinian political prisoners are kept in Israeli military jails and detention centers, including 320 administrative detainees.

Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners


Sumoud: An Evening in Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners Palestinian prisoners released on October 18, 2011 Thursday April 19, 2012 6:30pm at Concordia University Hall Building, Room H-110 1455 de Maisonneuve West Metro Guy-Concordia Montreal, Quebec Since 1967, it is estimated that approximately 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel as part of its repression of the popular resistance.


Organizing Guide “WSF Free Palestine”


What is a World Social Forum event?  World Social Forum events are open, self-organized meeting spaces where social movements, networks, NGOs and other civil society organizations come together to develop their thinking, debate ideas democratically, formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action.

Poverty is pervasive in Gaza.  After 44 years of occupation, and six years of siege the economy is in tatters.  Exporting anything is basically impossible, farming is crippled by the no go zones which encircle Gaza leaving over 30% of agricultural land off limits, the fishing industry has been devastated by the 3 mile limit on fishing imposed by Israel.  Gaza survives on the tunnels.  All this being said, as a Palestinian friend once proudly told me, no one starves in Palestine.  This is true.  Palestinians have created an amazing network of charity organizations that help to blunt the worst effects of the occupation.  Today, in Khan Yunis, we saw this network at work.
One year ago Vittorio Arrigoni was murdered.  Since coming to Gaza, Vik, as everyone knew him, had been a regular at Beit Hanoun’s weekly demonstrations against the no go zone and the occupation.  Vik had devoted his life to ending the occupation.  Sadly, he did not live to see his goal accomplished.  The people of Beit Hanoun have not given up though, they continue to demonstrate, they continue to risk their lives every Tuesday in demonstrations against the occupation.  This week, the demonstration was in memory of Vik.

link to



The life and work of Juliano Mer-Khamis, founder of the West Bank’s Freedom Theater, were celebrated one year after his unsolved murder.


Video: Dabke flashmob at Arizona State University asserts (dancing) Palestinian presence, Ali Abunimah


Students for Justice in Palestine livened up an ordinary day at Arizona State University (ASU) by staging a dabke (Palestinian line dance) flashmob in the middle of campus.

(Outrageous): The famous Harlem Globetrotters are coming to perform in Israel on 1/5 and 3/5 (Nokia arena, Tel Aviv). In the following short Israeli news clip: link to

 (starting time 02:20) one of the players explains (in English) that in the 20th century, the team played at venues where black people were not allowed. The player adds that the team was one of the forces which paved the way for the civil rights movement in America. TAKE ACTION NOW ! Please remind the Harlem Globetrotters:  Millions of Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid and occupation will not be allowed to set foot in Tel Aviv and enjoy their performance. Playing basketball in Tel Aviv as if it`s business as usual is a slap on the face of all those who realize that Israel`s colonialism, apartheid and occupation bear a striking resemblance to segregation in America and apartheid in the old South Africa.


Why Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Should Be Used to Target Israeli Apartheid


Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a member of the US Campaign Steering Committee, a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. I read with great interest Peter Beinart’s recent New York Times op-ed “To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements.”  His thesis is straightforward: Beinart believes Israel is a democratic country being undone by the occupation of the Palestinian territories.  The settlements must be opposed while allegedly democratic Israel must be supported.  Efforts to support the Palestinian right of return (for refugees), he contends, undermine the possibility of a two-state solution and, thereby, end the possibility for Israel as a Jewish homeland.

Not in the New York Times

Rabbi: Justice system will be punished from above


Thousands attend ceremony at West Bank settlement evacuated during 2005 pullout. Minister Edelstein: We’re working to resettle Homesh.

Only haredim allowed entry to Beersheba zoo

Public zoo visitors discover it is open only for haredi public. Following complaints, visitors were allowed inside only if ‘appropriately dressed’.

Ultra-Orthodox woman found female audience member’s participation in show offensive; Modi’in residents angered by ‘unacceptable’ act.

Political “Developments” / Other News
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel will submit a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas outlining a position for a future peace deal, and proposing talks be held at a higher level than planned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Wednesday. The statement said Netanyahu would “propose raising the level of talks to hold them directly with Abbas”, a suggestion Abbas has rejected in the past unless Israel stopped building settlements on West Bank land Palestinians seek for a state. Netanyahu also would propose a resumption of direct peace talks between the sides at a planned meeting with Palestinian officials next week, the Israeli statement said.

Officials at the Prime Minister’s Office say premier will relay message during planned meeting with Palestinian delegation headed by Salam Fayyad Fayyad in Jerusalem.

In letter of complaint, Ahmed Tibi criticizes Michael Oren for claiming the United Arab List-Ta’al MK supports suicide bombings, demands retraction.

Israel, Lebanon navy increase cooperation in Mediterranean

Lebanese navy has been helping the IDF drive away boats that approach the Israeli border, as Israel Navy prepares for possible altercations on upcoming Nakba Day.
link to

Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest

How BBC views Gaza through a Zionist looking glass, Amena Saleem


According to the BBC, Palestinians in Gaza are accustomed to relentless Israeli violence, while residents of southern Israel experience constant anxiety and dread.

link to

When Mike Wallace questioned Israeli story of ’90 massacre, he got called into the owner’s office, Philip Weiss


The late Mike Wallace was often called a “self-hating Jew,” and it seems clear from his obits that it didn’t really bother him. Community loyalty wasn’t big on his list. In this book of Jewish proclamations


inspired by the last words of Daniel Pearl, Wallace says he got along better with Gaddafi and Arafat than he did with Menachem Begin. It appears that at least three of his four wives were not Jewish


, and in this obit at the Forward, Barry Lando shows


how Mike Wallace seems to have agreed with anti-Zionist Rabbi Elmer Berger that Jewish nationalism imposed a dual loyalty claim on Jews.

Debating Palestine: Representation, Resistance, and Liberation


There are currently an estimated six hundred political prisoners in Bahrain, as a result of the regime’s ruthless retaliation against a popular uprising that started in February 2011. 397 citizens are thought to be currently serving sentences delivered by military and civilian courts that fall far short of international standards for fair trials. To begin with, no group has ever represented the entirety of the Palestinian people. However, the groups that constitute the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) along with Hamas and Islamic Jihad come very close to representing the majority of Palestinians. While it is true that the number of Palestinians who are not card-carrying members of the original PLO groups increased after the collapse of the USSR (for the Palestinian left) and after the Oslo Accords (for Fatah and its allies), we can still detect their affinity for certain schools of thought in Palestinian society.

A day before the seventh annual Bilin conference began, a separate meeting was called for and attended by Palestinian women active in the popular resistance. Women attended from different parts of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the ’48 territories. Mothers, lawyers, journalists, students were united not only by their identity as women but through the dialogue about the types of challenges and oppression faced not just from the Israeli occupation army but also from traditional norms and the patriarchal society they live in.
It took a revolution for Tunisian martyr Omran al-Mokaddemi to return home. When Hezbollah recovered his remains in a 2004 swap with Israel, Ben Ali ordered a quiet burial, postponing the martyr’s return for 8 years.
link to

‘When I put this on my website, some people will say, Those people are just terrorists.’Philip Weiss


When I was in Palestine in February, I visited my friend Beesan Ramadan in Nablus. Beesan is 22 and a little bit famous: all internationals go to see her. I met her last year, not long after Angela Davis met her with the women of color delegation


. People seek Beesan out because she is articulate, gracious– and yes, she is also a feminist in a society that is not especially tolerant of that movement.


Has time run out for a two-state solution?


Diana Buttu and Robert Malley discuss the dwindling prospects for peace in Palestine with Shihab Rattansi on Inside Story Americas. The Israeli architect of the Oslo Accords has called on the Palestinian president to declare the so-called peace process dead. Should Mahmoud Abbas ignore US pressure and dissolve the PA?


Who Owns the Palestine Solidarity Movement?, Ramzy Baroud


A few years ago, after I spoke at a conference in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils, then the country’s Minister for Intelligence Services, leaned towards me and said, “I agree with everything you said, but in order for the boycott of Israel to become adopted by world governments, the call has to be initiated by those who represent the Palestinian people in Palestine, not outside groups.”


Palestine Back on the Agenda, Alan Hart


By asserting that Iran is a threat to Israel’s existence (a ludicrous assertion) and beating the drums for war with it, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has succeeded in getting Palestine off the political and mainstream media agenda and winning more time for Zionism to consolidate its occupation of the West Bank. (As Barak Ravid noted in an article for Ha’aretz, “The Presidential election season in the United States is obviously an especially good time to enlarge settlements in the West Bank and strike new roots in the Jewish neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem.”)


On ‘Anti-Semitism’, War Crimes and Old Poets, Lillian Rosengarten


Silence in the face of apartheid is unbearable. We can no longer remain silent nor turn our backs and pretend ignorance to a gruesome occupation of stolen land where Palestinians once lived in peace. The situation has deteriorated as we observe Jewish settlers who spew their hate with such revulsion and racism on Palestinian families, it makes my stomach turn. The United States and Europe (by example I insist,) remain silent thus complicit, not daring to criticize the holier than thou state of Israel for fear of being called anti-Semite.

Preserving one’s patrimony is a way of maintaining one’s cultural heritage. For Palestinians, who have been occupied by Israel for decades, this is particularly important — restoring monuments and raising awareness about the past is a way to assert a place in contemporary history.

The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release a prominent human rights activist whose health is rapidly deteriorating as he passes his 60th day of hunger strike, Amnesty International said today. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, 52, who is serving a life sentence for his role in anti-government protests last year, has been denied visits by his family and lawyer in the past four days. He has been on hunger strike for 62 days in protest at his unfair imprisonment. 

Human rights groups press Obama on Bahrain


Several NGOs have written to U.S. President Barack Obama demanding he weigh in on the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the jailed Bahraini human rights activist who they say may die soon due to an ongoing hunger strike. “We write to urge you to publicly call on the Government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release from prison Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. Al-Khawaja is a Bahraini human rights defender and democracy activist who may soon die, as he has been on a hunger strike for more than two months,” reads an April 9 letter signed by Amnesty International, 3P Human Security, Physicians for Human Rights, Freedom House, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Just Foreign Policy, the Project on Middle East Democracy, the Foreign Policy Initiative, the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, Citizens for Global Solutions, and Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.

Bahraini prisoner ‘weak but conscious’: Denmark

A jailed activist who has been on hunger strike in a Bahrain prison for the last two months is weak but still conscious, a top Danish diplomat said Wednesday.

Pressure mounts on Bahrain as hunger striker reaches 62nd day

Bahrain has been trumpeting its return to normalcy ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix that begins April 20. But now there is increasing pressure to cancel the car race.

Human Chain outside Beirut’s UN Headquarter Friday in Support of Khawaja

Bahraini opposition media office abroad announced the Bahraini Forum for Human Rights will form a human chain in front of the United Nations headquarter in Beirut’s Riad Solh Square tomorrow.

Bahraini killed in ongoing crackdown


Another Bahraini has died from asphyxia after inhaling poisonous tear gas fired by Saudi-backed regime forces on anti-government demonstrators.


Sunni mobs ‘attack Shia villages in Bahrain’


Sunni men descend on villages, witnesses say, allegedly to avenge an attack which injured seven police a day earlier.

Bahrain activist blocked from entering Egypt

A Cairo airport official says a prominent Bahraini activist has been barred from entering Egypt upon the request of a security agency.

link to

Bahraini Regime Officially Escalates Repression against Peaceful Protesters


Al Khalifa officially announced on Wednesday it was escalating measures against peaceful protesters, with regime forces had staged a campaign of attacks and arrests in cities and towns across the country.
link to


Ecclestone insists on Bahrain GP despite human rights abuses


Next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead unless local officials decide otherwise, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday, despite warnings from Amnesty International of continued human rights abuses.”The race is on the calendar, it’s scheduled. The only people that can do anything about it is the national sporting authority in the country that can ask for it to be withdrawn from the calendar,” he told Reuters at the Chinese Grand Prix. “Unless it gets withdrawn by the national sporting authority in the country, then we’ll be there.”
link to



A number of Formula 1 teams expect the Bahrain Grand Prix to be called off amid security concerns, BBC Sport understands.
Bahrain condemns ‘scaremongering’ over F1 race

Bahrain Grand Prix organizers summoned support for their troubled Formula One race on Tuesday and said a campaign for it to be cancelled was being driven by “armchair observers” and “extremist groups.” The Bahrain International Circuit produced witness statements from foreign observers, including two members of the Lotus team, and the British ambassador to the Gulf kingdom in defense of the April 22 race.
link to

Grand Prix dilemma in Bahrain

Should the Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead? Fourteen months since predominately Shia protests erupted against the rule of the Sunni monarchy, questions are being raised over whether one of the biggest events in Bahrain’s calendar should go ahead.

Bahrain update
From Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent:  “We need international experts for everything in Bahrain apparently. We need international experts to tell us that the regime violently crushed an uprising. We need international experts to tell us that there was torture. We need international experts to tell us how to reform our judiciary. We need international experts to tell us how to reform the police. We need international experts to tell us how to make the media more fair. We need international experts to tell us how to teach about human rights and democracy in the educational system. I could go on and on about how many “international experts” have been brought to Bahrain the past year. Now apparently, we need international experts to tell us that AlKhawaja was on a hunger strike and that he is dying

:  Of course one would think that the solution to all these things are pretty obvious – a 5 year old could tell you what the problem is. But no, the regime needs international experts.  Just one thing I remembered – remember when Bassiouni decided to write a letter congratulating the government on bringing Formula 1 back? Well I was just wondering. Where is he now that we have AlKhawaja on his death bed because he decided to go on a hunger strike after being tortured and unlawfully imprisoned (and Bassiouni can look at his own report to read that). Oh also I wanted to thank the State Department for finally expressing their “concern” over AlKhawaja now that he’s been on a hunger strike for 61 days, and also the UN. Kinda late don’t you think?”

link to


Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Bahrain’s Political Prisoners

There are currently an estimated six hundred political prisoners in Bahrain, as a result of the regime’s ruthless retaliation against a popular uprising that started in February 2011. 397 citizens are thought to be currently serving sentences delivered by military and civilian courts that fall far short of international standards for fair trials. 
link to

Abdulhadi is a heroic human rights activist. A previous article discussed him and his ordeal in detail. April 11 marks his 63rd hunger striking day for justice – if he’s still alive. Bahrain won’t clarify beyond a short less than reassuring statement. Ruling Al-Khalifa despots keep brutalizing him. They want him dead and silenced. Among his many distinguished credentials, he co-founded the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR. He also served as its first president. On April 9, his lawyer, Mohammed Al-Jeshi, expressed fear he died.

link to

Bahrain Crisis between Hunger Strike and Grand Prix Boycott, Juan Cole


The crisis in Bahrain continues to boil along, despite the harsh crackdown of the Sunni monarchy on the protest movement (made up largely of the Shiite majority, but also supported by some Sunni parties). The crackdown has left about 83 dead in the past year, and hundreds have been imprisoned. Abd al-Hadi al-Khwajah, a protester and hunger striker that the Bahrain authorities have sentenced to life imprisonment, is in very bad health.

Egypt interim minister expects to sign IMF loan by May

Egypt’s government expects to sign a deal for a US$3.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund by May 15, Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said said on Thursday. But the deal is no certainty with the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political force, objecting to the IMF loan while the current government – made up of cronies of former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s regime – is still in place.
link to



Egypt Salafist ‘able to stand’

A Cairo court rules that Hazem Abu Ismail, a leading member of the conservative Salafist movement, is eligible to stand in Egypt’s May presidential election.


Shock Doctrine in Egypt: Sharif Abdel Kouddous on Post-Mubarak Economic Crisis, Presidential Race


As Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief Omar Suleiman announces he will run for president and Egypt teeters on the edge of an economic crisis, we discuss the state of post-revolution Egypt with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, based in Cairo. Suleiman headed Egypt’s intelligence services for more than 18 years, becoming a close U.S. ally and playing a key role in the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program. Now he joins a crowded field of candidates in the presidential election set to begin May 23. Kouddous notes Egypt’s economy has reached a critical juncture, as the country faces a large budget deficit and is running out of its foreign currency reserves even as it relies on imports for key food staples, such as wheat. “We don’t know where we stand in terms of the Constitution, where the elections stand. Egypt’s revolution still is up in the air,” Kouddous says. He is in New York to to accept this year’s Izzy Award for Special Achievement in Independent Media for his reporting on the Egyptian revolution.

Who Runs Egypt?

The two best organized forces in Egypt today remain the military and Islamist organizations. They have been quite successful in leveraging their advanced organization to assert control of the government from the day dictator Hosni Mubarak was pushed aside on February 11, 2011. The country’s largest Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), already controlling a near majority of parliament, is currently facing criticisms that it disproportionately appointed 65 supporters to a small committee of 100 charged with writing a new constitution to be submitted for approval in a June referendum.
link to


The Egyptian military’s averted revolt, Issandr El Amrani


Must-read reporting by Marwa Awad of Reuters on a previously unknown revolt by Egyptian officers last October: (Reuters) – On a warm Wednesday morning last October, around 500 Egyptian army officers based at the Air Defence Institute on the outskirts of Alexandria staged a mini revolt. According to a lieutenant colonel with direct knowledge of the protest, the men were angry about the punishment given to a fellow officer by his superiors. After refusing to train, the officers demanded to meet either Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s military and in effect the country’s acting president, or his second in command. They wanted to meet the commanders, they said, to make the case for better treatment.
link to

Ahmadinejad says Iran can withstand embargo

Defiant president says country has enough oil saved up to manage “easily” for two to three years without any oil sales.


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Says Oil Embargo Won’t Hurt Iran


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran proclaimed defiantly on Tuesday that the country had such plentiful reserves of money that it could survive for years without exporting any oil.

Iran busts Israel-linked terrorist cell

Iran said on Tuesday it had identified a “major terrorist group” it claimed was affiliated with its arch-foe Israel and had arrested some of its members, the official IRNA news agency reported, citing a report by the country’s intelligence ministry. “Iran’s intelligence ministry announced it has identified a major terrorist group from the Zionist regime [Israel] and has arrested some of its protected operational members inside the country,” IRNA reported without making clear when the arrests had taken place.
link to


Journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Hersh reports the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. According to Hersh, MEKmembers were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site up until President Obama took office. The MEK has been listed as a foreign terrorist groups since 1997 and is linked to a number of attacks, spanning from the murders of six U.S. citizens in the 1970s to the recent wave of assassinations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists. Hersh also discusses the role of Israeli intelligence and notes the Obama administration knew about the training, “because they have access to what was going on in the previous administration in this area in terms of the MEK, in terms of operations inside Iran.” His new report for The New Yorker blog, “Our Men in Iran?,” comes as nuclear talks are set to resume this week between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.


Iraq says next Iran nuclear talks to be in Baghdad


The next round of nuclear talks aimed at resolving a standoff between the West and Iran over its nuclear program will be held in Baghdad following this week’s negotiations in Istanbul, Iraq said on Tuesday. Iran agreed to renew discussions with the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – plus Germany last month, more than a year after previous talks failed. Iraq said last Wednesday it had offered to host the nuclear negotiations following a request from neighboring Iran.


Tell that to Tom Segev: Peres threatens to wipe Iran off the map


Regarding Tom Segev’s allegation that Israel never threatened to wipe another country off the map.  “”In an interview with Army Radio on 8 May 2006 [Shimon Peres] remarked that “the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map”.[32]”
link to


link to


Attack on Iraqi Mayor’s Family Leaves Five Dead


At least nine Iraqis were killed and nine more were wounded in today’s attacks. The worst focused on Diyala province where an entire family was killed. Meanwhile, Iraq is denying allegations that two more bodyguards working for fugitive Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi died while in detention. Yesterday, the vice president’s office issued a statement claiming the two men were tortured to death.

Two More Hashemi Bodyguards Killed in Custody; 5 Other Iraqis Killed in Random Attacks

According to Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi’s office, two of the vice president’s bodyguards were tortured to death while in Iraqi custody. An independent human rights commission, now being organized, could eventually look into the matter. Meanwhile, the United Nations is reporting that over 600 Iraqi civilians have died this year. Including the two bodyguards who died weeks ago, at least seven Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in new reports.

‘Iraqi society won’t welcome segregation of sexes at universities:’ Muqtada al-Sadr

The Iraqi religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr has said that it is better to educate university students with “religion and good morals,” instead of segregating the sexes, Al Sumaria News TV reported on Wednesday.


Iraq: Massacre of a Country, Felicity Arbuthnot


 ‘How can you make a war on terror when you are actually the terrorist?’ — (Unknown.) America’s 2003 assault on Iraq, already devastated by thirteen years of sanctions, infrastructure destruction consequently unrepaired from the 1991 bombing was, in the ridiculous annals of names the US military gives to their slaughter-fests, entitled: “Shock and Awe.”

Saudi Arabia
Saudi defense minister meets Obama, stresses strategic ties

In the midst of security concerns preoccupying the Gulf region and several upheavals throughout the Arab world, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz visited Washington to discuss key issues and stress strategic cooperation.
link to



Saudi activist on hunger strike ‘in danger’

A human rights group says Mohammad al Bajadi,a Saudi Arabian activist, stopped drinking water, and is fainting.

The lawyer for a jailed Saudi human rights campaigner denied on Wednesday government claims that his client had ended his hunger strike. Mohamad al-Bajadi was detained in March 2011 after tweeting in support for families demonstrating outside the Interior Ministry in Riyadh demanding the release of jailed relatives, according to fellow activists. Al-Bajadi is a co-founder of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). Amnesty International condemned the detention as a violation of freedom of expression, referring to al-Bajadi as a possible “prisoner of conscience.” 

Saudis deny inmate hunger strike


The authorities in Saudi Arabia deny that a prominent human rights campaigner, who has been detained for a year, is on hunger strike.

25 Indonesian maids on death row in Saudi

RIYADH, Apr – 6 Twenty-five Indonesian maids are on death row in Saudi Arabia and 22 others have been pardoned and sent home, local media reported on Friday, adding that Jakarta will send a delegation for talks on the issue. “Twenty-two death row Indonesian inmates in the Kingdom have been exonerated and repatriated back to Indonesia, while 25 maids are still facing death sentences in Saudi Arabia for various offences,” the English-language daily Arab News reported. “Six housemaids are on death row in Riyadh province alone, whereas about 19 female workers have been handed death sentences in the Western region,” it quoted the Indonesian embassy’s spokesman, Hendrar Pramutyo, as saying.
link to


Saudi dissident


“Intimidation secures the kingdom’s equilibrium. In a recent interview, a newspaper editor complained about the regime’s reach and power; the following day his office called to ask that his name not be mentioned for fear of reprisal.  Al-Qahtani has no such reservations. A formertalk show


 host, he believes, on his good days, that a high profile offers a degree of protection.  “I tell the interrogators: ‘I want you to send me to prison. I want to see what’s happening inside,’ ” he said, adding that such publicity could increase international pressure. “If I went to jail it would raise awareness. The authorities don’t want to do that. It might be too costly for them. Yet they have to do something. I really think they want to understand me. I have another interrogation tomorrow.”    Unease over the kingdom’s stability has seeped into the mechanism of power itself. Al-Qahtani’s organization has taken on the case of army Capt. Ghazi Al-Harbi, who was released recently after spending seven years in prison on allegations by the Interior Ministry that he belonged to a cadre of officers plotting a mutiny.   Al-Harbi, who said he was targeted to offer up other names in a wider purge, sat recently in a reception hall on the outskirts of Riyadh celebrating his new freedom with family and clansmen. The men-only crowd ate dates, sipped tea and listened to verse read by a tribal poet.  “I had no access to the evidence against me. I was in jail five years before I saw a judge,” he said. “They tied my hands behind my back and hanged me on a wall with my feet dangling. They beat me. They accused me loudly of being anti-Muslim and then they put me on a wing with Islamist extremists to incite them to kill me.”  He added: “They wanted me to confess but I did nothing wrong. What they did to me will remain for the rest of my life. I trust no one now.


link to

Syria ceasefire tested as deaths reported

It only took half a day after a ceasefire was announced before the Syrian government and opposition traded accusations of further killings, sparking great fears of a resumption of violence in the conflict-stricken country. A “terrorist” attack killed a Syrian army officer and wounded 24 other people in second-largest city Aleppo on Thursday, state media said, accusing rebels of aiming to “torpedo” a UN-backed peace plan. “An armed terrorist group used an explosive device to target a bus transporting officers and non-commissioned officers to their unit in Aleppo. It killed a lieutenant colonel and wounded 24 other people” at 8:00am, the official SANA news agency reported.

Cautious optimism in Syria after ceasefire

Guns fell silent in Syria after a UN-backed ceasefire took effect at dawn on Thursday, bringing an end to fierce fighting in rebellious towns that had still continued overnight before the 6am deadline. The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported no violence after the 6am deadline came into effect. “More than two hours have passed, and it’s completely quiet across the country,” said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). People contacted by telephone in the flashpoint provinces of Homs, Hama, and Idlib, which have been under sustained shelling by President Bashar Assad’s forces over the past week, reported calm. An activist in Damascus said the capital was also quiet.

link to

Syria calm after UN truce deadline


A fragile cease-fire brokered by the U.N. took hold in Syria on Thursday with regime forces apparently halting widespread attacks on the opposition but still defying demands by international envoy Kofi Annan to pull troops back to barracks.
link to



Ceasefire in Syria comes into effect


A ceasefire in Syria came into effect at 6:00 am (0300 GMT) in line with an ultimatum set by UN/Arab League envoy Kofi Annan aimed at ending violence that has killed thousands over 13 months.

McCain and Lieberman meet with the Free Syria Army

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are on a surprise trip to the Turkish-Syrian border to meet with leaders of the Free Syria Army and visit Syrian refugees, who have been under attack by Syrian government forces. The senators’ trip was not associated with the efforts of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, whose cease-fire agreement seems to have failed to stop the violence. McCain and Lieberman said in a statement that Syrian President Bashar al Assad has violated the terms of Anann’s cease-fire and that the only practical way forward is to arm the Syrian opposition.

The Day Hafez al-Assad Died
The day Hazfez al Assad died, I was having lunch with a friend. We were eating pasta at a family owned Italian restaurant in Ras Beirut when the news was announced. With everyone else, we stared at the small television. The owner kept changing the channel, and each time the news was confirmed. I don’t remember if we finished lunch. But I do remember that when we went outside the streets seemed deserted. Beirut is not a quiet city, but that day it seemed as if sound had retreated from picture. My father called and demanded that I come home. Less than five minutes later my friend received the same call from her mother. No one knew what would happen next. The questions, I suppose, were obvious: Would a power struggle erupt in Syria? Would it erupt in Lebanon? Would “the war” return? What would Israel do?

link to


The Simple Truths of the Syrian Uprising


Syrian activists and others have become so engrossed in minute details they can no longer see the big picture: the reason for the Syrian uprising in the first place. It is as if the details have become larger than the general picture. The minutiae have come to the forefront, obscuring what was obvious and clear. Thus, we find that the debate has become contradictory and sharp: To get rid of the regime or to negotiate with it? Foreign intervention or self-reliance? Are there gunmen or aren’t there? What are the the advantages of having weapons over not having them? Unity or fragmentation of the opposition, which is better?… And other details that must be discussed.
link to


Other Mideast / World News
27 Moroccan inmates on hunger strike

A Moroccan human rights organization says the health of 27 political prisoners in the country is deteriorating due to the hunger strike they have waged to protest violation of their rights in jail.

Change can often take years, if not decades. While the past year has seen both negatives and positives on the path to greater freedom, it has not stopped many of the LGBT youth in the region from continuing to press, in their own way, for a real and viable transformation. Unfortunately, local media and governments have not been helpful, and in Iraq’s case, have been directly responsible for fomenting violence – and at least one reported massacre – against the gay community in the country. Not only did the Iraqi government allow the mass killing of teenagers for having “emo” or gay appearances, they pushed the militias through violent language, then stood by and allowed scores of Iraqis to be brutally murdered.
“Cameron calls on Islam to embrace democracy and reject extremism: there has been no comment from Mr. Islam thus far, As’ad AbuKhalil
Don’t you like this headline: “Cameron calls on Islam to embrace democracy and reject extremism”. Can you imagine a headline: Obama calls on Judaism to promote moderation? It is as if Islam here is a person. But surprisingly, Mr. Islam has not responded to the call by Cameron but it is possible that Mr. Islam is busy with a family vacation in Honolulu.
Merseyside Police in the UK have reportedly arrested a former cadet who shocked Twitter users with anti-Muslim outbursts, racial epithets and tweets expressing joy at the deaths of more than a hundred Pakistani soldiers in an avalanche.
link to

45 Days After Killing Trayvon Martin & Sparking National Outcry, George Zimmerman Finally Charged
Forty-five days after George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, he has been charged with second-degree murder. Special prosecutor Angela Corey says the charges are based on the merits of the case, and were not influenced by the several weeks of nationwide protests and a massive social media campaign. We speak with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous who disagrees. “The reality is that [Corey] would not be the prosecutor but for [Trayvon’s] family standing up, and millions of people with them, and saying ‘We need justice.'” We’re also joined by attorney Jasmine Rand, head of the civil rights division at Parks and Crump law firm, which is representing Martin’s family. “I think that the federal government needs to look very closely at all of the facts and investigate whether or not there was a hate crime,” Rand says.

link to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *