Khader Adnan
Falk appeals to Israel to let go of hunger striker Adnan
Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights, appealed on Thursday to Israel to release Palestinian prisoner Khader Adanan, who has been on hunger strike for two months.
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Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan ‘near death’ in Israeli detention

Medical report warns Israeli court Khader Adnan is in immediate danger after 61 days of protest at his ‘administrative detention’. A Palestinian prisoner on his 61st day of hunger strike while shackled to a bed in an Israeli hospital is in immediate danger of death, according to a medical report submitted to the supreme court in an effort to secure his release. Khader Adnan, 33, a baker from a village near Jenin, is being held without charge by the Israeli authorities under a four-month term of “administrative detention”. He began his hunger strike on 18 December, the day after being arrested.
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Messages to Khader Adnan
Please take a moment to write a message of solidarity to Khader, his wife Randa and their children. All messages will be bound and delivered to them shortly. Let Khader and Randa’s children know what we think of their father, the hero.

Palestinian hunger striker launches last appeal
Israeli soldiers look on during a crackdown on Palestinian Birzeit University students outside the Ofer prison near Ramallah on 13 February 2012, in support of prisoner Khader Adnan who has been on hunger strike for 60 days.

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Wife of Adnan: He is weak but not in a coma
The wife of hunger striker Sheikh Khader Adnan has said that he was adamant on continuing in his struggle to the finish but denied that he was in a coma.
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Khader Adnan at Risk of Death on 60th Day of Hunger Strike
Palestinian human rights organisations urge the international community to intervene immediately in order to save the life of Khader Adnan, who has begun the 60th day of a hunger strike in protest of his continuing administrative detention by Israel.
(RAMALLAH) – The Israeli Military Appeals Court dismissed the appeal against Khader Adnan’s administrative detention order, 13 February 2012. The court decision orders Khader to remain detained for the full duration of his four month administrative detention order, to be expired on 8 May. Today’s decision follows the inconclusive Appeals Court hearing that took place on 9 February in a hospital room at the Zif Medical Center in Safad due to his critical medical condition. The decision comes as Khader Adnan persists in the 58th day of his ongoing hunger strike and his health continues to deteriorate.
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday reiterated its position that Israel bears “full responsibility” for the well-being of detainee Khader Adnan, who has been on hunger strike for weeks. Ministers called on the Israeli government to commit to ensuring “his immediate release and nullifying (an) administrative detention” which allows the Israeli state to hold him for months without charge. A statement from the cabinet condemned “continued Israeli violations against our people,” including an “attempted raid” on the Al-Aqsa Mosque over the weekend following calls from the governing party.

Dear Mr. Minister: I am writing to ask for your urgent intervention to ensure the immediate release of Khader Adnan, currently in administrative detention, who has been on a hunger strike for 60 days; or alternatively – if the evidence so warrants – to put him on trial. Mr. Adnan was arrested on 17 December 2011 and has been in administrative detention since 8 January 2012; to this day, no charges have been filed against him and he has not been given the opportunity to address any claims in a fair trial. To protest the abuse and brutal treatment that Mr. Adnan says he experienced during his arrest and interrogation, and to protest his continued detention without trial, Mr. Adnan began a hunger strike. According to Israeli human rights organization Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-Israel), Mr. Adnan’s health has seriously deteriorated as a result of the hunger strike, and continuing it will endanger his life. Under these circumstances, denying Mr. Adnan his freedom without trial is particularly grave, and immediate measures should be taken to release him or give him a fair trial.

Dozens injured in IOF quelling of rally at Ofer
Israeli occupation forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators who rallied in front of the Ofer jail to protest the continued detention of Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Khader Adnan.
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Dozens of Palestinians declare Hunger Strike as Fasting prisoner Khader Adnan is on day 60
Dozens of Palestinians declared hunger strike in support of the Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who ended his 60 day of fasting. Palestinian medical sources said Adnan is facing death if not treated properly as many of his main organs including his heart and stomach are in a very bad shape.

My Hunger Strike in Solidarity with Khader Adnan, Linah Alsaafin
On February 8th, a worldwide hunger strike was called for on Twitter in support of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who was on his 53rd day of hunger strike. “My dignity is more precious than my food.” This was his declaration, after he was arrested in front of his pregnant wife and two young daughters at 3:30 am. After he was beaten up inside the Israeli jeep on the way to the detention center. After his gastric disc problems were ignored. After Israeli interrogators smeared dirt from their shoes on his beard. After they obscenely insulted his wife, mother, and two daughters graphically. After he was tortured and placed in painful stress positions. After he was placed in isolation.

As hundreds of Palestinians rallied in Gaza today to demand that Israel release Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan, Yassar Salah, a 17-year veteran of Israel’s prison system, spoke about Adnan’s 60-day hunger strike and his own reasons for joining it. “We are on hunger strike to show our sympathy and solidarity with Sheikh Khader Adnan, who is battling to overcome Israel’s system of administrative detention,” he told me in the protest tent outside Gaza’s International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) compound.

On Wednesday, 8 February, a group of us coordinated across three cities — Washington, DC, New York and Chicago — to hold three simultaneous protests in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan. The protests varied in size, and our protest in Washington, DC was fairly small — we coordinated the day before and we witnessed a combination of rain and snow that afternoon.

Khader Adnan: Day 60 and Counting, Steve Lendman
On February 15, Palestinian faction leaders began supportive hunger strikes. Gazans erected a sit-in tent near ICRC’s Gaza City offices. Islamic Jihad leaders Sheikh Nafth Azzam, Ahmad Al-Mudallal, Dawood Shihab and Khader Habit joined with others and civil society organization members. Al-Mudallal said striking “support(s) the battle of dignity of Sheikh Khader Adnan. This is the least we can do (for) this legendary symbol.” Palestinian Authority civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh said PA officials were trying to free him and hold Israel responsible for his well-being. Palestinian prisoner affairs minister Issa Qaraqa called for demonstrations, protest marches, and solidarity fasts throughout the Territories.
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On Monday, military Judge Moshe Tirosh rejected Adnan’s appeal as expected. Israel wants him dead. In his 59th day without food, his life hangs by a thread. Tirosh called his decision “balanced.” He claimed secret evidence justified him. He also called him an Islamic Jihad party political leader. Doing so effectively designated him a terrorist unjustly. He ignored legal arguments, including no evidence warranting detention.

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As I write this on day 60 of his hunger strike, Khader Adnan is still alive, as far as I know. There is no news yet today about his condition, although I came across a claim that he has fallen into a coma. We may be outraged that Israel upheld his detention and did not release him, but how could it have? Adnan in his own words made it clear that his protest is not only for himself, but for all prisoners detained illegally. Israel releasing Adnan would mean admitting that its detention of him was illegal, and then who knows, the whole house of cards could crumble—illegal imprisonment, illegal arrest, illegal occupation, illegal land confiscation, illegal annexation…
Land Theft / Occupation / Apartheid
European Union delegation visits Wadi Hilweh
A delegation of diplomats from the European Union visited Silwan on the morning of February 14. The delegation, organized by Madaa Creative Center in response to the demolition of the Wadi Hilweh protest tent and local playground, visited Wadi Hilweh in order to learn first-hand about the damage wrecked upon the neighborhood by the Jerusalem Municipality and Israeli Parks Authority. Wadi Hilweh, an epicenter of Israeli settler activity in Silwan, is one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the region, as Palestinian land is confiscated for settler tourism projects such as the City of David.
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500 settlers visit Joseph’s Tomb
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Over 500 settlers visited Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus on Wednesday evening accompanied by Israeli soldiers. Locals told Ma’an that a number of military vehicles arrived in the area at 11 p.m. and set up positions to allow the settlers to enter the tomb to perform religious rituals. The settlers and soldiers left early Thursday morning, with no reported incidences. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control. But the Israeli army evacuated the premises in October 2000 shortly after the start of the second intifada, or uprising, and it was immediately destroyed and burnt by the Palestinians. The restoration of the tomb was completed recently, and following improved security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the army allows Jewish worshipers to make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the site.

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Jaffa – The Orange’s Clockwork
This film shows how Jaffa started out as a Palestinian place name before becoming an Israeli brand name and how the orange harvest shifted from being a joint undertaking into a symbol used by both parties in the conflict.
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Violence & Other Deaths

Palestinian children die in crash
At least eight Palestinian children are killed in a collision involving their school bus and an Israeli lorry on a road in the West Bank.

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Some Israelis react with joy to deaths of Palestinian kids in bus crash, others revolted by racism, Ali Abunimeh
Today there was horrifying news that at least 8 Palestinian children were killed when the bus that was carrying them crashed into a truck. The popular Israeli news website Walla posted the news on its Facebook page. Within moments, Israelis started posting comments expressing joy at the news. Hours later, many of the racist comments had been deleted by the Walla editors, and many other Israelis, and Palestinian citizens of Israel expressed their deep revulsion at the racism.
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Israelis celebrate death of Palestinian children killed in accident
Ten Palestinian children were killed and at least 20 were wounded on Thursday morning after an Israeli truck carrying a fuel tank crashed into the school bus transporting the kindergarten children near the Qalandia checkpoint in Ramallah. Israelis on Facebook were celebrating the deaths of the Palestinian children, writing derogatory statements on a wall of a news post regarding the accident.
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Hadad (mourning)
But now I see posts with Facebook screenshots (below), showing Israeli comments in Hebrew rejoicing in the fact that the deceased children in question were Palestinian. I don’t know the news source they were commenting on, what segment of society they represent, but the post and its English and Arabic translations are going viral. George Rishmawi made a statement on Facebook that the accident happened because Palestinians are forced to drive on windy, dangerous roads because the Israeli wall cuts them off from Jerusalem. So much for this not being political.
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Six civilians injured in Israeli deadly attack on Gaza city
Six Palestinian civilians sustained different injuries during Israeli air raids at dawn Thursday on a resistance post near Addura hospital in Gaza city.
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West Bank car torched in latest ‘price tag’ hate crime
JERUSALEM, Feb 16, 2012 (AFP) – Vandals believed to be Jewish extremists set light to a car in a village in the northern West Bank on Thursday, Israeli police said.
The incident took place in Nabi Elyas village, just outside the northern town of Qalqilya, with the words “price tag” scrawled near the burnt out car. Police said one person had been arrested in connection with the incident, but gave no further details. “Price tag” is a euphemism for revenge hate crimes by Israeli extremists, which normally target Palestinians and Arabs, usually in retaliation for state moves to dismantle unauthorised settler outposts. The attacks tend to involve the vandalism or destruction of Palestinian property and have included multiple arson attacks on cars, mosques and olive trees, although the perpetrators are rarely caught. Last year, police say 65 indictments were handed to extremists suspected of assault or for causing property damage in price tag attacks. Despite the rising number of arson attacks, police say they are often unable to press charges given the lack of evidence.
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Settlers Stole Dozens of Olive Trees in Turmusaia and Destroyed Others in Madama
A group of Israeli settlers yesterday cut and stole dozens of olive trees in Turmusaia village in Ramallah district, while other settler groups destroyed dozens more in Madama village in Nablus district. The villagers said that the settlers used bulldozers with protection from the occupation forces to cut dozens of olive trees belonging to Mohammad Asaad Rabie Abu Hanon. The head of the village council, Mr Rajeh Abu Alsukkar, said that the occupation forces claimed to have been awarded a decision from the court to level the land, but when villagers asked to see the order, occupation forces said they didn’t have it. Abu Alsukkar added that the owners have had posession of the land for 15 years, a decision from the occupation court, and that they have the right to use it.
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Israeli troops break into homes, offices of three Palestinian MPs
An Israeli military force invaded the offices and homes of three Palestinian members of Parliament and confiscated their computers and cell phones in the early hours of Thursday morning, Palestinian media sources reported.
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Israeli troops kidnap 8 Palestinians overnight
Palestinian media sources said that eight Palestinians have been kidnapped overnight across the occupied West Bank.
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Local official: Israel arrests 3 teenagers in Bilin
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained three young men from the village of Bilin on Wednesday evening, local officials said. The popular committee against the separation wall said soldiers detained Humoud Ala Samarah, 16, Samih Khatib, 16, and Basel Raed, 17, while they were walking near the separation wall in the village. They were taken to Binyamin police station in the Ramallah area. Around 40 percent of Palestinian men living in the occupied territories have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
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Israeli jailors storm Palestinian prisoners’ cells
Israeli jailors stormed the cells of ward 4 in Askalan prison on Tuesday and savagely searched the prisoners’ rooms in search of mobile phones, press reports said.

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IOF soldiers arrest liberated young woman, interrogate MPs
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested Hana’a Shalabi, 25, after storming her family home in Bruqin village to the west of Jenin at dawn Thursday.

Abu Zuhri warns Israeli occupation of violating exchange deal

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has described as a “serious violation” the Israeli occupation authority’s arrest of two Palestinians freed in the prisoners’ exchange deal.
CMWU in Gaza: Power Cuts Threaten Water Supply and Health Service
Gaza, (–Director of CMWU Mundher Shiblak warned that if the crisis of power cuts is not going to be defused, the utility then will not be able to supply Gaza citizens with sufficient water amounts. The utility said Wednesday in a statement that “although the wells and pumping stations operate non-stop during the power cuts, there is a contradiction between the schedules of water and electricity distribution in the different regions. Therefore, even a short-term prospect for solving such a crisis is perishing”. In this context, Ministry of Health warned of the gravity of the ongoing power cuts in light of its acute lack of fuels for Gaza hospitals to provide with; that its fuel deficit ballooned to 72%.
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Who turned out the lights in Gaza this time?
The current capacity of Gaza’s power station, together with electricity purchased from Israel and Egypt, can supply only 62% of Gaza’s electricity needs. Even in coastal Gaza, it’s a cold, rainy February, and the power outages last an average of 12 hours each day, since Gaza’s power plant shut down Tuesday for lack of diesel. Fuel for generators, even for hospitals, is running low, and water and sewage pumping is disrupted. The immediate reason for the crisis? Earlier this month, Egyptian security officials began intercepting fuel supplies en route to the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, reducing supplies to one third of their previous levels. The historic reason? Israeli restrictions on fuel supplies via the overland crossings, imposed in 2007, caused massive shortages and eventually diverted supply to the tunnels with Egypt, an informal arrangement that leaves Gaza residents vulnerable to supply disruptions.
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OPT: Promises of exports fall short for Gaza’s manufacturers
GAZA CITY 15 February 2012 (IRIN) – Mu’min Najar drags open the massive door to the goods depot of his father’s furniture factory, the Modern Industrial Group (MIG), in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
(CNN) — Elena Lidawi is preparing her piano students to take part in a national competition. Lidawi’s students will not perform in front of the judges in person, but by video conferencing. Lidawi teaches at Gaza Music School and the Palestinian national competition they will enter in March and April is only 50 miles away in Jerusalem. But the children are unable to leave Gaza because of travel restrictions imposed by Israel and Hamas, which governs Gaza. Israel imposed an economic blockade of Gaza when Hamas took over in 2007, to stop what it says is the transit of weaponry to be used by militants in attacks on Israel. Movement of people is severely limited.
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Canadian Boat to Gaza activists demand Israel release boat Tahrir
It’s a Canadian vessel named the Tahrir, from the Arabic word meaning “liberation”. Now its owners want it freed by its Israeli captors. On November 4, 2011, Israeli soldiers boarded and towed the Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse after the boats tried to break through the naval blockade of the Palestinian territory of Gaza . Irene MacInnes, who won the City of Vancouver’s 2003 Citizen Peace Award, belongs to the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the group that owns the vessel. “We named it the Tahrir because we thought of liberation, and our goal is to end the blockade,” MacInnes told the Straight by phone.
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Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Up until its closure, Shuhada Street was considered the most important street in the city of Al-Khalil (Hebron). It was the main street connecting the central and northern neighborhoods of the city with the southern ones. For many years, the street was home to some of the city’s most vital services, such as Hebron’s central bus station, taxi stations, the central vegetable market, an ancient Turkish bath, two wheat mills, a gas station, tens of different commercial shops, as well as some of the oldest schools in the city, which are still in operation.
In photos: PennBDS, Sara Jawhari
On February 4th, 2012, hundreds of students, professionals and academics gathered at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a national BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) conference, organized by the University’s PennBDS student group.

BDS: Power of the People at Work, Ramzy Baroud
The issue is not about hummus, chocolate bars or Dead Sea vacations. It is about civil society taking full responsibility for its own action (or lack of). The issue is not exactly about Israeli products either, but rather about how even a seemingly innocent decision like buying Israeli dates may enable the continued subjugation of the Palestinian people. Because the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) highlights this, the reaction it often generates is charged and vehement. Many also react to the BDS because it actually works. Israeli supporters have every right to be concerned that their carefully customized discourse on Israel’s infallibility (juxtaposed with Palestinian depravity) – which has been promoted for decades in various media and political outlets in the US and Western countries – is now simply falling apart.
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Out of the Ballpark: Susan Abulhawa’s speech to the PennBDS conference, Annie Robbins
There is a reason Susan Abulhawa has the reputation of a dragon slayer, and it is not just for any one time event or the fact that Mornings in Jenin just happens to be an international best seller translated into 26 languages. With the precision of a surgeon she unmasks and infuriates her adversaries, always with poise and dignity. Forever grounded in truth she lifts us up and fills us with courage and a will to carry on.

Below are three simple actions to take part in today’s Valentine’s Day Stolen Beauty Campaign Day of Action, courtesy of CodePink, a US Campaign member group… the queens of creative tactics and online activism! Take action today, Valentine’s Day, to ask Bed, Bath & Beyond to stop breaking Palestinian hearts. The big box retailer carries Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream products. Both Ahava and SodaStream are subject to international boycott campaigns because their production facilities are based in illegal West Bank settlements and because of other illicit practices.

Take Action to Oppose Ever-Greater Amounts of Military Aid to Israel
President Obama released his 2013 budget request yesterday, which includes in his words “difficult cuts” and “tough choices.” However, even as the White House proposes to reduce services provided to Americans while the debt continues to climb, the President increased his request for military aid to Israel to $3.1 billion from $3.075 billion in this year’s budget.

Nazareth-based women’s magazine editor Yara Mashour tells Haaretz she felt as if she was ‘raped’ by airport by security agents in Milan airport.

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Pro-Israel handbook explains how to attack professors and ‘co-opt’ students of color
Last week, the David Project released its “white paper” on Israel advocacy in US colleges and universities, titled A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges. The David Project is perhaps best known for its smear campaign against Columbia professor Joseph Massad in 2004–05, and more recently, for creating the most boring and uninspiring “Shit People Say” video.

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Rock legends Guns N’ Roses to perform in Israel, sources say
Reported summer show would be the first time the band visits Israel since their 1993 show in Tel Aviv.
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BDS interview fallout: Finkelstein ‘showed his own fear of the paradigm shift in discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’, Adam Horowitz
Here are three smart reactions to the Norman Finklestein BDS interview. The first is from Maath Musleh, a Palestinian student in London, the second is former CPT volunteer Sean O’Neill writing for +972 and last is David Samel from the Mondo comment section. There have actually been so many interesting responses to the piece I should really post more than these three. If you’ve read others please post them below in the comments section, especially if you’ve seen something supporting Finklestein’s position. I know there was a heated discussion in our comment section, and on Twitter, but haven’t seen a piece picking up his argument.
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Ultra-Orthodox Israeli minister walks out on girls’ choir at child safety conference
Deputy Health Minister’s decision to leave event, at which he was a guest of honor, follows controversy in the army over requiring religious soldiers to attend official events featuring female singers.
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Political Developments / Other News

Press sources have reported that an Israeli company that produces military merchandise is about to incur losses worth tens of millions of dollars as a result of the Israeli Defence Ministry’s decision to cancel one of its military deals with Turkey. The Israeli English Language newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported on its website that the Israeli military merchandise company, Elbit Systems, is about to lose 65 million dollars of its annual profits for 2011, after the IDF terminated the military deal for the delivery of developed intelligence systems to the Turkish Air Force. The newspaper added that the Israeli company is negotiating with the IDF in an attempt to collect financial compensation for the damage which may affect it as a result of the cancellation of the deal just a few weeks before its completion. The cancellation is a response to Israeli ministry orders to stop providing Turkey with developed military equipment in light of deteriorating relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

Israel to buy Italian military training jets (AP)
AP – Israel has reached a $1 billion preliminary deal to buy 30 Italian military training jets, Israeli defense officials said Thursday.
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Freedom and justice threatens to reconsider peace treaty with Israel
Egypt’s freedom and justice party warned Washington that its threat to halt its financial aid to Cairo would terminate the Camp David agreement.

Report: Mossad bolsters activity in Tunisia

Israeli intelligence agency collaborating with CIA to revive spy network after revolution, Tunisian journal reports.

‘You must sleep with a gun under your pillow’
Terror attacks cause Israeli diplomats worldwide to take extra security measures; ‘You do everything to avoid ambush,’ former envoy says.

The judge heading the panel assessing whether Palestinian civil rights leader Sheikh Raed Salah can be deported from the UK has cast serious doubt on the British government’s case. A final verdict is expected in the next two weeks.

Finally, PA kicks back against Israel’s Hasbara
A Jerusalem-based correspondent forwarded me the email below — it’s a new initiative by the PLO Delegation to the United States to track anti-Palestinian incitement in Israeli media and society and publicize it to American journalists, officials and politicians. Let’s hope this works and gets some attention on the issue — or will the politicians decide to ignore this?

The founder of the influential pro-Israel advocacy group, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, is leaving, and the hunt is on to find her replacement.

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UK arms Bahrain despite brutal crackdown
British government, the close ally of despot regimes, has continued to provide the repressive regime of Bahrain with arms despite continuing pro-democracy protests in the kingdom.
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Ecclestone backs Bahrain GP
Formula One boss not interested in cancelling Bahrain GP despite trouble on first anniversary of uprising.

Over 120 hurt in Bahrain clashes, dialogue sought (Reuters)
Reuters – More than 120 protesters have been wounded in clashes with police in Bahrain this week, activists said on Wednesday, in a crackdown to stop majority Shi’ites breaking out of their neighborhoods to stage protests one year after an uprising.

Bahrain forces arrest 15 teenagers
Saudi-backed regime forces in Bahrain have launched nightly raids on homes in a flashpoint eastern town, detaining 15 teenagers, Press TV reports.

Yesterday, six international activists where arrested in Bahrain while attempting to monitor the government crackdown on protesters commemorating the one-year anniversary of uprisings. The arrest comes a few days after two activists from the same group of internationals were deported from Bahrain.
Bahrainis pledge to continue protests
Bahraini anti-government protesters have pledged to march back to the capital Manama’s Pearl Square, the focal point of demonstrations against the ruling Al Khalifa regime, Press TV reports.

Bahrain Opposition Vows More Rallies, Regime Stages Arrests Campaign
Bahrain opposition pledged to keep up its rallies against regime, hours after security forces clashed with demonstrators, staging a campaign of arrests including rights activists and foreigners.

Saudis back Bahrain revolution
Saudi protesters have held demonstrations in the oil-rich Eastern Province town of Qatif to mark the first anniversary of the popular revolution in Bahrain, Press TV reports.

‘Al Khalifa out of touch with reality’‎
Bahrainis have for a year stood their ground against the Al Khalifa regime, pledging to continue with their protests until all their demands are met.

“What does the future hold for Bahrain’s political movements? The island now is a heavily politicized society, with a new generation of youth entering the political scene for the first time. If the most followed Bahraini twitter account is anything to go by, roughly twenty percent of the population is on-line and actively engaged politically. What is beyond doubt is the existence of a fertile and as yet unstable political terrain with constantly shifting developments. The more formally established political societies, such as Al Wefaq, are losing ground to new groups, including the 14 February Coalition. Groups like the latter have resorted to underground mobilization and are more involved in direct street action, stating regime change as their explicit goal. Whatever the regime will offer in terms of reforms, it is likely that a significant chunk of these activists will not be satisfied. This is in contrast to the demands that the formally established political societies announced, which focus on system reform and a constitutional monarchy. Questions regarding the ideology of these movements are also unsettled and constantly shifting. Although religious-based figures still play a leading role within the opposition, the dominant discourse emerging is one focusing on “human rights” and a liberal democracy, with even Al Wefaq more openly adopting such a discourse.

One of the leaders of the uprising in Bahrain has been active against the country’s monarchy since a young age. Now he is joined by a new generation of protesters who seek to bring change to the island kingdom.

Marking today’s anniversary of the Bahrain anti-government uprising, the hacker group Anonymous shut down the Bahrain government’s website, along with the websites of several U.S. manufacturers of “less than lethal” weapons.

Japan PM to Barak: Israel must not strike Iran over nuclear program
During visit to Japan, Ehud Barak says international community must work together to impose sanctions on Iran.
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Leon Panetta testifies before Senate Armed Services Committee, says U.S. has common cause with Israel to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran unveils ‘uranium enrichment advances’
Claimed breakthrough comes as Iran’s chief negotiator proposes resumption of talks over controversial nuclear programme.

Press TV reports that Tehran halts exports to Netherlands, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy; semiofficial Fars agency says Iran started using new advanced centrifuges at Natanz nuclear plant.

Turkey has no plans to cut its imports of Iranian oil despite rising pressure from Western powers and initial signals it would buy more Saudi oil, Turkish and Saudi sources have told Reuters. Ankara’s intentions became clear after a high level delegation traveled to Riyadh over the weekend and decided against requesting additional supplies from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, the sources said. The Kingdom is the only producer in the world that has spare volumes to offer to replace Iranian oil.

Provocations Against Iran Follow a Rich Tradition
The apparent Israeli-U.S. covert operations to inhibit Iran’s missile and alleged nuclear weapons programs — using assassinations, computer worms, faulty parts, exploding factories, etc. — very likely has a secondary objective as well. When Iran haplessly and publicly vows revenge and retaliates — as it seemingly has with ham-handed attempts to assassinate the Saudi Arabian […]


Bombs Rattle Iraq: 6 Killed, 29 Wounded
Although most of today’s attacks were small, one bombing in Mosul left over 20 people dead or injured. In Baghdad, a brigadier general was assassinated. Overall, at least six Iraqis were killed and 34 more were wounded.

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Probe finds Iraqi VP behind death squads (AP)
AP – An Iraqi investigation panel says the country’s Sunni vice president and his employees were behind years of deadly attacks on security officials and Shiite pilgrims.


The head of the Lebanese parliament’s energy committee said he was “concerned” by the increasingly close relationship between Israel and Cyprus, ahead of a trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the island on Thursday. Netanyahu’s one-day trip – the first to the country by an Israeli prime minister – will focus on improving relations between the countries in the midst of continuing debates over offshore gas and oil reserves.

Israeli planes violate Lebanese airspace
Four Israeli reconnaissance planes have entered Lebanese airspace in violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, Press TV reports.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia urged to spare lives of foreign nationals amid surge in executions
Three foreign nationals convicted of drug-related offences in Saudi Arabia must not be executed, Amnesty International said amid reports of a surge in executions in the kingdom since the beginning of the year. Ali Agirdas, a Turkish national, as well as Sheikh Mastan and Hamza Abu Bakir, both Indian nationals, may be executed at any time following their conviction for drug smuggling and drug possession.

The bloodlust faced by the ‘blaspheming’ Saudi journalist | Andrew Brown
Hamza Kashgari’s tweets about Muhammad have led to a chilling online reaction from many in Saudi Arabia. In this country, and in the US, the judicial authorities make fools of themselves about Twitter. In Saudi and Malaysia, they may make themselves murderers. The case of Hamza Kashgari, a young Saudi journalist who has just been deported from Malaysia to face trial on charges of blasphemy, is one that should frighten and disgust anyone who cares about freedom of speech or religion.

Olympic Ban on Saudi Arabia Is Urged Over Lack of Female Athletes
The International Olympic Committee should make Saudi Arabia send female athletes to the London Olympics, a human rights group says, or it should be prohibited from competing.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the Arab Spring started in 2002 with the initiative launched by then Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

Syria: Death toll rises as bombardment of civilian areas escalates in Homs
At least 377 civilians have been killed in Homs in recent days as Syrian security forces escalated their shelling of civilian neighbourhoods in the besieged city, according to information received by Amnesty International. On Wednesday, reports also emerged of a military build-up in the city of Hama, 50 km to the north. The latest surge in casualties chimes with remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that the international community’s failure to act had “emboldened” the Syrian military assault.

Syrian Media center raided, its head Mazen Darwich arrested, reports
Damascus-based journalist and head of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression Mazen Darwich has been arrested, along with 12 colleagues, and his office raided by Syrian authorities, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Thursday. RSF condemned in a press release the arrest of Mazen Darwich, and colleagues Yara Badr, Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi, Hanadi Zahlout, Hussein Greir, Hani Z’itani, Sana Z’itani, Rita Dayoub, Joan Farso, Bassam Al-Ahmad, Mayada Al-Khalil and Maha Al-Assablani.

Syria to hold constitutional referendum end of February
A new Syrian constitution that limits a president’s reign to two seven-year terms and removes an article enshrining the ruling Baath Party as the state’s head will be put to a referendum on February 26, Damascus announced Wednesday. The constitution was drafted by a president-appointed committee. “The political system of the state will be based on a principle of political plurality and democracy will be practiced through the voting box,” the draft constitution reads as cited by Syria TV.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman believes it is time Israel unequivocally condemns the massacres and calls on Assad to resign, while Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu prefers to remain ambiguous.

The Israeli Position Toward Events in Syria
Israel’s stake in what takes place in Syria stems from geographic proximity, the ongoing official state of war between the two countries, Syria’s demands to recover the Golan, and Israel’s fear that events in Syria could lead to the collapse of the ceasefire between the two countries and/or a re-heating of the Golan front. Israel’s interest is also due to Syria’s important influence, role and stature in the Arab world and the broader Middle East region— all of which have implications for Israel, its security, and its regional relations.
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Israel Shifts Uneasily Over Syria, Pierre Klochendler
JERUSALEM — Grappling with the fallout on their country of a possible forced removal from power of Syria’s President Bashar Assad, Israeli leaders are fluctuating between wariness, cautious optimism, and self-righteousness. Last week, as the toll exacted by the 11-month Syrian uprising was mounting dramatically, Israelis were offered by their prime minister the customary appraisal […]

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Is It Time to Intervene in Syria? NPR Discussion with Bassam Haddad and Others

Syria’s civilian death toll is now estimated at over 6000 people, as tanks and machine guns continue to bombard residential neighborhoods. Some 25,000 civilians have managed to flee to destinations including Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Meanwhile, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has announced a referendum in ten days to amend the constitution, limit his term in office, and set up elections. As France calls on the UN to set up humanitarian corridors and Russia responds by claim that such actions might “legitimize regime change,” NPR’s To the Point hosted Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad in addition to Erika Solomon, Rania Abouzeid, Robert Danin, and Shadi Hamid in a discussion on the question of intervention, how various international actors are respondng, and what options exist to address the situation on the ground in Syria. Skip to the seven minute mark (7:00) to begin listening to the discussion.
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Al Qaeda Rising in Syria?
from Jewbonics by JewbonicHere is the NYT openly reporting that the Jordan Muslim Brotherhood as well as Al Qaeda are taking part in the Syrian conflict by sending in “jihadists.” Also reporting the words of an arms trader: “Five months ago I was told that the Syrian brothers are in need of weapons” – this in an uprising we’ve been told for months on end is “mostly” non-violent or “mostly” unarmed. Or skip the qualifiers, entirely unarmed. The paper is also reporting that according to “unidentified American officials” the Aleppo bombing, which opposition informants were quick to blame on the Assad government, was the work of Al Qaeda.
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Moon of Alabama, “The State Department Lies With Its Satellite Pictures Of Syria — No Artillery ‘Deployed'”
So while the State Department says these picture are showing guns “operationally deployed against XYZ” I say that’s a lie and bullshit. As a former tank officer who has trained on shooting ranges together with tracked and towed artillery I am pretty sure that all those artillery pictures shown by the State Department are pictures of regular military training and maintenance missions on military barracks and training grounds and not pictures of “operational deployment” against anyone. It seems that the State Department simply ordered unclassified satellite pictures from Digital Globe, checked the well known training grounds of the Syrian military and where they found inevitably some small artillery units doing their regular training made up the story that those guns are “operationally deployed” against Syrian rebels. The pictures out of Homs so far showed only indirect mortar fire, not heavy artillery fire from big guns. The suppressed report (pdf) by the Arab League Observer Mission said that the rebels used mortars against the regular Syrian troops and that it were such mortars that killed a French journalist. “44. In Homs, a French journalist who worked for the France 2 channel was killed and a Belgian journalist was injured. . . . It should be noted that Mission reports from Homs indicate that the French journalist was killed by opposition mortar shells.” There is so far zero proof that the Syrian government has deployed any artillery at all against the rebels. The State Department satellite pictures are surely no such proof and the pictures of damage in the cities as shown in the various videos or pictures are so far not of a level that would be consistent with the use of heavy artillery.

Other Mideast News
NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has admitted that eight Afghan children were killed in the coalition’s bombing in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kapisa last week.

Analysis / Op-ed

We are not in the best of shape. The country you left one night has plunged into darkness and under an insane assault from outsiders still determined to recolonize us. Backwardness, hatred, and the hard life have turned into an ongoing process of killing. Perhaps your wish was fulfilled, that you did not live to see the countries of the Levant in their condition today.

On the fourth anniversary of his assassination in Damascus, Al-Akhbar meets Iranians who worked with the man who spent 25 years building Hezbollah into a formidable resistance force.
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Pro-Israel Media Mafia Attempts to Force Twitter Code of Silence on NYT’s Rudoren, Richard Silverstein

Three little Jewish Twitter monkeys (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil) are very unhappy that Jodi Rudoren, the NY Times’ incoming Israel bureau chief, is sharing tweets with Israel critics like Ali Abunimah and Phil Weiss. The monkeys are Marc Tracy of the neocon Tablet Magazine, Noah Pollack of Commentary, Josh Block (didn’t he just get out of the doghouse for a similar infraction?), and Jeffrey Goldberg (I know that’s four, I originally had three and then remembered Commentary).

Reality of Hamas-Fatah Unity, Ramzy Baroud
While top officials representing rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, signed yet another unity agreement on February 6 in Doha, Qatar, Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan crossed the 50-day mark of his hunger strike. His health was rapidly deteriorating. Since his arrest on December 17, “Khader was subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment, including physical abuse, prolonged periods of interrogation, isolation and unsanitary conditions of detention,” according to a joint statement by the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organisations (PCHRO), an umbrella group that represents all major Palestinian human rights groups.
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