Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land Theft and Destruction
PA: Israel planning to expropriate another 2% of West Bank land
The Palestinian Authority this week accused Israel of planning to declare another 2 percent of the West Bank state land, thus effectively expropriating it.  But the defense establishment rejected this claim, saying the land in question had been under the Dead Sea until the shrinkage of that body of water uncovered it and the goal of the declaration is to prevent the land from being taken over by private or commercial entities.

IOF troops block firefighters from extinguishing fire in Palestinian land
IOF on Tuesday night blocked Palestinian firefighters from reaching cultivated lands of Anin village to extinguish a fire that started at a late night hour and continued till Wednesday morning.

Bethlehem mayor initiates campaign against Israeli land annexation
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Bethlehem Mayor Abdel Fattah Hamayel called residents and owners of the 139,000 dunums of land recently slated for annexation to a meeting to coordinate a consolidated objection to the Israeli plan.

Four Palestinian youths injured near Nablus
Four Palestinian youths were injured on Wednesday evening by Israeli military fire near the Tafoah settlement, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Shots from settlement injure four, one critically south of Nablus
Nablus – Ma’an – Israel forces shot and injured four Palestinians near the Kfar Tuppuah settlement Wednesday south of Nablus. One youth, identified as 15-year-old Layth Saleh Muhammad Hamayel is in critical condition at the Nablus hospital after sustaining two gunshot wounds in the leg. He was evacuated by Red Crescent medical crews who have not been able to reach the other three victims.  According to Saleh two other youth were taken by Israeli police, reportedly to a hospital in Israel, though he did not clarify the reason the group was in the area, which is surrounded by settlements.  Saleh identified another boy, also allegedly injured, as 15-year-old Maher Fawzi Ahmad Hamayel.  [end]

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian, Israeli youth protesting land confiscation
Tulkarem - Ma'an - A group of Palestinian and Israeli youth with Combatants for Peace were attacked by a group of settlers south of Tulkarem Wednesday.  The group was in the West Bank to, among other activities, set up a protest tent on lands recently occupied by colonizing settlers. A group of at least 14 settlers from the nearby Avnei Hefetz settlement approached the group and  assaulted several members, coordinator at the organization Nour Ad-Din Shihadeh said.  The organizer said Israeli troops came to the aid of settlers shortly after the hostile group approached the youth, and ordered the group to leave the area.

Israeli army invades West Bank cities and breaks its own pledge
The Israeli army violated its own pledge that it would not invade four cities in the West Bank. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning the army entered two of these cities as well as three others during  incursions of the West Bank.

Israeli forces invade Balata refugee camp
Early morning the 29th of June, the Israeli Occupation Force invaded four houses in the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus. The soldiers arrested 3 boys of between 16 and 17 years old, without letting them or their family know why. In several of the houses, the soldiers had destroyed furniture, mirrors, cabinets and kitchen equipment.

MIDEAST:  Nobel Laureate 'Abducted' by Israeli Navy, By Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Jul 1 (IPS) - Twenty-one international peace activists were seized by Israeli naval frigates in international waters Tuesday as their boat 'The Spirit of Humanity' tried to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Troops kidnap the head of Workers Union in Salfit
Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Thursday at dawn, Yasser Taha, the head of the Workers Union in the West Bank district of Salfit.

Israeli army arrests 10 Palestinians in West Bank
Ramallah, July 2, 2009 (Ramattan) – The Israeli forces arrested on Thursday 10 Palestinian citizens in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Qalqiliya, Palestinian security sources said.

Palestinian gets 25 years for arms smuggling (AFP)
AFP - A Palestinian businessman guilty of conspiring with a Syrian arms trafficker to export millions of dollars worth of weapons to leftist rebels in Colombia has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to authorities.

US remains silent over McKinney arrest by Israel
Israeli Navy detained former US congresswoman and Nobel Prize laureate Cynthia McKinney and twenty other human rights activists on board a relief boat outside Israel's territorial waters on Tuesday as they were heading to Gaza on a humanitarian mission.

Gaza aid activists transferred to immigration authority ahead of deportation
The 19 foreign peace activists, who were arrested on Tuesday after trying to sail to the Gaza Strip, were transferred to the immigration authority's detainment facility ahead of their deportation from Israel.,7340,L-3739828,00.html

Israel releases two Free Gaza crew members, others await deportation
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Two of the 21 Free Gaza ship crew members were released without charges Wednesday, both Palestinian, following investigations by Israeli intelligence officers.  Nineteen other crew members including a former US congresswoman and a Nobel Peace Prize winner remain in prison cells at Israel’s Ashdod facility awaiting deportation.

PA forces release 6 Hamas members detained in Qalqiliya
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Six Hamas affiliates were released from Qalqiliya Wednesday afternoon, sources within the Palestinian Authority said.  The release came as efforts continue to solve the issue of politically-motivated arrests in the West Bank and Gaza, with both Fatah and Hamas promising to stem the arrest campaigns in their respective zones.  On Tuesday the Palestinian Center for Human Rights confirmed allegations of arrests from both Hamas and Fatah, collecting testimony that political-detainees were mistreated and harassed.

Hamas: PA forces detain four affiliates

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas officials accused PA forces of arresting four of its party affiliates in Jenin, Qalqiliya and Jericho in a Thursday morning statement.  The party said similar arrest campaigns were carried out in the West Bank each night this week.
Fatah and Hamas have been attempting to negotiate a deal that would see what are termed politically motivated arrests halted and unity between the parties restored.  [end]

Humanitarian Issues/Human Rights Violations
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 25 Jun - 01 Jul 2009

Plight of Palestinians getting worse, UN warns
The blockade of Gaza is causing severe humanitarian hardship and the situation is getting worse every day, the head of the U.N. aid agency for Palestinian refugees warned on Wednesday.

2 towns cut off from water during heat wave
National Water Company shuts off water supply to Carmel towns of Daliyat al-Karmel, Usafiya over millions in unpaid fees. Former municipal council member outraged at move says blame is on Interior Ministry of the Interior.  Mekorot, the National Water Company, cut off the water supply to two Druze towns on Mt. Carmel on Wednesday, one of the hottest days of the year. According to the company, the towns of Daliyat al-Karmel and Usafiya owe millions of shekels in unpaid fees.,7340,L-3740099,00.html

Democracy Now:  Israel Seizes Aid Ship, Kidnaps Activists
The Israeli military has seized a ship trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters. On Tuesday, Israeli forces boarded the Free Gaza movements Spirit of Humanity and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The twenty-one activists on board have been reportedly denied attorneys and are set to be deported. The kidnapped passengers include former Congress member and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and the Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev dismissed the boats humanitarian mission. Mark Regev: Israel every day is allowing humanitarian support to reach the people of Gaza—food stuffs, medicines, energy and so forth. This boat was not about that. This boat was about political activists who have been apologists for the Hamas regime, who have nothing whatsoever to say about Hamass brutal treatment of the people of Gaza.

Detained peace activist: We slept with cockroaches
An Israeli citizen who was among 21 peace activists apprehended by the IDF en route to the Gaza Strip says she was held under conditions resembling a "horror movie."  Houida Araf, who was released on Wednesday, told Ynet that she and a fellow Israeli peace activist were separated from the group and taken to the Ashdod Port.,7340,L-3740556,00.html

After Israelis banned all aid except medical, Egyptian authorities rerouted food to sports stadium

Al Arish / PNN - Scores of boys and women rushed to the Al Arish stadium in great anticipation, not to watch a sporting event but to take part in the looting of hundreds of tons of aid meant for the people of Gaza but due to be burned by authorities.

Gaza crossings: One week of supplies equal to daily delivery pre-siege
Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli crossings authorities will allow 111 truckloads of goods and a limited amount of industrial fuel and cooking gas into the Gaza Strip Thursday, said Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian crossings official.

Spoil them rotten, Gideon Levy
Every few weeks there`s a shortage of another item. Water is in sufficient supply for the time being, but electricity is intermittent. They are repairing the power station but there aren`t any spare parts. You try living in the Gaza heat and poverty without electricity. On Tuesday, for example, the electricity supply to Beit Lahia was cut off for hours. They have begun to clear away the rubble from Operation Cast Lead, but they haven`t started to rebuild, not even a room, except for mud houses, because there is no cement and gravel.

Israeli Extremists/War Criminals
Thousands support Israeli doctor accused of complicity in torture
Thousands of people this week signed a petition in support of the Israeli president of the World Medical Association, following a campaign to impeach him from the world ethical body for alleged complicity in torturing Palestinians.

New charges for Israeli troops

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the army must file more serious charges against soldiers filmed abusing a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner last year.

Impunity for war crimes in Gaza and southern Israel a recipe for further civilian suffering
Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded in a new report published on Thursday. Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction, is the first comprehensive report to be published on the conflict, which took place earlier this year.

Fatah Collaboration with Israel
Abbas: Hamas hoarding weapons in plot to assassinate PA officials
Palestinian president discusses tensions with rival faction Hamas, says Islamic group hoarding weaponry, presidential guard uniforms ahead of secret plot. Hamas cell planning attacks against PA arrested earlier this week.,7340,L-3740121,00.html

Political Developments
MIDEAST:  Future of Fatah in Doubt, by Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Jul 2 (IPS) - The future of Palestinian unity talks is far more complex than the bitter rivalry, bloodshed and division which represent the yawning chasm separating Palestine's two main political factions, Hamas and Fatah.

Gazans rally in favor of inter-reconciliation
GAZA, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Palestinians, representing different Gaza political figures on Wednesday held a peaceful carnival in Gaza in support for an inter-Palestinian reconciliation between rival Fatah and Islamic Hamas groups.

Hamas has been ready for reconciliation since the split, and wants a national partnership

Jenin / Ali Samoudi – A leader of Hamas and the political coordinator of the prisoner movement in Israeli prisons, Al-Abbas, revealed today that the party has supported negotiating a comprehensive national reconciliation since the day of the division.

Haniyeh: Fatah hung up on Israeli security commitments

Gaza – Ma’an – De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called the sixth round of unity talks “difficult and stressful,” after the Hamas delegation returned from Cairo on Tuesday.  In his Wednesday commentary on the talks Haniyeh said the hardships faced at the talks were the result of Fatah obstinacy and the party’s insistence on listening to interference from Israel and the United States.  Haniyeh accused Fatah of paying more attention to its “security commitments” with Israel than the issue of political arrests , which Hamas members have called the central issue ‘from which all other issues will be resolved.’  The de facto Prime Minister gave the comments as he participated in a sit-in held in Gaza City protesting the continued detention of more than 40 PLC members in Israeli prisons. [end]

Dweik calls for the release of all legislators imprisoned by Israel
Dr. Aziz Dweik, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) called on Wednesday for the release of all elected Palestinian legislators and officials illegally imprisoned by Israel.

Hamas source: Price for Shalit will only go up
Hamas official says significant progress achieved in negotiations for release of captive Israeli soldier, but warns price will only rise as time progresses.,7340,L-3740031,00.html

Israel's Barak links settlement freeze to regional peace drive
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday Israel would consider a limited moratorium on new construction in Jewish settlements, linking the step to US efforts to bring Arab states into a broad peace process. The offer, which Barak made in a Fox News interview, fell short of Washington's call for a total.

Netanyahu: Israel-U.S. bond is unbreakable
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a Fourth of July celebration at the home of American ambassador to Israel James Cunningham on Wednesday, and said that the bond between Israel and the U.S. was still strong.

Israeli source: U.S. can't get Arabs to commit to normalized Israel ties

The U.S. administration has not been successful in securing commitments from Arab countries to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel, a senior source in Jerusalem said Wednesday.

Merkel: Settlements ruin efforts for 2-state solution
German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Thursday that Israel halt construction in the West Bank settlements, saying it endangered efforts to achieve a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Other News
The Palestinian class of 2009, in their own words (Reuters)
Reuters - Whether a just resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is close at hand or close to impossible is today -- as so often over the past two decades -- in the eye of the beholder.

Trial of Israeli Arab 'lynch mob' opens to protests (AFP)
AFP - The trial of seven Israeli Arabs charged with lynching a Jewish soldier after he shot dead four people opened on Wednesday amid protests by members of the minority Arab community.

Druze officer says was treated 'like terrorist' at Eilat airfield
Air Force officer claims security staff at southern city's airfield humiliated him despite the fact he presented his military ID. Airport Authority denies allegations, says security check was routine.,7340,L-3740117,00.html

Poll: Palestinians not optimistic on Obama's Middle East program
Bethlehem - Ma’an - An American-funded Middle East based research center found general Palestinian interest in the regional visit of US President Barack Obama, but little hope for positive change despite recognition of a progressive tone shift.  The Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), funded by the American Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), carried out an opinion poll of 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 12-14 June.

Tourism increasing in Jericho

A report published by the Tourism Police in Jericho district revealed Wednesday that tourism is increasing in the city and that more tourists are staying in local hotels while visiting the ancient and touristic sites.

GAZA: Short film takes on rape, a taboo subject in Palestinian enclave
Basma Abualila, a journalist and filmmaker living in Gaza, recently caused a stir in the strip with her short film on rape in Gaza. In her 10-minute film, “ A Call at Night," based on a real-life incident, a young woman shares her story of how she was raped by her boyfriend and then forced to marry her rapist out of fear when she got pregnant.

Noam Shalit to tell UN panel: Gilad's abduction a war crime

Noam Shalit will ask a United Nations committee on Monday to declare the abduction of his son, Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, by Hamas in 2006 a war crime.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
U.S. Military Aid to Israel: Our Tax Dollars Hard at Work Kidnapping U.S. Citizens on the High Seas
“But the important thing is, is that we clearly have an issue in this region right now, piracy, and we need to work cooperatively with a whole host of countries as best we can to prevent these things from happening, and then, of course, if they do happen, to be able to prosecute these pirates.”

Activists vow to keep up Gaza trips despite Israel
NICOSIA, July 1 (Reuters) - Pro-Palestinian activists vowed on Wednesday to continue to defy an Israeli navy blockade around Gaza, a day after Israel seized their boat and detained 21 people taking aid to the territory.

The Yes Men say no to the Jerusalem Film Festival
The Yes Men are a group of "culture jamming activists" who impersonate heads of corporations to embarrass them in the media. They are increasingly well known and put out a movie in 2003 about their work called, The Yes Men Movie.

We are NOT the “Story”, It’s Not Just Our 21 Kidnapped Passengers
Since its founding in 1948 the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and tortured Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they can languish for years. Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners without benefit of due process, some never even charged - men, women, and children - endure torture and isolation in Israeli jails, outdoor prison camps, and secret black sites.

Dexia Bank decides to stop financing Israeli settlements
The Belgian-French financial group, Dexia, has declared that it is stopping all financial support to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, through its Israel Branch.


First they came for Trader Joe's. Then they came for Target
Rob Browne responds to a post I did the other day about Trader Joe's stocking Israel goods to counter the boycott movement:
I just read an article from the North Jersey Jewish Standard about local NJ Jewish motorcycle clubs trying to stand up in support of Trader Joe's.  I found it both sad and amusing.  Well intentioned people, who appear to refuse to deal with the complexities of the conflict, offering simplistic knee jerk support of Israel.  If this is how status-quo people are going to defend Israel, then progressive citizens and politicans have a great chance at chaning the dynamic for a just resolution to the conflict.

California's broke? State official leads panel urging investment in... Israel
Here's an invitation (after the jump) from the vice chair of California's state Board of Equalization (which collects $53 billion in sales tax and other fees), inviting people to an "Investing in Israel" discussion with Israeli consulate officials next week. It's in West Hollywood. And it looks like the official, Judy Chu, is elected to the board.


Month in pictures: June 2009, Photostory, The Electronic Intifada, 1 July 2009
The below photographs are a selection of images from the month of June 2009. "The month in pictures" is an ongoing feature by The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net.

Portraits of survival, by Asim Rafiqui, The Virginia Quarterly Review

I arrived in Gaza during the last days of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead—launched on December 27, 2008, the last day of Hanukkah. On previous trips to Gaza, I had documented my fair share of funerals, burials, mourning families, people salvaging belongings from the ruins of their homes. And always the ensuing Hamas marches, the masked gunmen, the shouts of anger. Though the scale of this Israeli incursion was larger than any I could remember, when I again found myself crossing the border, the circumstances felt all too familiar, and I carried with me the fear that there was nothing new I could document.

Israel's Settlement Stalemate: Is There No End in Sight?
Obama needs to clarify his position on the issue if there's any hope of disrupting the brutal status quo.

Oppose the state, not the people
Ramallah's intellectual elite, foreigners and curious spectators gathered last Saturday at the Friends School in Ramallah to hear writer and political activist Naomi Klein lecture to a packed auditorium. Following a musical interlude by a string quintet, one of whose members is blind, Klein took the stage. She chose to speak - in Ramallah - about her Jewish roots.

Detained leaving Gaza
Canadian writer and activist Naomi Klein and her husband Avi Lewis, a documentary film director and a presenter on Al-Jazeera TV, were detained Monday while leaving Gaza for Israel. Yael Lerer, founder of the Andalus publishing house, said the two had been held for three and a half hours while she waited for them outside the crossing. Lewis said they were detained because their names sounded Jewish and Israeli to the soldiers; people with Israeli passports are forbidden from entering Gaza. They said Shin Bet security agents questioned Lewis while Klein stood by.

Saja - Where is the self-respecting outrage from Institutional Arab-America?

Dear everyone who continues to graciously demonstrate patience to listen to my anti-House-Arab* diatribes, I could denounce the complacency of the self-absorbed and disconnected leadership of our "Arab" community. But at some point, words and videos (and threats to do unspeakable things to one's hair) don't suffice to express frustration. The complacency somehow manages to confound language and camera lenses.

The lobby now admits it is a 'sliver,' unrepresentative of majority of American Jews
Months ago I declared that Gaza had cracked the Israel lobby. It did so by causing non-affiliated Jews to at last speak out about Israel/Palestine policy. These Jews had traditionally ceded the foreign-policy turf to their pro-Israel cousins (as I did, deferring politely to Marty Peretz out of the stupid guilty feeling that he was a better Jew than I was) till they realized that their cousins were nuts.

'Times' columnists could be pressuring Obama. Except for Cohen, they're AWOL
Almost all of us at this site who want peace in Israel/Palestine are pulling for Obama. As an Egyptian student said to me last month in Cairo, "He's our only hope." She meant: for fairness and dignity.  It goes without saying that Obama is now under tremendous pressure from the lobby--and so letters like Peace Now's to the Washington Post today are all the more important, as signals that the lobby is splintering. A friend asks, Where are the New York Times columnists--who have such tremendous clout in the Jewish community? Good question.

“Removal” of Israeli Checkpoints: Just an Illusion
Over the past month, Israel has decided to ease some travel restrictions in the West Bank.  Israeli authorities have put steps in place around the cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqilya and Jericho.  Today, for example, the IDF announced it would open foot traffic at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus.  In some cases, Israeli authorities have claimed to “remove” checkpoints or roadblocks altogether.  However, has that really been the case?

The Gaza Strip's Diamond in the Rough
The Al Deira,, is a splendid, breezy hotel on the Mediterranean that can only be reached if you are an aid worker, a journalist or, if you choose to enter the Gaza Strip, by a smuggler's tunnel from Egypt. I don't recommend the tunnel route; these snake holes deep in the sand tend to cave in and are frequently bombed by Israeli fighter jets.,31542,1908074,00.html

Newsroom politics dramatized in "Oh Well Never Mind Bye"

The play Oh Well Never Mind Bye is set in the busy newsroom of an unnamed London-based newspaper -- probably a right-wing tabloid -- in the days before and after London police shot dead a Brazilian immigrant on an underground train. But in a genuinely brave piece of playwriting, Steven Lally has drawn on wider themes, including the "churnalism" that has turned much of the journalistic profession into a regurgitation of celebrity press releases, the way in which Palestine and related issues are reported in the mainstream media and the influence of the Zionist lobby on news coverage. Sarah Irving reviews for The Electronic Intifada.

Israel lobby in action: the 'LA Times' once stifled Hezbollah story out of piety for Israel's foundational myths
The other day Ashraf Khalil wrote about how hard it was for him to publish an account of the mistreatment of Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer in the LA Times last year. Khalil's story reminded a reader of the story that Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper's two years ago, describing his ordeal in trying to publish a story explaining Hezbollah's political appeal in Lebanon.

WSJ on mini-Hariri
"Despite the skirmish, the elevation of Mr. Hariri, the 39-year-old billionaire son of the late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, marks what many analysts say could be a fresh, hopeful chapter in Lebanon's recent, tumultuous politics." Yes, nothing to send a hopeful signal to Lebanon than the designation of incompetent, half-illiterate (who only managed to receive admissions at schools thanks to his father's financial contributions including to Georgetown Universtiy which like all private schools in the US has a weakness for the money of billionaires), bumbling, boring person who is under the tight control of Prince Muqrin bin `Abdul-`Aziz. But then again: the fact that this man spends all his day (and part of the night) playing X-Box should really set the Lebanese house in order.

Bomb kills Iraqi soldier and wounds 10 in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, July 2 (Reuters) - A roadside bomb blew up as an Iraqi army patrol passed by in Baghdad on Thursday, killing one soldier and wounding 10 two days after U.S. troops pulled out of cities and handed security to their local counterparts, police said.

Wednesday: 2 Iraqis Killed, 3 Wounded
Celebrations continued in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraqi cities. Otherwise, the country was very quiet. Only two Iraqis were reported killed and three more were wounded. No Coalition deaths were announced.

Number of civilians killed in Iraq jumps in June

BAGHDAD, July 1 (Reuters) - The number of civilians killed in Iraq jumped to 373 in June, the Health Ministry said, up from a record low of 134 in May because of a spate of deadly bombings in Baghdad and northern Iraq.

Land mines have claimed 14,000 lives in Iraq

The United Nations says land mines are obstructing human and economic development of the country.  The U.N. estimates that up to 14,000 Iraqis might have been killed by land mines since 1991, when former leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and 2007.\2009-07-02\kurd.htm

Jamal Dajani: Selling Confidence in Iraq
As Iraqi forces took control of towns and cities across the country on June 30, a car bomb in the northern city of Kirkuk exploded, killing at least 33 people and injuring more than 100, serving as a grim reminder of the security challenges that Iraqis face following US troop pullout. Kirkuk was also the scene of two suicide bombings last month in which 14 people were killed. It is the center of northern Iraq's oil industry and home to a volatile mix of Kurds, Arabs, Christians and members of the Turkmen community.

The New York Times now speaks for Iraqis
"He made no mention of American troops in a nationally televised speech, even though nearly 130,000 remain in the country; most had already pulled back from Iraq’s cities before Tuesday’s deadline. The excitement, however, has rung hollow for many Iraqis, who fear that their country’s security forces are not ready to stand alone and who see the government’s claims of independence as overblown." So according to the New York Times, the Iraqis want the US occupiers to stay forever although all public opinion survey conducted in Iraq (and sometimes on behalf of the US government) indicate that overwhelmingly the Iraqi people want US troops to leave Iraq NOW.

Saudi propaganda about Iraq

It is interesting how Saudi propaganda reports the fake US withdrawal from Iraqi cities. They always feel that they have to prove more American than the American occupiers themselves. US and international media are reporting on the public celebration in Iraq over the fake US withdrawal from Iraqi cities but the mouthpiece of Prince Salman (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat) felt it necessary to write this headline: "Celebrations are more official than public over US withdrawal." And Al-Arabiyya TV (the crude propaganda station owned by King Fahd's brother-in-law) kept writing a headinine over all its Iraqi reports yesterday which said: "Iraqi dissatisfaction over Iranian interferences in Iraq." But if you want to see the quality of the porpaganda of Al-Arabiyya, read this interview with the new US ambassador in Iraq, where the first question centers on "How did you find the region"?--this about a man who has no knowledge or experience in Middle East affairs.

Xe-Blackwater Personnel Shot Iraqi Children, Others in Multiple Incidents
A spate of unprovoked civilian shootings by Xe-Blackwater personnel in Iraq between 2005 and 2008 are detailed in an amended lawsuit filed late Tuesday in Virginia federal court, according to the Washington, D.C. law firm that represents the families of those killed and wounded in the incidents.

Iraqis are too shrewd to fall for an ‘invisible’ occupation
US operations will be suspended for a few days to promote the perception that Iraqi forces are actually in control; Ali al-Adeeb, a senior leader of Mr al-Maliki’s Dawa party, says the Americans will become “invisible”.,dwp_uuid=17aab8bc-6e47-11da-9544-0000779

Unicef praises Syrian support for Iraqi refugees
Dubai: The United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, on Wednesday praised Syrian government efforts in support of Iraqi refugees.

From the FBI vault: The complete Saddam interviews
The National Security Archive has made public the complete set of formal and informal interviews carried out by the FBI with Saddam Hussein following his capture in Iraq in late 2003.  RAW STORY reported last week on the emergence of documents that showed the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation techniques" were not needed to get Saddam to talk -- instead, the FBI chose to build a rapport with the ex-dictator, a strategy that resulted in Saddam eventually opening up to his interrogators.

Hussein Pointed to Iranian Threat:  Specter of Arms Allowed Him to Appear Strong, He Told U.S.
Saddam Hussein told an FBI interviewer before he was hanged that he allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he was worried about appearing weak to Iran, according to declassified accounts of the interviews released yesterday. The former Iraqi president also denounced Osama bin Laden as "a zealot" and said he had no dealings with al-Qaeda.

U.S. and other world news
U.S. spy says just followed orders in Italy kidnap
A former U.S. spy at the center of a kidnapping trial in Italy appeared to acknowledge a role in the abduction of a Muslim cleric but said he was only following orders, according to a rare interview published on Tuesday.

Andy Worthington: Release Of The "Holy Grail" Of Torture Reports Delayed Again
Today was supposed to be the day that the Justice Department -- after two delays -- released an unclassified version of the CIA Inspector General's 2004 Report into the interrogations of "high-value detainees" in the "War on Terror," which Democrat Congressional staffers described as the "holy grail," according to Greg Sargent of the Plum Line, writing in May, "because it is expected to detail torture in unprecedented detail and to cast doubt on the claim that torture works."

Last remaining U.S. Jewish Republican Senator loses seat
The defeat of incumbent Norm Coleman in the drawn-out Minnesota Senate race leaves U.S. Republicans without a Jewish senator for the first time in half a century.

US soldier believed captured by Afghan insurgents

WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier is believed to have been captured by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan's border region, a U.S. military official said on Thursday.

SAUDI BOMBSHELLS, Part 2 : Why US officials blamed Iran
A story leaked by top United States and Saudi officials bolstered the general belief in Washington that Iran masterminded the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 US airmen and wounded 372. The Saudis had already been working to thwart the US investigation, and the new disinformation obscured the trail to Osama bin Laden. - Gareth Porter (Jul 2,'09) This is the second article in a three-part report.

“Arrest of 306 Shi’is on charges of undermining Egypt security”
On June 30, the independent Al-Mesryoon daily carried the following report by Fathi Magdi: “Al-Mesryoon learned from prominent sources that Shi’i cleric Hassan Shehata, the former speaker of the Kobri el-Gam’a mosque, was arrested earlier this month along with dozens of young men among his followers to be interrogated in the utmost secrecy. The sources who requested anonymity told Al-Mesryoon that Shehata who had been laying low for the last 14 years, was arrested in his house in the Center of Cairo on June 22, and was accused along with his group which includes 306 elements of undermining Egyptian national security and of showing contempt to one of the heavenly religions.

Ahmadinejad unwelcome in Egypt: lawyer

An Egyptian Islamist lawyer has filed a complaint with the prosecutor general calling for banning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from entering the country or his arrest, in advance of a meeting he is expected to attend in Egypt later this month.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood unlikely to challenge Mubarak succession

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will avoid confrontation over attempts to install President Hosni Mubarak's son as president because it fears a crackdown by the authorities could destroy the Islamic group.But the group, Egypt's most powerful opposition force, will stay within ever-narrowing margins of freedom the state allows it.

Reports emerge of Syrian-Saudi summit

Days after officials in Washington announced that a US ambassador would soon be sent to Syria, reports have emerged of an upcoming Syrian-Saudi Arabian summit to be held in Damascus that could include Lebanon. Conventional wisdom holds that any improvement in Syrian-Saudi ties generally contributes to increased stability in Lebanon.

Arab dissent finds voice in cyberspace

When Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger and political activist, was detained by prosecutors in April after an altercation with his neighbour, a police officer, he used Twitter, the social networking website, to keep the world updated on his interrogation.

Syria amends honour killing law
Syria's president scraps a law limiting sentences for men who kill their female relatives in the name of family honour.

2 dead, 60 injured in Honduras anti-coup protests
The death toll from protests against the interim Honduran government installed after a military coup increased to two on Monday after a protestor died in hospital.

Honduras new government is censoring journalists
Reporters for The Associated Press were taken away in military vehicles and Venezuela's Telesur network -- and any other station supportive of toppled president Manuel Zelaya -- are still off the air.

Photos of Protests On The Streets Of Honduras
Confrontations between demonstrators opposing the government of RobertoMicheletti Bain and elements of the Honduran armed forces and the national police left around 60 wounded and 5 disappeared protestors, whose whereabouts are still unknown, but that the authorities of the de facto government are trying to ignore the serious human rights implications.

Evo Morales: Obama 'Lied' About Cooperation
LA PAZ, Bolivia — President Evo Morales on Wednesday accused Barack Obama of lying by pledging to end U.S. interventionism and then halting trade benefits that saved Bolivia about $25 million a year. The U.S. Trade Representative announced Tuesday that it was ending the import duty waivers because world's No. 3 cocaine-producing country is not doing enough in the war on drugs, leaving "unconstrained" coca cultivation.
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