Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land Theft and Destruction
IOF troops bulldoze Palestinian lands
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday advanced into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun amidst indiscriminate firing and bulldozed agricultural lands, eyewitnesses reported.

Forced out and knocked down: house demolitions to hit the West Bank
A wave of house demolition orders has been distributed across the West Bank. The houses threatened are being issued the orders on the pretext that they are in Area C, in which Palestinians are not allowed to build. Inhabited and under-construction homes, storage structures and other infrastructure face destruction in the districts of Salfit, Hebron and Qalqilya.

Violence and Aggression
Palestinians: Border Guard officers beat Hawara youth
Residents of Nablus adjacent village say 16-year-old teen was beaten by Border Guard officers for no reason, cite repeated abuse by forces stationed in the area. Border Guard Command investigating.,7340,L-3746470,00.html

Israeli settlers ransack a Palestinian home in northern West Bank
A group of armed Israeli settlers ransacked on Wednesday a Palestinian home located in Bil'a village near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Israeli navy shoots at Gazan fishermen, no injuries
Gaza, July 15, 2009 (Ramattan) - Israeli warships shot at Palestinian fishermen in the northern coast of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Palestinian security sources said.

Three arrested during Jayyus night raid
Occupation forces entered Jayyus in the early hours of Wednesday morning, where they broke into homes and arrested three university students.  According to witnesses at least 10 military jeeps and 65 soldiers entered the village of Jayyus at 3am. Groups of soldiers surrounded a number of areas and broke into family homes without warning. After forcing families from their homes and into the street, soldiers held a number of young men from the village at gunpoint, checking IDs and took several for questioning.

Israeli army kidnaps five Palestinians during pre-dawn invasions of the West Bank
The Israeli army made known that it took five Palestinians from different parts of the West Bank on Wednesday, during overnight invasions.

Campaign to release Palestinian activist arrested in Bil’in
Adeeb Abu Rahme, a leading Palestinian non-violent peace activist was arrested in the weekly Bil’in demonstration against the Apartheid Wall (see the video, Adeeb is the protester in the orange shirt with the mega-phone). The Israeli military is charging Adeeb with “incitement to violence,” a charge that could bring a serious jail term. This charge is the culmination of a new attempt to “break” the non-violent resistance in Palestine by targeting the leaders of the non-violent protests.

Fourth administrative detention order for Entima
[Ramallah, 15 July 2009] – On 7 July 2009, Entima al-Lahham (UA 4/09) was issued with his fourth administrative detention order by the Israeli military commander in the West Bank. The order was reviewed by an Israeli military court on 13 July 2007, and reduced from four to two months. Entima’s latest administrative detention order is now set to expire on 7 September 2009. Entima has been held without charge or trial since 13 July 2008.

Israel accused of mistreating women prisoners (AFP)
AFP - A human rights group slammed Israeli treatment of Palestinian female prisoners in a UN-sponsored report released, saying pregnant women are often shackled on their way to hospitals to give birth.

Prison rule sees women barred from bringing small children to lawyers meetings
Gaza - Ma’an - A prison administration decision made under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being appealed by Palestinian prisoners’ rights groups as a violation of basic freedoms.  The decision prohibits mothers whose young children are imprisoned with them, from taking their children with them during lawyers’ visits.  Last week, Fatima Az-Zak was informed she would have to leave her five-month-old son in her prison cell during her visit with a lawyer from the group “Jerusalem Soul.” When the lawyer learned of the reason Fatima was unable to make the visit, he protested with the prison administration at the Shalom facility.

Prisoners' club: Hadarim slashes bread ration to Palestinian prisoners
The Israeli prison authority in Hadarim has reduced by two thirds the ration of bread provided for the Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian prisoners' club said on Tuesday.

War Crimes
IDF soldier: We used Gazans as human shields
The Israel Defense Forces used Palestinians as human shields during Operation Cast Lead last January despite a 2005 High Court ruling outlawing the practice, a Golani brigade soldier says. He says he did not see Palestinians being used as human shields but was told by his commanders that this occurred.

Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack
Israeli troops were repeatedly encouraged by officers to prioritise their own safety over that of Palestinian civilians when they embarked on the ground invasion of Gaza in January, according to the first direct testimonies of soldiers who served in the operation.

Breaking the Silence: The full report

Video: Israeli soldiers told to 'open fire and don't ask questions'

Israeli DF: Criticism against IDF inappropriate

JERUSALEM, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that criticism on the operations of Israel Defense Force (IDF) was inappropriate, on response to a new released report accusing IDF of behaving without constraint in Gaza offensive.  "Criticism directed at the IDF by one group or another is inappropriate, and misdirected," the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post quoted Barak as saying.

Israeli Injustice System
Charges dropped against settler filmed shooting Palestinians
The State Prosecution said Tuesday that it was dropping charges against a resident of Kiryat Arba who was caught on film shooting at two Palestinians in the West Bank last December.  The prosecution said it made the decision not to try Ze'ev Braude because such a move could expose classified information that might harm the security of the state.

Bedouin burglar's family: What if Jew had been shot?
Family of Khaled al-Atrash who was killed by Shai Dromi when he tried to break into his property, outraged by acquittal verdict. 'If Bedouin had killed Jew, he would sit in jail for many years for murder, not manslaughter,' said burglar's brother.,7340,L-3747035,00.html

Humanitarian Issues/Closures
Soldiers weld shut doors of Jerusalem NGO
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities shut down offices of the Nidal Center for Community Development in the old city of Jerusalem after raiding the offices and ordering employees to evacuate the building on Wednesday.

Fatah Corruption and Collaboration
Abbas's security forces detain 4 Hamas supporters
Security forces loyal to Fatah leader and ex PA chief Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday rounded up four Palestinians in the West Bank city of Tulkarem for supporting Hamas Movement.

Palestinians ban Al-Jazeera for airing Arafat conspiracy allegations
The Palestinian Authority banned Al-Jazeera television from operating in its territory on Wednesday and said it would take legal action over its broadcast of allegations against President Mahmoud Abbas.

Faruq Qaddumi and the Fath Conference
Of course, what you read in foreign language newspapers on the Middle East is often in contrast with what one reads in Arabic newspapers or media. The upcoming Fath conference is the big news and yet it is barely getting any coverage in the Western press. This would be the first Fath conference since I think 1989. It would be fair to say that this has been the most corrupt conference of any movement ever--and before it has even started.

Abbas allies hit out at party rival's "lies"

RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 14 (Reuters) - Supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have dismissed allegations that he once plotted against his late predecessor Yasser Arafat, calling the accusations a smear campaign to wreck party unity.  "This report is full of lies," the Central Committee of the Fatah party said in a statement on its website on Tuesday, referring to allegations made by Farouq al-Qadoumi, the Committee's own general secretary.

Masri: Dahlan’s remarks verified what was revealed by Qaddoumi

MP Mushir Al-Masri stated that the remarks made by Mohamed Dahlan days ago about the ability of Fatah faction to control Gaza during two hours confirmed Farouk Al-Qaddoumi’s statement.

Hamas slams Fayyad’s remarks about protection of Israel’s security
Hamas said that Fayyad’s remarks about the need for deploying PA security forces in the West Bank cities to protect Israel were recognition that his arrests are aimed to liquidate the resistance.

Egyptian Collaboration
Media sources: Egypt stop Viva Palestina aid convey from entering Gaza
The Egyptian Authorities stopped trucks of the Viva Palestina aid convoy from entering the Gaza Strip and allowed the crew 24 hours access.

In Apparent Message to Iran, Israel-Egypt Coordinate Warships in Suez
For the second time in as many weeks, two Israel Navy gunboats openly sailed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea Tuesday. The move, which was apparently coordinated with Egypt, appeared to be a new signal to Iran that Israel's reach could quickly extend to its archenemy's backyard.

Political Developments
Israel furious over Hamas leader's trip to Switzerland
The Foreign Ministry is furious over news that Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official based in the Gaza Strip, recently headed a Hamas delegation to Switzerland for talks with Swiss diplomats.

Police: Case against Lieberman solid
Investigators present AG Mazuz with findings, according to which there is sufficient evidence to indict FM for money laundering, fraud, breach of trust.,7340,L-3746644,00.html

Estimate: Lieberman's party won’t quit government in case of indictment

Politicians raise speculations over Yisrael Beiteinu's future in Coalition following completion of investigation against party leader, with senior Likud members already eyeing Foreign Ministry. Legal experts unsure Lieberman will be charged.,7340,L-3746762,00.html

President Obama addresses Jewish concerns
"He said, 'The United States and Israel were very, very close for eight years, and it produced very little,' " said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, described as one of the more aggressive questioners during the 45-minute session.  The White House did not release a transcript of the meeting, and participants were forbidden to share direct quotes from the president. But at least four participants confirmed Obama's comments, as did a White House official present at the meeting.,0,1886892.story

Blair says West Bank "bottom-up" effort gets result (Reuters)
Reuters - Improving conditions for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank prove that a Palestinian state can be "built from the bottom up while it's being negotiated from the top down," Tony Blair said Monday.

Israel scuttled deal for captive soldier: Mubarak (AFP)
AFP - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak accused Israel of scuttling a deal that was on the verge of ending the three-year captivity in Gaza of soldier Gilad Shalit, in an interview to be published in Israel's top-selling daily on Friday.

Other News

Undercover cops used in fence protests
In a video posted on the Web site of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), three Palestinians wearing shirts over their heads to cover their faces are seen using a metal cutter to dismantle part of the chain-linked security barrier. Suddenly, two other demonstrators approach, pull out guns and knock two of the Palestinian demonstrators to the ground. The crowd realizes that the so-called demonstrators are actually undercover policemen and begins hurling rocks at them. The policemen are then seen firing several shots into the air before herding away the two captured demonstrators.  Sources in the Central Command confirmed on Tuesday that undercover YAMAS border policemen were used to help suppress the demonstrators at Nil'in as part of the IDF's increasing efforts to prevent clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and security forces.  On Friday, the IDF also used its "skunk bomb" - a foul-smelling liquid that is sprayed on protesters, causing them to flee due to the intense odor.

IMF: Palestinian economy showing signs of growth
International Monetary Fund says PA could post its strongest performance in years in 2009, but only if Israel broadens recent efforts to ease restrictions on Palestinian trade and movement.,7340,L-3746890,00.html

Gaza: At least a week until secondary exam results
Gaza – Ma’an – The Ministry of Education in Gaza will need a week to 10 days to finish scoring the Tawjihi Palestinian secondary school exams, Minister Mohammad Askoul announced on Monday.

Arafat’s last interview forms basis for film

AMMAN - It took Palestinian-Australian filmmaker Sherine Salama more than a year to get an interview with former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, and it turned out to be his last before his death in 2004.  Driven by her desire to understand Arafat's "legacy", Salama made a documentary based on that interview titled, "The Last Days of Yasser Arafat", which was screened at the Film House in Amman on Monday evening.

IDF soldier charged with rape
Indictment says soldier tied woman soldier to bed in his room, then forced himself on her; defendant says he was engaged in consensual sexual relationship with complainant.,7340,L-3746696,00.html

British watchdog bans Israeli tourism advert (AFP)
AFP - A British advertising watchdog banned an Israeli tourism poster that implied the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories were undisputed parts of the country.

Israeli Hasbara Efforts
Cyber-tactics gain growing importance in Israel's warfare
Reports from Jerusalem suggest the country's Foreign Ministry has unveiled plans for an "Internet warfare" team. The program recruits members from the public to write on websites in defense of Israel. The successful candidates need to be students of law or politics who speak foreign languages. Others will have a military background. Much of what they will do is to write talkbacks on news sites -- the area usually beneath a news story that allows for public comments.

That commenter on your blog may actually be working for the Israeli government

Straight out of Avigdor Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry: a new Internet Fighting Team! Israeli students and demobilized soldiers get paid to pretend they are just regular folks and leave pro-Israel comments on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The effort is meant to fight the “well-oiled machine” of “pro-Palestinian websites, with huge budgets… with content from the Hamas news agency.” The approach was test-marketed during Israel’s assault on Gaza, and by groups like Give Israel Your United Support, a controversial effort to use instant-access technology to crowd-source Israel advocates to fill in flash polls or vote up key articles on social networking sites.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
UK cuts Israel weapons contracts--and we should too
Good news from the United Kingdom: pressure from human rights groups to cut off weapons shipments to Israel given the role of foreign-provided arms in the human rights catastrophe of the December-January assault on the Gaza Strip is starting to pay off. The BBC reports that the "UK has revoked five export licences for equipment to the Israeli navy because of actions during Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza this year."

Chicago activists picket Israeli consulate as part of international day of action against house evictions and demolitions in Palestine
On Monday, the 13th of July, around 35 Chicago activists picketed the Israeli consulate in response to a call to action from Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem currently facing house eviction or demolition at the hands of Israeli authorities. When one demonstrator attempted to deliver an eviction notice to the staff at the consulate, similar to ones Palestinian families receive when Israel informs them that they are to be evicted or their homes demolished, he was prevented from even entering the building.

New Profile
As with our earlier (two) updates, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued and faithful support of New Profile during these critical times.  During the recent months your visible show of support has been truly significant and heartening.  The ongoing attempt to delegitimize New Profile is being played out, for now, on the forms and desks of bureaucrats.  There are two official scenarios already in process: 1) A petition to the High Court of Justice to revoke New Profile's registration as a non-profit organization, which would amount to shutting off our legal channel for receiving funds; 2) The
criminal investigation of New Profile for alleged incitement and assistance with obtaining fraudulent exemptions from the army.

Popular Palestinian singer performs for Gazans via video

Gaza - Ma'an - After being prevented by Israeli authorities from entering the Gaza Strip to distribute her new album, Nowar Nisan (April Blossoms), renowned Palestinian singer Reem Al-Banna performed on Thursday via a video link.  The popular musician held the concert from her home in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth, dedicating the performance to the children of Jabaliya, and addressing the destruction wrought by Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza last winter.

Hamas' Choice, By ALI ABUNIMAH
In a major policy speech on June 25, 2009, Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas' political bureau, tried to do what may be impossible: present the Islamist Palestinian resistance organization as a willing partner in a US-led peace process, while holding on to his movement's political principles and base.

Why US diplomats are visiting Israeli settlers
The Obama administration has made firm demands for Israel to halt all settlement expansion. But political officers are making trips to talk with settlers directly.

The Discourse It Is a-Changin': ABC News reports on Israeli plan to 'ethnically cleanse' road signs
If you need any indication that the discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is changing in the US just check out this report from ABC News - Israel at War ... Over Road Signs?: Israeli Transport Ministry Accused of Plan to Ethnically Cleanse Road Signs. The story outlines plans the new Israeli Minister of Transportation has to change the "the names of more than 2,500 road signs, doing away with Arabic place names and replacing them with simple translations of Hebrew names." Some examples given would be dropping the Arabic al-Nasra for Nazareth and using the Hebrew Natsrat, and more controversially dropping the Arabic name for Jerusalem Al Quds and only using the Hebrew Yerushalayim. Although a Ministry spokesperson says the changes are being made solely for the benefit of drivers, a communications adviser to the Minister is a bit more upfront, saying opposition to the changes are an "attempt by anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist elements to annul Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state. Anyone willing to refer to Jerusalem as al-Quds is collaborating with the Palestinian propaganda." -ethnically-cleanse-road-signs.html

Once Bush's poodle, now Blair is Bibi's

Rob Browne writes:  The Bibi and Blair show, which was featured [credulously] by PBS's NOW show last week,  resumed today in Haaretz, discussing ways to improve one side of the Palestinian economy.  Netanyahu has the nerve to tell Blair that the West Bank Palestinians could have more economic advantages if they were more cooperative with Israel.  How much more subservience does he want from these people before he condescendingly gives them his Shock Doctrine neo-conservative economic "benefits"?

Here LIES Jonathan Hoffman of the Zionist Federation

I'm late with this so apologies. Many readers will be aware of Ben White's new book on the segregationist entity that is the State of Israel. Well I haven't read it but it must be very good because the zios are pulling out all the stops to rubbish it. The American Jewish Committee hosted Jonathan Hoffman on their Z-word blog to denounce Ben as a liar and they have so far refused Ben White space to point out the various falsehoods in the "review".

Sotomayor for the bench, Jim Crow for the West Bank (Where does the rubber meet the road on Jewish advocacy for minorities?)
All this week you will hear Jewish voices lifted on behalf of Sonia Sotamayor as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. No doubt all the dozen or so Jewish senators will vote for her confirmation. Like other minority strivers before her, Sotomayor's story resonates for American Jews because it recalls our own struggle to come inside the American establishment. Republican Arlen Specter praised diversity yesterday and said that it was wrong that it took till 1967 for a president to name a black justice to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall.

The Lede: Debate Over Israeli ‘Good Fences’ Ad
Israeli bloggers are debating a new television commercial for Israel's largest cell phone company which seems to make the "good fences make good neighbors" argument in favor of the controversial separation barrier being built in and around the West Bank.

Akiva Eldar / How to apply PR spin to the settlement issue
America's best Jewish minds are wracking their brains, trying to find a magic formula that will put the settlements close to the hearts of Israel's supporters, not to mention its critics. A new guide to the perplexed, disseminated by the leadership of the Israel Project, the organization spearheading Israel's public relations efforts in the United States, offers a glimpse into its very own internal confusion.

West Bank fence not done and never will be, it seems, By Amos Harel

Seven years after construction work began on the West Bank separation fence, the project seems to have run aground. Work has slowed significantly since September 2007, and today, after the state has spent about NIS 9.5 billion, only about 60 percent of the more limited, revised route has been completed.

Freezing Settlement Construction a Defining Test of Israel's Intentions
A year or so after the signing of the Oslo accords, I was one of a group of Palestinian journalists who were invited by Shimon Peres to his office at the Israel Foreign Ministry in West Jerusalem. When questions focused on continued settlement activities, the then foreign minister tried to deny them. When a journalist from the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center presented documented facts about land confiscations, he reluctantly admitted the fact, but said that Palestinians should not worry about these issues since they will soon have sovereignty over their own state and therefore these issues will become inconsequential.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Speech at Bar Ilan University
Introduction:  The speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, June 14 at Bar Ilan University's Begin–Sadat Center in Tel Aviv, came in the context of his attempt to respond and deal with a new political situation created by the new US administration and the EU. This new policy is aimed at aborting previous double-standard approaches for dealing with certain aspects of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. On the one hand, the US Administration has always demanded that Palestinians fully commit to the Road Map and its conditions, while it did not request the same level of commitment from Israel.

Israeli Author's Zionist Novel Creates Controversy
HERZLIYA, Israel -- The idea for Israeli author Alon Hilu's latest novel, "The House of Dajani," came to him one day in a Tel Aviv cafe when he began mentally stripping the city to its roots.  Where he ended was with an Arab boy in the 1890s, at his family farm near what would become the Jewish metropolis, hallucinating about a future in which an army invades and builds skyscrapers over the land.

Israel’s Dr. Strangelove, by Ira Glunts

Dr. Uzi "Strangeglovitch" Arad mocked proponents of a Palestinian state and taunted advocates of an Israeli/Palestinian peace process this week in a revealing interview published on Friday, July 10 in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. Arad also made provocative remarks about blockading Iran and retaining much of the Golan Heights.

"Who will hold us accountable?"
"I will never forget the image of the elderly woman whose son was dying in a hospital in Egypt. She only wanted to be with him. Crying, her hand touching the glass window of the office of the Egyptian intelligence services, she pleaded, 'Please, please. I beg you, show mercy, let me go in.'" Natalie Abou Shakra traveled to Gaza a week before Israel's massive attack last winter. She comments on what it is like to be imprisoned in Gaza, with its people, banned from leaving as Egypt works hand in hand with Israel to enforce the blockade.

Praying Next to the Dead in Gaza
I headed to the neighborhood mosque for Friday prayer here in Beit Lahia last week. For being in a small farmers’ town, the mosque was unusually packed. I sat down just as the sermon began. I couldn’t help but to take a moment to look around at the mosque congregation surrounding me. It was at that moment that I realized that I was sitting next to a funeral casket with a dead person actually in it. I jumped in shock the moment I realized that it wasn’t just a decoration in the prayer hall.

The difference a "comedian, actress, activist and dancing gimp" can make - By Deema Dabis
"I think that the biggest difference I make is that I actually show people that a disabled person can be members of society. "They look at me and they go woah, she walks funny but she seems to have all this power and she has no fear and her eyes are always looking straight ahead, she doesn't look down," said founder of Maysoon's Kids, Maysoon Zaayid. "I want people to think that hey, if I can do that, there is hope for my kid."

Israeli spy rings threaten fragile peace between Lebanon, Israel
The UN Security Council has warned that the existence of a large Israeli-run espionage network in Lebanon could threaten a fragile peace established between the two countries following the end of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. Lebanon's citizens and its security establishment have been rocked by the arrest of over 30 Lebanese military.

Lebanon demands removal of Israeli observation post (AFP)
AFP - The Lebanese army on Tuesday demanded the removal of an Israeli observation post set up near a disputed border area, an army spokesman said.

Suicide bomber kills 6 in Iraq's Anbar province (AP)
AP - A suicide bomber on Wednesday killed six people, including an Iraqi policeman, in an attack on security forces in a former insurgent stronghold in Iraq's western Anbar province, police said.

Tuesday: 10 Iraqis Killed, 3 Wounded
At least 10 Iraqis were killed and three more were wounded. One of the victims may have been dead since the Iran-Iraq War. Meanwhile, several legal cases are winding their way through Spanish, British, and even U.S. military courts. Also, vehicle bans continued in Christian areas of Ninewa province.

IRAQ: Christian community faces new wave of violence
Source: IRIN A new wave of violence targeting Iraq's Christian community has raised questions about the safety of religious minorities amid concerns about Iraqi forces' ability to maintain security after the 30 June withdrawal of US combat forces from cities to outlying bases.

Iraqi government seeks tribes’ help to quell violence

The Iraqi government wants Arab tribes to play a bigger role in fighting the latest upsurge in violence, a senior official said.   Ahmad al-Basri, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s advisor for tribal affairs, said Arab tribes have reaffirmed their allegiance to the government following the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces from Iraqi cities.\

Iraq unions fight foreign oil players
Unions are lobbying against Iraq's new oil contract with BP and China's CNPC, but the weakened labour movement may have a hard time thwarting deals desperately needed to revive a struggling oil sector. The Federation of Oil Unions of Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq have condemned the Oil Ministry's decision to award a foreign consortium the contract to develop Rumaila, the country's largest producing oilfield.

Baghdad's antique shops tell city's sad story (AP)

AP - Antique dealer Riyadh al-Khafaf has so few customers he hasn't bothered to dust his collection of fine metalware from the early 20th century. Other dealers say they can go for days without seeing even a browser.

'Birthright' trip provider: Iraq war was 'great for Israel'
“Momo’s lectures on the unsurpassed beauty of Jewish women, among other topics,” continued Stein, “are especially risky given the trip’s reputation as a secular option for non-religious Jews.”...  "The right-wing perspectives presented were rather unsettling, and the indoctrination was unappealing,” said a 23-year-old 2005 Oranim trip participant, who requested to remain anonymous due to his work at an American Jewish organization. “[Momo] spoke to our group, saying, ‘Some people say the Iraq war was good for Israel. Wrong. The Iraq war was great for Israel,’ representing a rather astonishingly narrow viewpoint.”

The Remaking of Iraq
Anthony Shadid has, without a doubt, been the finest American mainstream journalist to cover Iraq in the period after the 2003 invasion. He’s now back in Baghdad for the Washington Post, telling the saddest story of all (”In the City of Cement“). Here’s part of what he wrote just after American troops largely withdrew to the outskirts of town: “Augustus boasted that he found Rome a city of bricks and made it a city of marble. Baghdad was another city of bricks, and a coterie of American generals turned it into a city of cement. Their concrete is everywhere – from the sprawling Green Zone to the barriers and blast walls that line almost every street – reorienting the physical, spiritual, and social geography that for more than a millennium was dictated by the lazy bends in the Tigris River.

Ordinary lives

Iraqis yearn for a future without the threat of violence.

U.S. and other world news
Chomsky on the elections in Lebanon and Iran

In Israel, US envoy maps peace with Syria (The Christian Science Monitor)

The Christian Science Monitor - The arrival in Jerusalem of a US diplomat with a longstanding interest in bringing about Israeli-Syrian peace is fueling speculation that the Obama administration is trying to relaunch negotiations between Jerusalem and Damascus.

U.S. Lobbyists With Clinton Ties Hired to Defend Honduran Coup Regime

Supporters of the coup in Honduras have begun hiring advisers and lobbyists with close ties to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an attempt to strengthen support in Washington for the coup. A Honduran business group has hired lobbyist Lanny Davis, who served as White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton. The coup government has also hired Bennet Ratcliff, a public relations specialist with ties to former President Bill Clinton.

Behind the mind games in the Gulf
From fighter aircraft equipped with bunker-busting munitions to submarines armed with cruise missiles, Israel certainly has the hardware to make a serious attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Whatever the mind games and the rhetoric, the claims and denials, it remains highly unlikely, though, that an attack could avoid some form of direct United States involvement.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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