Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land Theft and Property Destruction
Israel announces next land annexation near Jenin
Jenin – Ma’an – Israel will confiscate 115 dunums from the northern West Bank town of Ya’bad west of Jenin for military purposes, officials told the Palestinian civil liaison office Tuesday.

Israel to go ahead with construction of 450 East J settlement homes
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities recently revived a plan to build 450 residential units in a settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem, the Hebrew version of the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday.

More E. Jerusalem evictions likely

RAMALLAH: The Jewish-dominated Jerusalem municipality is planning to seize more Palestinian homes and real estate in East Jerusalem even as Israel has quietly stopped approving new West Bank projects in an attempt to heal a rift with the United States , Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

The Israeli military levels Palestinian owned shops in northern West Bank

Israeli troops destroyed on Wednesday at dawn five Palestinian owned shops in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.

Six Arab families from East Jerusalem appeal eviction
The eviction of six Arab families from their apartments in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood this month stemmed from serious mistakes by the authorities, including the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, the former residents wrote in an appeal to the Jerusalem District Court.

Quiet slicing of the West Bank makes abstract prayers for peace obscene
The dream underlying Israel's plans is encapsulated by a wall that separates a settler's town from the Palestinian town on a nearby West Bank hill. The Israeli side of the wall is painted with the image of the countryside beyond the wall – but without the Palestinian town, depicting just nature, grass and trees. Is this not ethnic cleansing at its purest, imagining the outside beyond the wall as empty, virginal and waiting to be settled?

Fact Sheet: Sheikh Jarrah, Aug 2009

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Amnesty int'l withdraws from Israel concert fund following campaign
Amnesty International has announced that it will abstain from any involvement in the Leonard Cohen concert in Tel Aviv and will not be party to any fund that benefits from the concert's proceeds. Amnesty International's announcement followed an international outcry over the human rights organization's reported involvement in the Leonard Cohen concert fund, and an earlier international call for Cohen to boycott apartheid Israel.

When the wall comes down the protests will stop - Gush Shalom
Villagers and internationals during a Bilin protest [MaanImages], "Instead of carrying out late night raids on the village of Bil'in, arrest people and drag them to detention and court, the army should have done a simple thing – implement at last the Supreme Court ruling of two years ago, move the fence erected on the Bil'in lands and return to villagers their lands and source of income, which were taken in order to extend the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modi'in Illit" said Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom, upon entering the military court at Ofer Camp near Ramallah.

Mohammad Khatib released from Israeli prison
Monday, 17 August 2009: Mohammad Khatib, member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements has been released on the condition that he report to a police station with a monitor every Friday until 5pm for the duration of his trial. He is available for interviews.

August 2009: Night arrests in Bil'in
Since June, armed forces have been entering the village of Bil'in at night and arresting residents. The soldiers arrive at the village, which lies west of Ramallah, with Israel Security Agency agents holding lists of persons suspected of involvement in the weekly demonstrations held in the village against the construction of the Separation Barrier.

Bil’in’s children demonstrate

Today, the first nonviolent demonstration for the children of Bil’in took place to protest against the night raids and the many arrests of young boys in the village. They carried banners and chanted slogans like “We want to sleep,” “No more night raids,” “Let us live,” “We want Peace,” and so on. The children lead the demonstration toward the Apartheid Wall with villagers and Palestinian and international activists following them. At the Wall they were met by two soldiers who were on regular duty at the Wall.

Ramzi Kysia of the Free Gaza Movement: "Our primary work lies in our own communities"
Ramzi Kysia of the Free Gaza Movement has a great article over at Electronic Intifada on nonviolent direct action, solidarity, and struggle. Here's Kysia on the importance of activism in home communities and the role of civil society in holding goverments accountable to international law.

Irish construction giant digs deeper in occupation
A recent acquisition by the Israeli subsidiary of brick and mortar giant Irish CRH has placed the European conglomerate under increased pressure from Palestine solidarity activists. Irish CRH, formerly known as Cement Roadstone Holding, owns 25 percent of the Mashav Group, an Israeli construction firm. Mashav recently announced that it will acquire Hanson Israel, a subsidiary of Germany's HeidelbergCement. With the acquisition of Hanson Israel, CRH is further entrenched in violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Derek Graham in Ireland to get support for the next Free Gaza voyage in October.

M-1 Blogs 24 Hours In G.A.Z.A.
You may have heard me say “I work for the People, the streets are my office”. Well, my recent mission to Palestine was a testament to that statement.  Through the Existence is Resistance organization, I bore witness to a very moving and eye-opening experience. As a man-at-arms in an African Liberation Movement in the U.S. which is currently in the process of re-organizing and re-inventing itself in these times, I see the role of international solidarity critically important to our future world view. So when asked “why are you all the way over there when there is a war going on in your own community?”, I proudly quote dead prez’ “Psychology” (Let’s Get Free, 2000):” My enemy’s enemy is my man!”

Open call for new logo design: boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign


A woman and her child injured by Israeli military fire east of Gaza
A Palestinian woman and her child were injured as Israeli tanks opened fire on Wednesday at homes located east of Gaza City.

IOF troops advance into eastern Gaza amidst indiscriminate fire
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday advanced into eastern Gaza city amidst indiscriminate shooting but no casualties were reported, local sources told the PIC reporter.

Muslim officials refer to Israelis breaking lock of Al Aqsa as bid to take control of its management

Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN – Israeli police broke the locks on one of the gates of Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem’s Old City.

Jerusalem shop owners close in protest of arbitrary Israeli fines
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian-owned shops in the Old City of Jerusalem closed on Wednesday protesting multiple arbitrary fines by West Jerusalem municipal officers who have invaded several shops and harassed owners.

Israeli forces impose curfew in Azzun; settlers said injured
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Three Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman were reportedly hospitalized with mild injuries after stones were thrown at them in the West Bank village of Azzun, southwest of Tulkarem on Tuesday night.

The Israeli military kidnaps 12 Palestinians from West Bank communities
The Israeli military kidnapped on Wednesday 12 Palestinian civilians during morning invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities.

Abbas's militias kidnap office director of PLC speaker, detained MPs condemn

Militias loyal to former PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday evening kidnapped Baha' Faraj, the office director of Palestinian legislative council speaker Dr. Aziz Dwaik.

Mother of three Palestinian prisoners appeals for allowing her visitation
The mother of three Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation authority (IOA) jails has appealed to human rights groups and the Red Cross to pressure the IOA into allowing her to visit her sons.

PPS: 47 Palestinian prisoners died in captivity due to medical neglect
The Palestinian prisoners' Society (PPS) has said that 1,500 Palestinian sick captives are threatened with death in Israeli jails due to the deliberate medical neglect.

Humanitarian Issues/Human Rights/Siege
OPT: Where cancer sufferers get only painkillers
Source: IRIN Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of As-Shifa, Gaza's primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumours in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut.

 Israel rejects Ramadan commodities, stationery into Gaza
GAZA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israel rejected a Palestinian request to allow new goods and commodities the people in Gaza Strip need ahead of Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, an official said on Wednesday.

Israeli blockade degrades life in Gaza
UN: Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has resulted in the devastation of livelihoods, a rise in food insecurity, and an energy, water and sanitation crisis for the territory's 1.5 million Palestinians, the United Nations said Monday.

Feature: Resilience of Gaza's people lifts spirits of UN aid worker
The recent sight of thousands of kites in the clear summer Gaza sky, setting a new world record, is one of the many pockets of unexpected joy that propels the work of Johanne van Dijk, a United Nations aid worker in the area.  

Amira Hass / why is israel limiting movement of Palestinian-Canadian businessman?, Amira Hass
Mohammed Sabawi, 65, could have played a leading role in all the stories about the economic revival in the West Bank's cities. His goal of "strengthening the economy of Palestine by utilizing its own capabilities" sounds like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vision of "economic peace." In recent months, however, the Palestinian-Canadian businessman has been considering reducing his business activity here, after Israel started limiting his freedom of movement and that of his son and business partner, Khaled. The Sabawis are considering Cyprus as an alternate location.

Annual day set to garner release of remains of those killed in the field and prison
Bethlehem / PNN - Minister of Detainees and Ex Detainees Affairs, Issa Qaraqe’, said today that 96 people were killed in Israeli prisons since 1967.  The last was Mousa Juma of Jerusalem who died due to medical negligence.

Pink Floyd frontman narrates UN film on Israeli barrier (AFP)

AFP - The United Nations on Wednesday premiered a film narrated by former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on the plight of Palestinians living in the shadow of Israel's controversial separation barrier.

Palestinian Refugees
Children of the Desert in al-Tanf
August 19, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Ali likes drawing - everything. Trees and flowers, houses with happy families inside, gifts for Eiyad (Islamic celebrations), children playing in colorful parks. He does not draw from life, as Al Tanf is a camp devoid of greenery and gifts. "I'd like to live like any other kid in the world", Ali says while staring absently at the wall that separates the camp from the desert just a few metres from his family's tent.

Fatah`s gauntlet
Amira Hass - Haaretz - The decision by Fatah`s Sixth Congress that the movement is sticking to negotiations as a means of achieving independence, statehood and peace is an admission that the use of arms during the second intifada was disastrous. That is a difficult admission for a movement founded on the sanctification of the armed struggle. And despite being tacit, it is a brave admission for Fatah at a time when most Palestinians are convinced that Israel does not want peace.

MIDEAST:  Embattled Hamas Shows its Moderate Face

RAMALLAH, Aug 19 (IPS) - The Islamic resistance movement Hamas's rule of Gaza is facing protracted political and military opposition from within Gaza, other Palestinian territories and abroad.

Hamas leaders release 55 Fatah prisoners in goodwill gesture
The militant Hamas rulers of Gaza say they're releasing 55 prisoners from the rival Fatah movement as a gesture for the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Radical Gaza Islamists vow to defy Hamas (AFP)
AFP - A number of radical Islamist groups vowed on Tuesday to defy with force any attempt by the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip to rein them in following last week's deadly clashes.

Salafist group and Hamas, trade accusations

After Hamas security forces and its Al Qassam fighters managed to kill the leader of Salafi and Jihad Group, Jund Allah, Abdul-Latif Abu Mousa who declared on Friday the establishment of a Muslim Emirate in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the Salafists group continued to trade accusations.

Journalists banned from Gaza Strip hospitals and Rafah until further notice

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the Hamas interior ministry's decision to deny Palestinian and foreign journalists access to the southern city of Rafah and to all hospitals in the Gaza Strip until further notice. The ban was issued on 14 August 2009, after fighting broke out in Rafah between the Hamas government and a radical Islamist group.

Political Developments
Compensation for Palestinian Refugees
Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reports US, Egyptian leaders' White House meeting Tuesday will focus on initiative for resolving Israeli-Arabs conflict, in which Palestinians will waive right of return in exchange for compensation. Jerusalem will be joint capital of Israel, demilitarized Palestinian state.,7340,L-3763447,00.html

eres: Israel, PA, U.S. ready for 3-way summit

President Shimon Peres told reporters during an official visit to Russia on Wednesday that he welcomed a future meeting between President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Settlement Building Is in ‘Waiting Period,’ Israel’s Housing Minister Says
Israel said that no approval had been given for new housing projects in the West Bank since late March, but said that the hiatus did not constitute a formal freeze.
Extreme right slams housing minister as 'leftist with a kippah'
Following Ynet's report on de factor freeze on settlement building, MK Ben Ari and his colleagues embark on protest campaign saying Housing Minister Ariel Atias 'continuing on path of Oslo criminals'.,7340,L-3763871,00.html

Turkey, Jordan warn Israel on Jerusalem settlements (AFP)

AFP - Turkey and Jordan warned Israel Wednesday that settlements in east Jerusalem threatened peace efforts, amid press reports that the Jewish state is to revive construction plans in the annexed region.

Other News

U.S.: Israeli travel restrictions on U.S. citizens in West Bank 'unacceptable'
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday criticized Israeli restrictions placed on foreign nationals entering the West Bnak via the Allenby Bridge, calling the new regulations 'unacceptable'.

One-Third of Israeli soldiers could refuse evacuation orders, Israeli report reveals
Israeli online daily Haaretz stated that a memo distributed among commander of Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank states that using Israeli soldier to enforce the evacuation of settlements might lead troops and army commanders to refuse such orders.

Special IOF forces train on climbing Aqsa walls

The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage has warned that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) are training on climbing the holy Aqsa Mosque's walls in occupied Jerusalem.

Artist explores iconography within Palestinian life today, particularly during era of occupation

Bethlehem / PNN - The work of iconographer Ian Ambrose is being featured this week at Dar Annadwa, the Cultural Center in Bethlehem's Old City.  The opening begins at 5 pm Thursday at Dar Annadwa’s Al Khouf Gallery.  Ambrose is a British expatriate who has been living and working in the Middle East for several years.

Mobile Madness, By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH    
For years, I have had an Israeli mobile chip for my cell phone since I live in Jerusalem. Orange was my company of choice for no particular reason except that it had excellent reception in Jerusalem and relatively good reception in certain areas of the West Bank. Except at the office, which is on the outskirts of Ramallah. There my acquaintances would often complain that my mobile phone had no service or that it would cut off mid-sentence. So, I bought a chip from Jawwal, the official Palestinian mobile service provider in the West Bank and Gaza, and inserted it into my two-chip Samsung phone. Now, I was fully connected, both in Ramallah and at home. Once again, the Palestinian-Israeli divide had seeped into my (and practically all Palestinians') everyday lives.

Abbas's Sudan trip is ethical | Nicholas Blincoe
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, invites accusations of hypocrisy with his visit to Sudan today for talks with President Omar al-Bashir. Back in February, Abbas asked the international criminal court to investigate Israel's conduct in its invasion of Gaza. In March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Bashir for his government's action in Darfur. Abbas has never expressed an opinion on the moves to arrest Bashir, either for or against, but his visit can only be interpreted as tacit support for the Sudanese administration. In all conscience, can one support an international investigation against one country, while ignoring the work of the ICC in another?

Huckabee in the Holy Land, Stephen M. Walt
Former (future?) GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has been on a visit to Israel this week, sponsored by a pro-settler organization. According to the Associated Press, Huckabee said "'there is no room for a Palestinian state' in the middle of the Jewish homeland, and Israel should be able to build settlements wherever it wants." He also said "The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That's what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic."

Huckabee Offers Palestinians State "Some Place Else", Amjad Atallah
In a move sure to antagonize the Onion for not having come up with it first, former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee endorsed Israeli control over the occupied West Bank and rejected the "two-state solution." Instead, the Southern Baptist preacher suggested that Palestinians should "have a place of their own" some place else.  Both my parents immigrated to Indiana from the Palestinian town of Ramallah in the early 1960s, before Israel's occupation in 1967. Like many Palestinians in the Diaspora, they would have been happy with a secular democratic state in the entirety of historic Palestine/Eretz Israel with equal rights for both Jews and Arabs. But also like many Palestinians, convinced that Israelis would never agree to granting equality to all Palestinians, they have supported attempts to create a rump Palestinian state in the parts of Palestine occupied by Israel in 1967 where Palestinians could exercise their right to self-determination.

Optional and problematic

Ghassan Khatib - Bitterlemons - Phase II calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders for a transitional period. From a Palestinian perspective, this has serious problems, but the Palestinian side was able to live with the document because it stipulates that the clause about "provisional borders" was optional and would be implemented only if the parties agreed. In other words, the second phase does not have the same level of binding commitment that the first and last phases embody.

Obama and the Israel Lobby - Part two - A strategic relationship

Also in the news is the attack of a senior Israeli diplomat against right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long supported settlement expansion in the West Bank. The diplomat, Nadav Tamir, feels that Netanyahu is risking support from American Jews by publicly disagreeing with Obama over the settlements. Tamir aptly points out that American Jews are not unified behind the state of Israel and the Israel Lobby on the issue of settlement expansion. This conclusion is supported by J Street, a Jewish-American political group that supports an end to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, a two-state solution, and an end to settlement expansion.

The Prince of Darkness and The Wall

USA, August 19, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)-The pugnacious political columnist, Robert D. Novak, nicknamed "the prince of darkness," who died at 78 on August 18, 2009, was the first mainstream media reporter to shine a light on the “Michshol Hafrada” which is Hebrew for the "Separation Wall" which translates to "Apartheid Wall" in Afrikaan.

Netanyahu 'Scores Points' In Israel For Standing Up To Obama

JERUSALEM, Aug. 18 -- For five months, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been fending off U.S. pressure to halt the expansion of West Bank settlements. Now he is reaping dividends for his defiance.

Rest in Heaven, Baby Fariss by Rana Mohammed

Gaza, August 19, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- There is no place for fiction in Gaza. People's lives are filled with too many hard facts that can fascinate any writer or dramatis. Not even the best of Hollywood movies can recreate the scenes of the Gaza war. The mind cannot even imagine the horror inflicted.

Mubarak's priorities, As`ad Abukhalil
"Egypt[ian regime] is working hard to secure the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, but Israel has added "terms and conditions" that are impeding progress, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview over the weekend with the American television station PBS." I have no doubt. I have no doubt that Mubarak treats every Israeli terrorist soldier as if he is his son. [end]

The Egyptian Authorities uncover five tunnels at the borders with Gaza
The Egyptian military uncovered  five tunnels at the borders with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Obama speech in Cairo allayed Muslim concerns: Mubarak (AFP)
AFP - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hailed Tuesday US President Barack Obama's keynote speech in Cairo in June, saying the address had allayed the concerns of the Islamic world about US intentions.

Who is likely to lead after Egypt's Mubarak?

August 19, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Washington, bringing with him a large retinue of advisors, ministers, and assorted hangers-on. But only two of them really count, at least for those trying to figure out who will succeed one of the Middle East"s longest-serving leaders.

Riz Khan - US-Egypt relations - 18 Aug 09 - Part 1

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, is visiting Washington for the first time in five years to meet his US counterpart on Tuesday. On Tuesday's Riz Khan, we look at the changing nature of US-Egypt relations and what may lie ahead if power transfers from father to son.

Riz Khan - US-Egypt relations - 18 Aug 09 - Part 2

Israel's cluster bomb maps useless, says head of Army demining center
The information provided by Israel concerning the locations of dropped cluster bombs during the summer 2006 war was useless, according to the head of the Lebanese Demining Center Brigadier Mohammad Fahmi."What benefit can we get from such information after three years, and after witnessing 50 deaths and 350 injuries?" he asked on Friday during the launch of a new NGO.

Saudi backed Hariri aims to marginalize Aoun and Lebanon's Christians yet again
Labib Chemali - In the latest round of negotiations to form Lebanon's cabinet, things have continued to take an even uglier  turn.  Lead by Saadedine Hariri of the Future Movement, the March 14 coalition and their relative parliamentary majority was dealt a body blow weeks ago with the defection of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, leaving members of the March 14 coalition at each other's throats in order to secure a bigger share of ministers for themselves.

Lebanon emits more greenhouse gases than world average
Lebanon emits more greenhouse gases per capita than the world average, said an environment ministry expert during a workshop held at AUB.

Workers in Lebanon, As`ad Abukhalil
Ziad sent me this picture. He took it in the Biqa`: he says that the men on top of the car are workers but he could not identify their ethnicity or nationality. (click link)

Lebanonese news, As`ad Abukhalil
Laure sent me this: "You will find this very funny. In connection to what ziad sent you earlier re Lebanon VS China basketball game, a new group was created on facebook named "Petition for FIBA to give Lebanon a Wildcard invitation to the World Cup" The reason listed are: that the refree was the main reason Lebanon lost to China, Basketball is the # 1 sport in Lebanon, Lebanese players are interesting!!!.... but the most funny is that " Lebanon can be full of surprises, remember we won France in 2006, for example"!!!!! 13,510 members already joined the group and it is growing by the minute in the potato land! "  [end]

Baghdad bombings kill 75 (AFP)
AFP - A series of devastating attacks across Baghdad killed at least 75 people on Wednesday, in the worst day of carnage to hit the Iraqi capital since US troops pulled out of the conflict-hit nation's cities.

Doctor kidnapped, two killed in northern Iraq (AFP)
AFP - A Christian doctor was kidnapped and two people were killed in attacks by armed gunmen in the restive northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, police said.

Tuesday: 1 Iraqi Killed, 7 Wounded
At least one Iraqi was killed and seven more were wounded in light violence. The important news coming out of Iraq today, however, deals with militants. U.S. authorities are releasing a number of Shi’ite militants they would rather keep incarcerated. Also, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave Syria a list of suspects he wants extradited to Iraq and asked Syria to help prevent fighters from crossing the border.

Iraqis find Iranian-made rockets after US attacked
U.S.-backed Iraqi troops seized a launcher loaded with more than a dozen Iranian-made rockets and detained three suspected militants after an attack against the American base outside the southern city of Basra, officials said Tuesday.

Mistrust over Sunni militias threatens Iraq stability (AFP)
AFP - At a desolate lot filled with car wrecks in the Dora neighbourhood of south Baghdad, members of one of the Sunni militias recruited to fight Al-Qaeda proudly show how they got rid of the jihadists.

killings in Iraq, As`ad Abukhalil
"The killings began in the vast Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, and spread to many cities across Iraq. Mahdi Army spokesmen have promoted fears about the "third sex" and the "feminization" of Iraq men, and suggested that militia action was the remedy. Some people told Human Rights Watch that Iraqi security forces have colluded and joined in the killing." Good for Human Rights Watch for issuing this report. I just hope that they notice that the American invasion of Iraq has killed Iraqi gays, lesbians, heterosexuals, and asexuals alike. [end]

Iraq seeks stimulus for Anbar, which bled jobs as well as lives (McClatchy Newspapers)

McClatchy Newspapers - RAMADI, Iraq -  The rubble's gone from the explosions and bombs that tore up the commercial center of this western Iraqi city, but the jobs haven't returned.

Basra’s Blacks Claim Discrimination
Descendents of slaves say they want more political rights. By Abduladhim Karim in Basra (ICR No. 301, 18-Aug-09)

Blackwater Still Armed in Iraq, By Jeremy Scahill
Despite the Iraqi government's announcement earlier this year that it had canceled Blackwater's operating license, the US State Department continues to allow Blackwater operatives in Iraq to remain armed. A State Department official told The Nation that Blackwater (which recently renamed itself Xe Services) is now operating in Iraq under the name "US Training Center" and will continue its armed presence in the country until at least September 3. That means Blackwater will have been in Iraq nearly two years after its operatives killed seventeen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square.

Maliki sees the light in Damascus
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, currently visiting Syria, has signed accords that will increase economic and cultural ties between the countries. Far more important is Maliki's realization that he needs the clout that Damascus has among all the players in Iraq if he is to resolve escalating problems relating to the oil-rich region of Kirkuk and the Sunni community.

U.S. and other world news
Scalia says there’s nothing unconstitutional about executing the innocent
In Justice Scalia’s world, the law has no problem with sending an innocent man to die. One wonders why we even bother to have a Constitution.

Sources: UN watchdog hiding evidence of Iran nukes program
The world's nuclear weapons watchdog is hiding data on Iran's drive to obtain nuclear arms, senior Western diplomats and Israeli officials told Haaretz.

Manufacturing Consent For Attack On Iran: Peres: Nuclear-armed Iran threatens Israel with 'airborne death camp'
Peres relayed Israel's concerns during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi on Monday.

Families of Jordanian prisoners plea for action - 18 Aug 09
At least 29 Jordanians are serving life sentences in Israeli prisoners and another 29 are missing in Israel. The families of these detainees and missing persons want their government to use its relations with Israel, with which it is bound by a 1994 peace agreement, to release these prisoners. Al Jazeera's Nisreen el-Shamayleh reports from Amman on how that government is stopping short of their demands for action.

Hamid Karzai: the candidate of the Feminist Majority, As`ad Abukhalil

"Last week, though, Human Rights Watch discovered that a revised version of the Shiite Personal Status Law had been quietly put into effect at the end of July — meaning that Shiite men in Afghanistan now have the legal right to starve their wives if their sexual demands are not met and that Shiite women must obtain permission from their husbands to even leave their houses, “except in extreme circumstances.”" [end]

John Pilger - Obama and Empire

Author, journalist, film maker John Pilger speaks at Socialism 2009; wwwhaymarketbooks.orgFilmed by Paul Hubbard at the Womens Building in San Francisco 7-4-09.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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