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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 08/16/2011:

CODEPINK calls for investigation into ‘AIPAC loophole’ for Israel junkets
Aug 15, 2011 06:16 pm | Adam Horowitz

CODEPINK sent out the following press release earlier today:

The peace group CODEPINK has filed a formal complaint with the Congressional Ethics Committee, calling for an investigation of the junkets to Israel paid for by the powerful Israel lobby AIPAC but channeled through their educational front group, The American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF). This summer recess, a staggering 81 Congresspeople—one out of five members—are participating in these trips.

According to the House Ethics Rules, Congress is prohibited from participating in any multiple-day trip that is planned, organized, requested, or arranged by a lobbyist. AIPAC skirts the law by funneling the trips through AIEF.

According to the latest publicly available tax returns, in 2009 AIEF did not even have paid staff, relying on AIPAC employees to do its work. AIPAC contributed more than $3.2 million of employee salaries to cover the staff costs of AIEF in 2009. In other words, a 501(c)(4) organization with registered lobbyists is paying for the staff of a 501(c)(3) organization to run congressional delegations that cannot legally be funded by an organization that employs registered lobbyists.

“AIPAC barely tries to hide that fact that AIEF is a front group,” says CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, who filed the complaint. “The groups are housed in the same offices, have overlapping boards of directors, share staff, employ the same Chief Financial Officer and are constantly moving funds from one entity to another. It’s time for Congress to put an end to this charade by closing the AIPAC loophole.”

Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen who helped draft federal lobbying and ethics reform legislation signed into law in 2007, agrees. “The House ethic rules do not allow a non-profit group like AIEF, which is controlled and directed by the lobby group AIPAC, to pay for travel junkets for members of Congress. This AIPAC loophole is rendering the travel rules meaningless and should be stopped,” says Holman.

"With constituents facing severe economic hardships, Representatives should be home in their districts during this August recess to tell voters how they will dig us out the mess they've created,” says Josh Ruebner, the national advocacy director at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. “Instead many of them are spending part of their recess in Israel on a lobbyist-funded trip, being pressured into even more tax-payer-funded weapons for the Israeli military, weapons used to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians."

CODEPINK, which organizes citizen diplomacy delegations to Israel and Palestine, including Gaza, believes these AIPAC trips give the participants a skewed view that hides the oppressive nature of the Israeli government. "The trips are designed to push the U.S. Congress into supporting AIPAC policies of unconditional support for the Israel government, such as continuing to give $3 billion of our taxdollars to Israel and vetoing the upcoming Palestinian call for statehood at the UN," said Benjamin. "AIPAC puts the interests of Israel before U.S. interests, which makes these Congressional junkets dangerous and downright un-American."

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More about MEMRI (the State Department’s grantee) and Natan Sharansky
Aug 15, 2011 04:31 pm | Philip Weiss

Many of you have checked out the GangreenTV videos of Israeli government ministers saying things that-- if they were American public officials saying this stuff, they would be out of office tomorrow. In the second video, the Israeli Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman says that African immigrants converting to Judaism are the great threat to Israel, whereas in the U.S. it's all the Jews marrying non-Jews that's the threat-- "accomplish [ing] what the accursed Hitler did not."

Well Anatol Sharansky shares a stage with both ministers making these repellent remarks, and in the second instance, he appears to approve the message, clapping Ne'eman on the back at the end of his statement against Africans (4:06).

Sharansky is on the board of advisers of MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, which got a $200,000 grant from the State Department last week, from State's Office of International Religious Freedom. Gosh, are these really the ideas that the State Department wants to be associated with?

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Why I’m saving up for a punching bag
Aug 15, 2011 11:58 am | Jehan Alfarra


Imagine a tumor, a big lump of frustration muddled up with helplessness settling inside your heart and getting pumped through your veins and the entirety of your body, and it has no cure. You only wish you can reach down, thrust your hand into your heart and squash that toxic chunk of aggravation between your wobbly fingers. Eradicating it, though, is a treatment you are denied; the only eradication that you can have is the Israeli termination of your life, and along with it the termination of your despair. You may only resort to immunotherapy, which very much depends on your creativity in enhancing your immune system and endurance levels. It would be safe to say that every Palestinian is, one way or another, inflicted with this malignant cell. Where I live in Palestinian Gaza, people are inflicted with this helplessness and hopelessness, but to make matters worse, there is also a time bomb planted inside of their chests as well, ticking away and ready to detonate any passing moment. Life is a mere existence rather than real living. At times, escapism and absolute indifference are your only means of relative happiness.

In Gaza, men have ‘learnt at a very young age what it was to be angry- angry and helpless’. They are encompassed by a cloud of vulnerability and are impelled to watch their integrity being ripped out at every uncertainty and inability to do and be, but as Gaza men are transported with rage, the defiance and struggle against the nasty tumor knows no break. It is a full time job.

In Gaza, even the most moderate and serene women are intensely preoccupied with a paradoxical desire and passion for ranting, cursing, and at times, simply crying. Watching their lives, and if married the lives of their children and their husbands preordained and constrained by what Israel, coordinating with Egypt, permits.

At times even the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza contributes to this blazing fury. The disengagement and isolation from even your occupier contributes to this agonizing helplessness, where the simplest forms of Palestinian resistance and expression of dissatisfaction with Israel’s ruthlessness and severe injustice is denied- that of hurling stones at the reason behind your misery and destitution.

In Gaza, the level of deprivation is bottomless. Being careful not to compare it, as many so ignorantly and idiotically do, with Somalia or the like famine-hit areas. No, Gaza is a different story. It is a beautiful place where large fragments of contradictions, and a struggle to be, blend to create a chained splendor, a troubling aesthetic. Gaza is not a poor place, it is a made-poor and isolated-from-the-world place. In one area you will find Gazan refugee camps’ alleys flooded with stories of horror and torment, and in another, you will find an extravagant villa and a blooming luxurious hotel where tunnel-smuggled-goods nosh its restaurants. It is an economy kept by Israel at the brink of collapse. It is a place of so much competence and potential, subjugated and suppressed by Israel on a daily basis, and thus crushing every ambition, every dream, and every attempt at blossoming. Water theft, trade constraints, electricity control, and movement restrictions are all but few practices by Israel aiming at turning the life of every Gazan into what a friend would put it- a coping mechanism.

To me, and to many Gazan Palestinians I know, my coping mechanism resides in my virtual world. Ranting and venting can indeed be therapeutic, and dwelling in the twitter world of mine could suffice to chase away the angry being lurking in my heart. This anger has been enhanced with so much fear and uncertainty, not only from Israel’s hidden plans for us, particularly after the recent blackout, but also from our obtuse leadership who might be blowing our decades-long struggle and butchering every dream of return in a dull-witted and selling-out move.

For my own emotional safety, I will be saving up for a punch bag- a pink one too. Something I can confide in and unleash my wrath at every unfairness, especially when I am denied even twitter by Israel. This is what Gazans really do need. For those who are thinking of forming a new convoy to Gaza, I once suggested a convoy of books, but now I say a convoy of punch bags. A more dignified stance of solidarity, and a true remedial aid.

(Crossposted @ Jehan Alfarra's blog And Thereby Hangs A Tale… )

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In dawn raid in Jerusalem, Israeli forces arrest boys– 11 and 13 years old
Aug 15, 2011 10:17 am | Kate

and other news from Today in Palestine:

Israeli forces

IDF raids same West Bank town 5 times in last 2 weeks / Alex Kane
Residents of Beit Ommar have already gotten used to military incursions and prevention of access to land, but some residents believe the increase in recent raids is connected to the army’s effort at deterrence ahead of the anticipated popular unrest in September  -- Beit Ommar, West Bank 14 Aug -- The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is meant to be a time for reflection and spirituality.  But for the 16,000 residents of this rural, agricultural village near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, it has been an unusually tense one. A spate of Israeli army raids at night and arrests of young Palestinians have occurred since the beginning of August, shattering any hope for calm during Ramadan ... Witnesses to the raids and local activists say that the Israeli army has been shooting tear gas, sound bombs and flares into residential areas -- in some cases causing injuries -- and have arrested fifteen young Palestinians under the age of eighteen this month ... "It just looked like a training exercise.  It just looked like they were practicing coming into town tear gassing people back and practicing flares," said one international activist with the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP) ... The Israeli army’s repression in the village has not been limited to night raids, though....
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Israeli forces arrest 4 youth in dawn raids
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Aug  -- Israeli forces arrested 4 minors at dawn on 10 August. They are reported to have been charged with participation in demonstrations against Israeli policy in the district. The 4 arrested are brothers Mohammed Abu Sanad, 17, Alla Abu Sanad, 15, from al-Bustan neighborhood, and Ahmed Abu Nab, 17, from al-Ein al-Fouqa and Ameer al-Qaraeen from Wadi Hilweh
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Israeli forces build up heavy presence in Silwan
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 13 Aug  -- A build-up of Israeli forces in Silwan has been underway since early this morning. Soldiers, deployed to all districts, have been reported to be harassing residents and stirring unrest. Several youth confronted troops this morning, with confrontations now erupting on a daily basis between local youth and Israeli forces. Tensions continue to mount as authorities pursue their policy of home demolition and settlement expansion in the region.
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Israeli police arrest 3 children in Silwan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- An undercover unit of the Israeli forces arrested two Palestinian children and one teenager from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Sunday, a local committee member and Israeli police spokesman said. Abed Al-Karim, member of a local Silwan committee which protects land from annexation, said that Israeli forces arrested Musellem Mousa Auda, 11, Mohamad Auda, 13, and Kathem Abu Shafee, 17. Undercover units raided Silwan at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday morning, Al-Karim told Ma‘an radio, arresting the three boys without providing any justification.
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VIDEO: Just because he can
[arrogant soldier] By Tamar Goldschmidt of Mahsanmilim -- 1st Friday of Ramadan 2011. Qalandiya Checkpoint.
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Night Video: Army invades Beit Ommar for third time in a week
2:44 minutes PSP 12 Aug -- At around 10pm on the night of the 11th August, the Israeli army once more invaded the town of Beit Ommar. Around eight jeeps and more than twelve soldiers entered the town and advanced along the main road, closing off the entrance to the village behind them, preventing residents returning to their homes. The soldiers proceeded to fire dozens of rounds of teargas into highly residential areas, accompanied by concussion grenades and flares. Several families inside their homes suffered the effects of teargas inhalation and required medical treatment, some being taken by ambulance to hospital in Hebron. The soldiers remained in the town until 1am, during which time they continued to fire rounds of teargas regularly. No arrests were made, and there remains no apparent reason for the raid. The Abu Maria family were one such household affected by the raid. Their family home was struck by two teargas canisters, forcing the family to flee the building with their 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The ground floor of their house remained uninhabitable for the night due to the lingering gas.
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Israeli soldiers torch dozens of olive trees in West Bank village
QALQILIYA (PIC) 13 Aug -- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) set fire to dozens of fruitful olive trees, some of them perennials [very old?], in Kafr Kadum village, Qalqiliya city. Eyewitnesses reported that the trees were burnt down after the Israeli troops fired tear gas and stun grenades on them. 32 olive trees were burnt after the villagers were able to stop the fire from spreading to other trees.
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Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinians near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from Balata in the northern West Bank before dawn Sunday, witnesses and the army said. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers entered Balata, east of Nablus, at 2 a.m. and ransacked several homes before detaining three men. Locals identified those detained as Saber Salman, Jabr Jiaan and Thaer Masoud.
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Israeli forces conduct military training in Jordan Valley, continue harassing its residents
JENIN (WAFA) 14 Aug -- Israeli forces are conducting large-scale military training on Palestinian lands adjacent to residents’ houses in the northern Jordan Valley areas, in Tubas Governorate, Sunday said Ahmad Asaad, in charge of settlements file in Tubas. Witnesses said that Israeli artillery enforcements raided al-Boke’a area and al-Aqaba, a village in the valley, and carried out surveillance and inspection campaigns in addition to repeated extensive military trainings, which lead to the destruction of the infrastructure and fields as well as prevent shepherds from herding their cattle
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Teenager hurt by suspicious object in Tubas
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- A Palestinian teenager suffered moderate injuries to his hand Friday after an Israeli explosive device detonated in Tubas, Palestinian officials said.  Ahmed Saraia, 17, was taken to Rafidia hospital in Nablus where the tips of several fingers on his right hand were amputated due to damage sustained from picking up the object, Tubas police said in a statement. Police urged residents to alert authorities about such objects, and not to handle them. Residents should be particularly cautious in the Al-Aghwar area, which is near an army training site [but inhabited by Palestinians. Apparently it was not a land mine, as reported by PIC]
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Israel army plants new mines along Syria border
JERUSALEM (AP) 13 Aug -- Israel's army is planting new land mines along its border with Syria in an attempt to dissuade protesters from rushing into the Golan Heights, according to a report in an Israeli military magazine. The preparations come as part of Israel's beefed-up measures ahead of rallies that Palestinians are planning to hold in September, the magazine Ba'mahaneh reported over the weekend ... The army decided to go ahead with the move after older mines failed to detonate when the Syrians crossed in June, the magazine reported ... The magazine reported that the military was taking other measures, including reinforcing fences along the Golan border, increasing infantry troop numbers, posting more snipers and digging trenches.
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VIDEO: Lebanon's female cluster bomb disposal team
6:09 minutes Guardian 12 Aug -- Five years after the Israel-Hezbollah war, southern Lebanon is still riddled with thousands of unexploded cluster bombs. A group of extraordinary women is helping to rid the countryside of this deadly legacy - formerly teachers, nurses and housewives, they have been trained by the NGO Norwegian People's Aid to clear unexploded ordnance from the fields
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IDF budget in the crosshairs of government's socioeconomic panel
Haaretz 14 Aug -- In bid to solve middle-class woes, Trajtenberg proposes heavy cuts to defense budget, expected to draw strong objections from Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
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The state of Israel and its neighbor, the IDF / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 14 Aug -- Since its establishment, the state of the Israel Defense Forces has lived amicably alongside the State of Israel. Borders between the two states are well-known, and are defensible -- ...Even when thousands gathered last Saturday night on the border of the neighboring country, no border incidents were recorded. Demonstrators marched toward the fences of its capital, Hakirya, but they didn't address anyone inside it. They saw the luxurious towers; they knew that the laws applying within them are unlike ones in effect in their state; though these laws might be to the detriment of the protesters, that did not cause them to direct their rage, or their distress, at the capital of this neighboring country, the only place which can provide them salvation.
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MP Attoun: Less than minimal being done for Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 14 Aug -- Exile-threatened Palestinian MP Ahmed Attoun called for creating practical steps and clear positions to defend Jerusalem from the Israeli occupation, saying that what is currently talked about is less than the minimal requirement ... The statement came as dozens of Palestinian leaders responded to an invitation to break fast with Palestinian politicians ordered to leave their native city of Jerusalem. In attendance were a variety of Palestinian figures, including Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, party chairmen, former ministers in the Palestinian government, businessmen, religious figures, and reporters. Jerusalem Grand Mufti Ekrima Sabri, who spoke at the occasion, lauded the exile-threatened men, saying their steadfastness has served as a lesson for holding fast to the land and not abandoning the holy city. The men have been seeking asylum at the Jerusalem Red Cross after the Israeli occupation authorities ordered them to leave their native city.
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Waqf spokesman denies renovation of King Hussain palace
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) -- The head of the Islamic endowment, or Waqf, in Jerusalem Azzam At-Tamimi denied Israeli media reports on Sunday that Jordan is preparing to renovate the King Hussein palace in Jerusalem. "The department of the Islamic endowment was not designated to renovate the palace but only was instructed to install a fence around the land of the royal palace, upon the request and the insistence of those near the land," At-Tamimi told Ma‘an. He confirmed that a fence had been installed 12 days ago around more than forty seven dunams of land. However, Palestinian witnesses claim that Israeli authorities removed the fence on Sunday, apparently under the pretext that the land belongs to an Israeli environmental authority.
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Otherwise Occupied: I'm not a cop but I play one in Jerusalem / Amira Hass
Haaretz 14 Aug -- In Walajeh, officially part of the capital, the IDF arrested a number of protesters, even though it did not have jurisdiction to act within the city ... Col. Alalouf and his soldiers apparently committed a double violation: sealing an area inside Jerusalem where they do not have jurisdiction, and arresting citizens inside the capital. The IDF spokesman: "The claim is being reviewed."
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Neglected no longer -- Cultural revival in East Jerusalem
Economist 12 Aug -- The air of a ghost town has long pervaded East Jerusalem, the Arab part of the city Israel occupied in 1967. Harassed by settlers intent on turning it Jewish, and mostly ignored by an Israeli municipality that invests far more in Jewish than Arab residents, and a Palestinian Authority (PA) that is busy building Ramallah not Jerusalem as Palestine's cultural and economic capital, its numerous Palestinian residents have long felt abandoned. A towering separation wall that Israel erected over the past decade severs its centre from Arab suburbs and the broader Palestinian hinterland. Of late, though, the despair has begun to lift. Frustrated by the failure of negotiators and outside mediators to deliver them from their 43-year limbo, East Jerusalemites are reviving the city themselves ... "The main battle is cultural," says Suhail Khoury, who runs the city's Edward Said Music Conservatory, which is preparing to open in a renovated Palestinian mansion in the bedraggled city centre. "You can rebuild demolished homes within months, but a destroyed identity takes generations to rebuild."
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Gaza's sole power plant at risk of closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug  -- Gaza's electricity company may have to turn off the sole power station in the coastal enclave, a company official warned Sunday. Chief Executive Officer Walid Sad Sayel said the company would delay switching off the station until Sunday even though it needed repairs and should have been shut down on Wednesday. The company had reached an agreement with power authority officials in Gaza to delay the closure after the Hamas officials agreed to transfer $4 million to pay for spare parts, Sayel said in a statement. A further $1 million was needed to pay Ashdod port authorities to release the parts, Sayel added. He warned that if the clearance money wasn't paid in the coming hours, the generators would be shut off individually and the plant would be closed until the end of August. The electricity company official added that the management of Ashdod port were threatening to auction off the spare parts at the end of August if the storage bill and port fees for the equipment remained unpaid.
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US resumes operations of its aid organizations in Gaza
Reuters 14 Aug -- The United States on Sunday resumed the operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after the Islamist group retracted its demand to scrutinize confidential documents about their work, a U.S. official said. On Friday, USAID partner organizations stopped work after Hamas closed one of the non-governmental organizations, the International Medical Corps (IMC), when officials there denied the Islamist group access to documents. It was allowed to reopen on Sunday.
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Gaza's Hamas rulers: Foreigners must now obtain visa to enter territory
AP 13 Aug --A spokesman for Gaza's Hamas rulers says foreigners must now obtain visas to enter the Gaza Strip. Ihab Ghussein's comments Saturday come a day after the United States warned it would cut $100 million in American aid money if Hamas continues its "unwarranted audits" of local American non-profit organizations. Hamas recently shut down a U.S.-financed aide group that refused an audit. Ghussein says the government must know who is staying in Gaza in order to protect foreigners. If implemented, the visa demand could complicate the work of international aid groups in Gaza since the U.S. and U.N. consider Hamas a terrorist organization. As such, many international aid groups are prohibited from having direct contact with Hamas or providing the Islamic group with cash.
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Hamas interior minister denies reports of Gaza visas
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip on Sunday denied reports that foreigners must obtain visas from the Hamas government to enter the coastal enclave.
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'UNRWA Watch' looks to improve refugee agency
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- Palestinian academics and others have announced the establishment of a watchdog group to observe UNRWA’s performance in the Gaza Strip, the head of the body said Saturday. At a news conference in Gaza City, Hossam Adwan said 'UNRWA Watch' would prioritize observing the performance of the Palestine refugee agency with the hope of guaranteeing refugee rights. The committees are specializing in education, healthcare, the environment, housing, projects, emergency operations, relief projects, and works, Adwan explained. They will staff six offices throughout the enclave ... UNRWA has defended itself against a series of complaints and accusations in recent months, as staff joined strikes and the heads of the West Bank and Gaza Strip divisions resigned early this year.
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Israeli gunboats target Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
PalTelegraph 11 Aug -- Gaza Strip, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli gunboats opened fire on Thursday morning  at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Local sources said that Israeli gunboats targeted Palestinian fishermen despite being  in a close area off Gaza shores, forcing them to leave the sea in order not to be hurt by Israeli intensive fire.
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Rafah crossing open Monday for August applicants
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- The Ministry of Interior in Gaza said Sunday that travel via the Rafah crossing on Monday will only be for passengers who registered to travel on August 8 and 9.
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Largest ever Gaza convoy next December
LONDON (PIC) 13 Aug-- A pro-Palestinian organization in Britain has announced that the largest ever siege-busting convoy would head to Gaza by the end of 2011. On its official website, Viva Palestina said the convoy would be the largest yet since the pro-Palestinian movement was formed five years ago in the wake of Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip. The convoy is expected to witness major involvement from the Egyptians. The statement calls for contributors to collect donations for the convoy, which is expected to arrive 27 December, with the goal of supplying the Gaza Strip with sensitive medical supplies it has lacked in light of the siege.
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Questions raised over looted mosaic
Sydney Morning Herald 14 Aug -- In 1917, a Byzantine mosaic created during the reign of Emperor Justinian was removed by Australian troops from the ruins of a church near Gaza. The Australians knew they were plundering the priceless antiquity during World War I, two authors now claim. In a new book, authors Paul Daley, a Sun-Herald columnist, and Michael Bowers, raise questions about Australia's continued possession of the mosaic, which has been in the Australian War Memorial collection since 1941.
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Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

VIDEO: One Palestinian arrested and beaten at Beit Ommar demonstration
6:28 minutes PSP 13 Aug -- Around 40 demonstrators – comprising residents of the village of Beit Ommar, and Israeli and international activists – gathered for a demonstration against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement. The demonstrators, carrying flags and banners commemorating the anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were met by a large and heavily armed military presence. As the protesters marched through Beit Ommar fields, the soldiers reacted violently, pushing several protesters to the ground, and others down steep rocky drops. After a short speech, the protesters decided to end their demonstration. At this point, local resident Sakhar Abu Maria was arrested by the military, for no apparent reason. He was then blindfolded for 20 minutes, placed in the back of a jeep, and driven to the Karmei Tsur settlement. Once there, he was beaten by soldiers, who threatened to raid his family home, and taunted him by repeatedly offering him food and drink after learning he was fasting for Ramadan, pouring glasses of coca cola and pushing them towards him. He was released after 90 minutes.
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Boycott rally held in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- Activists in Jenin held a rally Saturday urging shopkeepers and residents to boycott Israeli goods. The local campaign against the wall and settlements and the Independent Youth Movement organized the march, which toured the West Bank city's streets. Demonstrators held banners with slogans saying the boycott was a national and religious duty, and that buying Israeli produce was like buying bullets which would be used against Palestinians. Coordinator Khaled Mansour said the rally was part of a series of events planned to empower people to boycott. Organizers were studying the reasons for the failure of previous campaigns, he added.
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In photos: Boycott activists rally in Ramallah
Ma‘an 12 Aug -- Protesters in Ramallah's Manara square call on businesses and shoppers to boycott Israeli goods, holding signs reading "Don't pay for their bullets" and "Boycott their goods, boycott their terrorism." The campaign is part of a nationwide effort throughout the occupied territories during Ramadan to educate Palestinians about local efforts to boycott Israeli products and what they can do to help.
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VIDEO: BDS brides boycott SodaStream and Ahava sales at Bed Bath & Beyond
12 Aug -- In August, 2011 a group of concerned brides held a mock wedding inside Bed Bath & Beyond in Los Angeles, CA to affirm their commitment to peace, justice, and avow to boycott SodaStream and Ahava, both illegally-made Israeli settlement products. Do you cherish human rights? Sign the pledge to boycott at:
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An interview with The Australian newspaper on BDS - or, What The Australian doesn't tell its readers
13 Aug -- I did a 10 minute interview with Stewart and was informed that an article would be appearing in Saturday's paper. Well, the article, was published in The Australian on Saturday but given the pro-Zionist bent of the paper, it was unsurprising to discover that the majority of what I had told Stewart in the interview was not included.
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UNRWA concerned about heavy gunfire into Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 Aug -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, is gravely concerned about reports of heavy gunfire from Syrian security forces into the Palestinian refugee camp situated in the El Ramel district and surrounding areas of the Syrian port city of Latakia, including heavy fire from gunboats, according to a statement by UNRWA Spokesman, Chris Gunness on Sunday. Reports from various sources indicate deaths and casualties among the Palestinian refugee population, although poor communications make it impossible to confirm the exact number of dead and injured, he said.
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Free to be human: visit to the Aida refugee camp / Alexandra Salomon
AIC 13 Aug --  The Aida refugee camp lies between Bethlehem and Beit Jala, in Area A of the West Bank. The entrance to the camp is marked by an arch with a model of a large key propped on top. While it is difficult in most ways to differentiate between the refugee camp and its surrounding residential area, numerous plaques on the camp walls detail the villages from which the refugees came, the Israeli army units that displaced them and the number of residents exiled. We started the day, driving through the main checkpoint into Bethlehem. I observed the yellow sign warning 'No entrance to Israelis' with apprehension, but flashed my European passport like a seasoned pro, attempting not to betray the nervousness I felt inside.  And then it hit me. It was like someone had just punched me in the stomach. The Separation Wall with all its weight bears down, the impact of everything it stands for immediate and overwhelming ...We were then taken to meet Faizeer, a woman who was about 12 years old when Israeli soldiers entered her village in 1948 and who now lives not far from the local UNRWA office. Faizeer is a survivor from the Ajjur village. Ajjur is now the site of the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL) British National park. For me, this word, survivor always had connotations attached to those who survived the Nazi holocaust in Europe. This was a new reality I was experiencing
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Palestinian refugee camps in Syria: an overview
PalTelegraph 11 Aug -- For the Palestinian Return Centre JPRS Magazine - Syria has served as a host country to Palestinians fleeing Apartheid Israel’s policies of expulsion, extermination, murder and occupation of Palestinian land since1948. In fact, 85 percent of Syria’s Palestinians fled their homes in 1948. Another influx came in 1967, when more than 100,000 fled the Golan Heights. Then, in 1982, the Lebanese conflict led more to seek refuge. The last significant migration occurred during the 1991 Gulf War. A majority of what Syria’s Palestinians call home is now recognized by the International community as the northern part of Apartheid Israel. There are approximately 460,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria, representing three percent of the country’s total population ... There are a total of 13 refugee camps inside Syria, only 10 of which are officially recognized by UNRWA.
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International assassinations

Iran vows to protect nuclear scientists
Ynet 14 Aug -- Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced last week that the regime will increase security around its research staff, according to the Iranian news agency. This is said to be a first step in a series of measures to protect Iran's nuclear scientists. The announcement is a first indicator that the regime is concerned about the fact that four key individuals involved in the development of the Iranian military's nuclear program were assassinated over the past two years, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday.
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PA cooperation with Israel, US, NATO

BDS action at Palestinian-Israeli controlled Bethlehem checkpoint / Emma Mancini
AIC 14 Aug -- Checkpoint 300, separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem, worsens. On the second Friday of Ramadan, Palestinian police join the Israeli army in controlling the movement of Palestinian residents from the Bethlehem district who are allowed to reach an armored Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque. In a shocking atmosphere of normalisation and uncritical acceptance, Palestinian policemen monitor the queue and communicate easily with the Israeli soldiers on the other side of the checkpoint. During Ramadan, the Palestinian security forces are the watchdog and perform the job usually done by Israeli forces ... A man, about 40 years old, bursts into tears while facing the Palestinian policemen: "I just want to pray in Al-Aqsa, I just want to pray freely".
link to www.alternativenews.orgisraeli-controlled-bethlehem-checkpoint-

PA security officials meet in camera with American counterparts
RAMALLAH (PIC) 13 Aug -- US security officials held a secret meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority security leaders to discuss security developments, the Hebrew radio reported on Saturday. It quoted well informed Palestinian sources as saying that several such meetings were held before in Ramallah to discuss "horizons of security cooperation with Israel".
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Hizb ut-Tahrir accuses PLO of betrayal
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- The Islamist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement has slammed as "betrayal" President Mahmoud Abbas' remarks about a possible NATO presence in a future Palestinian state. The president's "call for international forces would bring a new crusader occupation," the movement said Friday in a statement saying the plan would lead to "colonizing Palestine and desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
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Palestinian bid for statehood

UN bid coincides with Lebanese presidency
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- The leadership in Ramallah chose to submit their bid for statehood in September to coincide with Lebanon's presidency of the UN Security Council, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Saturday. "We chose to submit it in September because the Lebanese envoy will be president of the Security Council and plays a pivotal role," Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said. The minister told reporters at his office in Ramallah that President Mahmoud Abbas would submit the bid personally, adding that he would visit Lebanon on Tuesday to discuss the campaign.
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West Bank: Palestinians determined to get more recognition
LA Times 13 Aug -- The Palestinian Authority is doubling its efforts to get as many countries to recognize it before September, when it plans to officially ask the United Nations for recognition and membership. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday that “we have made very important breakthroughs, but we need to do more and build on what we have achieved so far.” Malki was talking about 19 countries in Central America and the Caribbean who still have not made up their mind regarding recognition. He had recently visited most of these countries, including Caribbean Sea islands with a population not exceeding 45,000 people but nevertheless sovereign U.N. member states, in an attempt to persuade them to recognize Palestine as a state. He has to wait until the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM) and the Central American SICA group convene their joint meeting Aug. 19 before he gets their final answer. So far, the situation does not look good since El Salvador, seat of SICA, has refused to place Palestine’s request on its agenda, nor invited the Palestinian Authority to attend the meeting.
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Palestinians set date for UN statehood bid
AFP 13 Aug -- The Palestinians will present their bid for membership of the United Nations on September 20, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki told AFP on Saturday.  "Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will personally present the request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ... at the opening of the sixty-sixth session," on September 20, Malki said.
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Ambassador: Abbas to discuss UN bid in Beirut
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) -14 Aug -- President Mahmoud Abbas will coordinate efforts to seek membership of the UN during his upcoming visit to Lebanon, Palestinian ambassador in Beirut Abdullah Abdullah said ... Abbas' visit is important as Lebanon will take over presidency of the UN Security Council in September, when Palestinians will submit their bid for membership of the world body, the ambassador said. Abdullah said the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon should also be discussed during the president's visit. "We respect Lebanese sovereignty […] The Palestinian presence in Lebanon is indeed temporary and we are determined to return back.
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Abbas on official visit to Sarajevo
SARAJEVO (WAFA) 14 Aug -- President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Sunday in Sarajevo, capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an official three-day visit, where he met with the Bosnian President Baker Ali Izzet Begovic
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PA eyes 'protest blitz' ahead of September
Ynet 14 Aug -- The Palestinian preparations for September's UN bid for statehood are gathering speed: On Saturday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced that Palestinians will present their application for United Nations membership on September 20 – the first day of the UN General Assembly's 66th session.  Several days of world leaders' speeches are expected to follow, and the Palestinians hope to schedule President Mahmoud Abbas' speech for the following Friday, September 23.  Choosing Friday for Abbas' speech is not coincidental: Friday is the day in which Arabs traditionally hold mass prayers, and since the onset of the Arab spring, it is the day in which masses across the Arab world take to the streets to protest against their regimes. The Palestinians hope to draw out the same masses in capital cities not only in the Arab world, but in the West as well, in support of their bid for a Palestinian state.
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China army chief on 'historic' visit to Israel
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Aug -- China's army chief was due to arrive in Israel on Sunday for talks with top defense officials, the Israeli military said. The Israeli army said China's "Chief of the General Staff, General Chen Bingde [...] will meet senior security officials and attend strategic and security briefings, visit the IDF Urban Warfare Training Centre, and observe a display of IDF forces training." ... Israeli army radio, describing the visit as "historic," said Chen was to meet Defense Minister Ehud Barak late on Sunday ... Chen's visit comes as Israel seeks to convince the international community to vote against a bid by the Palestinians for recognition of a state at the UN General Assembly in September. Israel has in the past also sought tougher measures from Beijing, a key UN Security Council member, against Iran's controversial nuclear program.
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Video: Fatah activists urged to return to Gaza
PressTV 13 Aug -- The Hamas resistance movement has called on Fatah activists that fled Gaza in 2007 following a rift between the two Palestinian factions to return to the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave. "All Palestinians are welcomed to return to Gaza especially our brothers from the Fatah movement who fled during the sad events of 2007," Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri told Press TV on Saturday.
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Hamas accuses Fatah of violating reconciliation agreement
Reuters 14 Aug -- Hamas spokesman says voter registration that opened in West Bank on Saturday violates call on both sides to avoid unilateral steps that jeopardize reconciliation pact signed in Cairo in April.
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Abu Marzouk: Any premier should be nationally agreed upon
CAIRO (PIC) 13 Aug -- Deputy head of Hamas's political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk said there would be no new government unless its premier receives a national consensus, affirming that Salam Fayyad is part of the division in the Palestinian arena. "If Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) had respected what was agreed upon, the government would have been formed by now and its ministers would have assumed their jobs since last May," Abu Marzouk told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper before leaving Cairo.
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Anti-corruption commission investigates economy minister
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Aug -- The Palestinian Authority anti-corruption chief Rafiq An-Natseh said Sunday that a commission had begun investigating Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh. "The interrogations are still at the beginning and it’s difficult to talk about the charges against the minister, while many other interrogation sessions will be held with him,” An-Natseh told a Ma‘an correspondent.
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Elections commission begins registration
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- The Palestinian Central Elections Commission has announced that registration for local elections will resume Saturday across the occupied West Bank ... Hisham Ikheil, head of the elections commission, said 907,000 citizens, or 82 percent of those who have the right to vote, have already registered. He said elections would take place at 295 sites in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. There are 93 municipal councils in addition to 12 local councils, 183 village councils, and seven project committees. The Palestinian Authority cabinet has decided that local elections will be held on Oct. 22.
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Fatah ratifies Dahlan's final sacking decision
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 14 Aug -- Fatah Central Committee Member, Jamal Mheisen, said Sunday that the movement has resolved the case of its former member, Muhammad Dahlan, with a final dismissal from the movement, According to 'Al-Makshoof' program aired on the Palestinian TV. Mhaisen said that "the decision is now final. It can’t be appealed or canceled."
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Egypt deploys thousands of troops and tanks in Sinai in coordination with Israel
Haaretz/dpa 15 Aug -- Egypt, in coordination with Israel, has deployed its military in the northern Sinai Peninsula in order to gain control over the anarchy that has taken hold of the region, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday ... The aim of the operation was to halt Bedouin control of the northern Sinai area, which allows for the transfer of weapons to the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels. The Israeli government approved the operation, which places Egyptian infantry, armored vehicles, and tanks in Sinai in contravention with the 1978 Camp David Accords. This is the second time Israel has approved an Egyptian operation in Sinai in recent months.
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Al Hayat: UN striving to demilitarize southern Lebanon
Haaretz 14 Aug -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has disclosed that UN peacekeeping forces are working to enforce the demilitarization of southern Lebanon, below the Litani River. The UN hopes to gain the cooperation of the Lebanese Army, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Saturday. The area involved was declared off-limits to the Shi'ite Hezbollah militia at the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War ... reports have increased over the past two years of the establishment of dozens of strongholds and weapons caches by Hezbollah. This has happened despite the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] to verify that Hezbollah is not conducting operations in the area.
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Report: IDF to deploy 6 drones in N. Iraq
Ynet 14 Aug -- The IDF has recently stepped up its operations in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Region and is planning to deploy six unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligence agents and military consultants in the region, Iran's Press-TV has reported. According to the report, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani has agreed to the concession in return for the admission of a number of Iraqi Kurd students to Israeli universities. Barzani has reportedly approved the deployment without the permission of the central government in Baghdad.
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Egypt: Israeli 'Mossad agent' to be tried in absentia
AFP/Ynet 14 Aug -- An Israeli and a Jordanian are to go on trial in Egypt on charges of spying for Israel's intelligence services, Cairo's news agency MENA reported on Sunday.  Ibrahim abu-Zaid, a telecoms engineer from Jordan and Israeli Ofir Harrari, who the Egyptians say is an "officer with the Mossad" are to go on trial in Egypt's State Security Court on charges of "spying for a foreign country with the purpose of harming Egyptian national interest," the report said.
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Livni blames PM for Palestinian UN bid
Ynet 13 Aug -- State officials say Palestinians' plan to seek recognition of independent state on September 20 "proves Abbas has decided to forgo direct negotiations." Opposition chairwoman: Only one person responsible for this diplomatic failure
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Abbas, Peres held '4 secret meetings'
RAMALLAH (AFP) 13 Aug -- President Mahmoud Abbas revealed he held four secret meetings with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in a bid to revive stalled peace talks, a Palestinian official said Saturday ... The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had thwarted those efforts.
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Israel rejects 'message of weakness'
PressTV 13 Aug -- Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has voiced his opposition to an apology to Turkey for the deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid convoy that killed nine Turkish citizens. In an interview with an Israeli radio station, Lieberman said an apology is a sign of weakness “and they don't like weakness here. It is forbidden to be weak, and an apology is first and foremost a message of weakness.”
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Other news

Palestinians in no hurry to join housing protests
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug -- Palestinian citizens of Israel "will not put their eggs in the same basket" with demonstrations sweeping Israel, a senior trade union official said Saturday. Muhammad Zeidan said the Arab community in Israel's struggle was something quite different than the predominantly Jewish-Israeli movement calling for social equality and affordable rent.
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Tens of thousands take to streets in social protests across Israel
Haaretz 13 Aug -- Mass demonstrations take place in Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Afula with smaller protests taking place elsewhere throughout Israel.
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Open letter to Israeli security apparatus from Jenin's Freedom Theatre
AIC 13 Aug -- This is an open letter from representatives of the international volunteers and staff members, the friends, supporters and foundation of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin to the Israeli security apparatus, including the Shabak, the IDF and Israeli Police. After the attack on The Freedom Theatre's office and multimedia centre, during which you arrested our head technician Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi, the chairperson of The Freedom Theatre Board in Jenin; and after you have for two weeks refused Adnan and Bilaal access to a lawyer, treated them inhumanely and denied them their basic human rights, and after the arrest of our acting student Rami Hwayel, we hereby state:  "We encourage all efforts to find whoever is responsible for the brutal murder of Juliano Mer Khamis and we are deeply concerned over the fact that the murderer has not yet been found. Nevertheless we reject the inhumane methods that you apply in investigating the murder. The Freedom Theatre has been seriously damaged by your actions which have further implanted fear and trauma not only among our students and employees but also into the very society we aim to empower. By acting the way that you act you have once again proved to the residents of Jenin refugee camp as well as to the outside world that the only methods you know are the ones involving violence, terror and fear.
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Social media offers last keffiyeh factory lifeline
BBC 8 Aug -- Hirbawi Textiles is located on a nondescript road on the outskirts of the Palestinian city Hebron ... three years ago the factory became the focus of the world's media, when it became apparent it was the last in the Palestinian Territories to produce the keffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress and favourite of former leader Yasser Arafat ... Following the media attention came a flood of inquiries about the factory. Capitalising on the public's interest, the Hirbawi family set up an web page so orders from foreign countries could be placed. Around the same time the story had caught the eye of the 'Young Professionals for Palestine', a group of internet activists based at the time in Kuwait. Group founder Noora Kassem says they were concerned foreign imports were destroying the meaning of the Palestinian scarf.

Building a home in the village of Thabrah
Thabrah (PNN) 13 Aug -- A group of 12 young people from the United States and Canada, volunteering with the North American organization Hope Equals, helps rebuild a house for a Palestinian family in the village of Thabrah near Bethlehem ... The last week they spent building a home for a Palestinian family who live in an unsanitary house in Thabrah.The house has been inhabited by the family for 54 years. Built on the edge of a hill, the house is unstable and the floor is hollow. The ceilings and walls, particularly in the bedrooms, are rotten. Eleven people live together in this house, composed of two bedrooms and a living-room. But for the last few years, all the members of the family have been sleeping in the same room. The parents explained that due to the precarious state of the house, they don't want to leave their children alone in a separate room in case something happens to the house. Hope Equals is building strong foundations for the house.
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Continued efforts to establish a national center dedicated to treating cancer patients in Palestine / Ali Samoudi
Jenin (PNN) 14 Aug -- Statistics and official data show that Palestinian society is prone to very high incidences of cancer, without a doubt due to a number of known factors: the absence of any institutions or officials to deal with the disease and an absence of the awareness of the disease and the possible mechanisms of treatment. Without an institution that can help deal with the patients and their family’s plight as well as teaching the community, many families who deal with cancer have no-one to turn to for help and for knowledge and so the psychological burdens on their life only increases. Amid this reality, I sat down with a group of young Palestinian university students and a group of doctors and volunteers to discuss the issue of cancer patients in Palestine. This group was not a random selection however; after seeing the suffering of others and some having suffered family and friend losses due to cancer, this passionate group of individuals came together earlier this year to launch the "National Assembly for the Care and Support of Cancer Patients in Palestine."
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Film review: Women footballers struggle, play, and win / Michelle Gyeney
EI 12 Aug -- One of the greatest obstacles for Palestinian football or soccer players in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip is simply getting to practice. Israeli military checkpoints made practicing on a real grass pitch nearly impossible for the Bethlehem-based Palestinian Women’s National Football Team, as accessing the limited facilities within the West Bank between 2003 and 2009 required several hours of travel each way for each player. The team’s struggle to play is documented in celebrated filmmaker Sawsan Qaoud’s new film Women in the Stadium.
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Israeli Ministers promote racist vision for Israel (and Judaism)
Aug 15, 2011 10:14 am | Gangreentv

In June of this year, Israeli President Shimon Peres convened a conference
in Jerusalem called "Tomorrow 2011", which was attended by intellectuals
and industry leaders from all over the world. At one of the conference's
most well-attended panel discussions, two of the highest-ranking
government ministers presided: Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister
Eli Yishai and Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman.

The panel in question dealt with a controversial issue: Will conversions
officiated by non-ultra-Orthodox streams of Judaism be recognized by all
of the governing bodies in Israel, which are dominated by the
ultra-Orthodox? Most Jewish people living outside of Israel are
non-Orthodox; but in Israel, the political establishment is beholden to
ultra-Orthodox parties, who reject the legitimacy of the more liberal
streams of Judaism.

The two Israeli ministers who spoke on the panel, Yishai and Ne'eman, made
scandalously racist remarks. Yishai touted non-existent scientific studies
that purport to prove there is a 'Jewish gene', echoing eugenics theories
first proposed by the Nazis. Ne'eman then warned that Africans must not be
allowed to convert to Judaism, and repeated the disgusting refrain that
Jews who assimilate are perpetuating a second Nazi Holocaust.

The preoccupation with a fictional Jewish race -- maintaining its purity
and increasing its numbers -- represents the lowest form of fear-mongering
and panders to our basest xenophobic instincts. Of course, it is
inevitable that every ethno-cultural group will spawn its own racist
extremists. But it is disappointing and pathetic that these Jewish
supremacists are allowed to occupy positions of power in the Israeli

gangreentv is an Israeli activist. You can see previous Mondoweiss posts from them here.

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No level playing field for Palestinian athletes
Aug 15, 2011 09:50 am | Samah Sabawi

With much fanfare, the Peace Team has come once again to Australia to compete in the Australian Football League International Cup. Indeed, what can be more appealing for those of us who are passionate about peace in Israel/Palestine than to welcome this team of Palestinian Israeli youth who have learned to play and interact together not as enemies but as teammates? The answer: the idea that when members of this team return to their homes, the Palestinian players would not have to go through dehumanising checkpoints, around high barbed wire walls and into Bantustans surrounded and suffocated by a matrix of Jewish-only roads, settlements and security zones.

The AFL Peace Team was created in 2008 in order to compete in the AFL International Cup. It is made up of an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian players supported by the Israeli Peres Center - an Israeli organisation that aims to promote “peace and reconciliation”. However, the team has come under heavy criticism from Palestinian and other human rights groups who insist that reconciliation is the process of bringing two people together and establishing friendly ties between them after an argument or a disagreement has ended. Reconciliation is the healing phase and as such, cannot be implemented while the environment that breeds the mistrust and the conflict continues to exist. 

So far this year, Israel has announced the building of thousands more new Jewish-only homes on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. According to UN agencies and human rights groups, Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel at record rates this year. Israel still maintains a crippling inhumane siege against Palestinians in Gaza while it continues to pursue a process of Judaisation in East Jerusalem that is rapidly driving Palestinian residents out of their homes to be replaced by Jewish settlers. In such an environment, how can reconciliation even begin?

The Peres Center fails to understand that peace cannot be achieved by parading Palestinians in the Peace Team around the world in efforts to showcase Israel’s ‘fair play’ in sports without even once addressing the real challenges Palestinian athletes face as a result of Israel’s 43 years of occupation and the devastating impact Israel’s policies have had on Palestinian sports and sports infrastructure. The Peres Center would have met its goals of laying the foundations of ‘peace and reconciliation’ better had it issued a statement calling on its government Israel to lift its crippling blockade and siege of Palestinian sports’ events and athletes.

While the peace team promotes the illusion that Palestinian athletes have equal opportunities to compete and to excel in their fields, in reality, the effect of Israel’s policies tell a different story. The Palestinian National Football (soccer) Team, which was founded in 1952 but only became recognised by FIFA after the creation of the Palestinian Authorities in 1998, has faced insurmountable challenges imposed by Israel aiming to isolate Palestinians in all fields, sports as well as academic, medical and cultural. This year, Israeli policies of occupation have sabotaged the Palestinian team putting them at a great disadvantage as key members of the team were prevented from travelling into the West Bank from Gaza. 

This is not news for those who follow this conflict. Many Palestinian athletes have in the past suffered Israel’s blanket boycott on Palestinian sports. Palestinian Olympic players and youth teams are frequently denied both exit and re-entry when travelling from Gaza to the West Bank. In the qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Cup, five key players were prevented exit from Gaza by the Israeli authorities and so as a result Palestine failed to qualify. A year later the Palestine National Team was prevented by Israel from travelling to play a World Cup Qualifier in Singapore and so it was eliminated. In May 2008 the same team was unable to attend the AFC Challenge Cup, which meant they were denied qualification for the 2011 Asia Cup.

This system of Israeli permits that restrict and confine Palestinians, denying them their right to travel, reminds us of the “pass laws” of Apartheid South Africa that were put in place to limit the movement of Black South Africans and keep them in their segregated communities. Such blanket confinement of an entire population is a form of collective punishment and is in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions. 

Unfortunately, Israel’s assault on Palestinian sports and athletes is not limited to its system of permits. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza, which destroyed huge areas of the city, flattening houses, schools, hospitals and mosques also destroyed the Rafah National Stadium. Over 1,400 people in Gaza were killed including football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate.

So while Israel’s Peres Center parades its token ‘peace team’ of Palestinian and Israeli athletes in a clear effort to normalise the occupation and to reduce the criticism and pressure Israel faces from human rights groups and the international community over its oppression of Palestinians, let us take a moment to consider the harsh conditions that Palestinian athletes endure in their daily lives. Of course an Israeli Palestinian team is worth celebrating, but only if it comes from an Israeli Palestinian society that is free of discrimination, where Palestinians and Israelis live as equals both on and off the playing field.

Samah Sabawi is an Australian Palestinian writer and political analyst. She is Public Advocate for Australian for Palestine.

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On the refusal to recognize Palestine
Aug 15, 2011 09:40 am | Matthew Graber

I've been reading Judith Butler and Edward Said a lot lately. I'm interested in power dynamics and what it is that drives people to do terrible things in this world.  When I came to Said's commentary (The Question of Palestine, p.9) on the Zionist slogan of Israel Zangwill for Palestine - "A land without people for a people without land" - I was stirred. Suddenly I had flashes to all of those comments that I see posted all over the internet, on Youtube and Mondo. It was a very visceral reaction to Said's words.

Some people argue that there has never been a land known as Palestine. Some of these people may point out that, within the Western construct of nation-states, the term "Palestine" has been used to denote a land in the Middle East only as an administrative term during the Roman Empire and then under British mandate in 1922 following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

And I wanted to verbalize to some of my friends and acquaintances why I am ever frustrated by the refusal of Palestine, and to explain how this refusal constitutes racism and allows for continuing violence against the Palestinian people to this day.

An Arab people living, as they referred to it, in a land known as Palestine is documented back to at least the 7th century (Guy Le Strange, Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500 Translated from the Works of the Medieval Arab Geographers).

But we needn't consult a geographer or historian to recognize this as true. We just need to listen to a Palestinian.

And herein lies the problem that I have.

In order to listen to a Palestinian, one must be able to hear their voice, and to give that voice consideration and legitimation. The refusal to recognize a land known as Palestine coincides with the refusal to consider the Arab people who live there - to refuse to recognize their existence, their humanity, their mortality, and their voices.

And so refusing to recognize a land as Palestine and a people known as Palestinian actually is to refuse to recognize the violence that the Zionist project of Israel has inflicted upon the Arab people of Palestine, and to refuse to recognize the continuing violence of that project today.

Just earlier this week Israel authorized the construction of 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem - constituting even more land stolen from Palestinians for the state of Israel. The apartheid wall being built by Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land for the exclusive use of Israelis. Farmers across the West Bank have their farmland taken and their crops destroyed. The blockade of Gaza at all ports of entry - land, sea, and air - does not allow for enough food or medical supplies to reach the 1.5 million people living there. The Palestinian people in the West Bank are allowed 50 gallons of water a day per household (the UN says that people need at least 75 gallons to survive) while the Israelis in the settlements of the West Bank use 250 gallons of water a day per household. Palestinian children are abducted and coerced by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians are harrassed at the over 200 Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank. Thousands of Palestinians linger in Israeli jails.

This is not historical violence. This is what is happening today, August 15th, 2011, in the Middle East.

And so, I want you to consider who it is that considers Palestinian voices. Why doesn't the press talk about this violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people? Why don't people - you, me, people the world over - protest this violence? What happens during the daily protests of Palestinians?

So every time you hear somebody say, "There has never been a country called Palestine," I want you to consider this note. And I want you to say, "Hey! That's racism" And then consider how that racism pervades our society. And fight back.

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Nurit Peled-Elhanan on Israeli textbooks: ‘I didn’t know I would fall on so much racism’
Aug 15, 2011 09:30 am | annie

Nurit Peled-Elhanan discussing her new book Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education:

Peled-Elhanan: I didn't know I would fall on so much racism.....

Palestinians are, if they are represented, usually they're are not represented at all..........they don't exists, nothing of their culture/customs nothing only as problems..and to  represent people as problems is racism. Visually you don't see even in all Israel none of them can you find a photograph of a Palestinian person..a teacher a doctor whatever nothing you only find racists icons of Ali Baba

Clark: Cartoons?

Peled-Elhanan: Cartoons with the camel and the primitive farmer. All these icons when you look at the literature of racist representation they are there....the most racist icon or the representation of the 3rd world. It exists in other countries too regarding the 3rd world but in Israel it is crucial to understand that becasue this is all the children know about their Arab neighbors.

Clark: Because they don't meet them?

Peled-Elhanan: They never meet them they are drafted into the army right after school. ..they know they are a problem that should be solved, eliminated, that they are intruders, that they are deviant, criminal, primitive, shouldn't be here.

Clark: Enemy?

Peled-Elhanan: And of course enemy...whole..industry, and a very sophisticated one that, really make them disappear. Because if you see graphs or diagrams you don't suspect they are not objective. You don't expect scientific representations not to be scientific so you always have this little asterix saying that the graph represents only the Jewish population which is unscientific not only racist. Or maps.....none of the maps in Israel, if you go to post offices and hospitals and  banks and schools and school books, show the children the real borders of the state..they don't know the real borders of the state, they don't know there is occupation. People here think the whole, what is called  'greater land of Israel' is ours and if it is not it should be and they present it as a geographic entity with the use of the bible and archeology and all these tricks and I really think the whole discourse in very racist..but children are initiated and then they are educated in discourse to an extent they don't even know it's racist. They are not equipped to distinguish between racism and tolerant kind of speech, they don't know anything is wrong with that.

Racism doesn't stop with the Arabs it goes into Jewish ethnicities too like Jews who came from Arab countries are discriminated in the state but also in education, they are not represented anywhere. They never see anything wrong with it , integration means they must loose themselves to commit cultural suicide.

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Benny Morris says he was pursued by ‘bearded, caftaned Muslims’ in London– like Brownshirts in Berlin
Aug 15, 2011 09:18 am | Philip Weiss

You might remember the street action surrounding Israeli historian Benny Morris's lecture at the London School of Economics in June. Well London activists are now saying that his response to that protest was... racism. At London BDS, they offer this mind-boggling quote from Morris (from the National Interest) about the street protest:

As I walked down Kingsway, a major London thoroughfare, a small mob—I don’t think any other word is appropriate—of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards as I advanced towards the building where the lecture was to take place, raucously harangued and baited me with cries of “fascist,” “racist,” “England should never have allowed you in,” “you shouldn’t be allowed to speak.” Several spoke in broken, obviously newly acquired, English. 

Violence was thick in the air though none was actually used. Passersby looked on in astonishment, and perhaps shame, but it seemed the sight of angry bearded, caftaned Muslims was sufficient to deter any intervention. To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin—though on Kingsway no one, to the best of my recall, screamed the word ‘Jew’....

Uncurbed, Muslim intimidation in the public domain of people they see as disagreeing with them is palpable and palpably affecting the British Christian majority among whom they live, indeed, cowing them into silence.

London BDS then links to this video below, showing Morris's walk to the LSE in June at minute 31 or so-- with deconstruction of his claims. Yes, people are hurling accusations at Morris, but his version of events seems, well... Islamophobic.

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Washington Post columnist warns that Palestinian statehood initiative could keep Gaddafyi and Assad in power
Aug 15, 2011 09:03 am | Philip Weiss

I do not know of a better example of blaming the victim than the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl's screed against the Palestinian statehood initiative for allegedly threatening to throw the Middle East into "violent upheaval." The initiative is a "desperate gambit," Diehl says, as it will be accompanied by Arab-spring-style protests that could produce a third intifadah. As if the Arab spring is supposed to convulse every Arab society but Palestine. As if any people should take Jim-Crow-status lying down. As if the world's promises of a state for Palestine over the last 63 years have produced one iota of self-determination, even as Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Uzbekistan, East Timor, Pakistan, etc get their states without a peep out of the Washington Post.

When Diehl says that the initiative will produce no jobs, I think of our own revolution. We didn't want an economic peace. We threw the tea into the sea. Remember? But no protests for Palestine... Diehl's warning:

[Palestinians say the Arab-spring-like] rallies will be carefully policed; they will be restricted to West Bank towns, far away from Israeli soldiers and settlers. Officials around Abbas say they recognize that if the demonstrations turn into a “third intifada,” they will be the losers: They will be swept from power by a more militant group of leaders.

Israelis, too, know they have much at stake. “Ten bodies could change the Middle East,” said the senior Israeli official I spoke to, who also said that Israeli army and police officials are engaged in intensive preparations aimed at avoiding violent clashes.

It’s not hard to imagine what could go wrong in a “third intifada.” The embattled dictatorships of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Moammar Gaddafi in Libya could get a saving break as Arab attention focused on a new Israeli-Palestinian fight. Syria and Iran could promote new marches on Israel’s borders from the Golan Heights and Lebanon. Extremists in Egypt could use anger against Israel to whip up support in crucial elections scheduled for November. And so on.

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