Aug 20, 2010

The Evolution of Compassion

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Let's End Thought Crimes in the Twenty-first Century. -- to separate historical fact from propaganda…peace is patriotic!

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Project for a New American Century - RationalWiki

Michael Santomauro @ 917-974-6367

What sort of Truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?

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David Irving - RationalWiki

Michael Santomauro @ 917-974-6367

What sort of Truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?

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Without A Revolution, Americans Are History « Patrick J. Buchanan

Michael Santomauro @ 917-974-6367

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PressTV - Group fined for anti-Holocaust cartoon




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Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton

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The Latest from Mondoweiss for 08/20/2010


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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 08/20/2010:

'Cordoba House' controversy has one Pakistani American looking for a back-up plan
Aug 19, 2010 04:48 pm | Saleema Gul

Most Muslims thought, and perhaps still think, that the rising Islamophobia across Europe would never be able to set a strong foothold in the United States. The Cordoba House project controversy (so-called "Ground Zero Mosque") made me realize that Muslims have a long way to acceptance in the American society.

My grandfather, who passed away last year, was always full of wisdom and kind words and prayers for me whenever I went to Pakistan to visit him. On one of those visits he sat me down for a very serious discussion about settling in Pakistan one day. I joked I would think about it if he agreed to give me a spot in the family's cemetery.

A year later, I am seriously contemplating that perhaps I should have a back-up plan for a worse-case scenario. You never know what life will throw at you. Or when people start calling for you to "go back home." Or when people start blowing up your houses of worship.

After 9-11, many Pakistani-Americans have moved their money to banks overseas out of fear that if there is ever a backlash their families will have a safety net. Many have also built homes which they are either renting or letting relatives use it. For the first time in my life I am thinking about doing same. I don't have the money right now to purchase property and then build a house on it, but this is something I will be discussing with my six siblings when we gather for Eid at the end of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, I find comfort the the thought that my parents have a beautiful house in Pakistan, sitting atop a hill surround by property that my grandfather left them.

Saleema Gul is an undergrad majoring in corporate communications at the University of Houston.

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The 9/11 holocaust and the ground zero mosque
Aug 19, 2010 04:29 pm | Paul Woodward

Another way of saying "sacred" is to say "off-limits."

Something can be sanctified by placing a barrier around it constructed from rigid taboos. The most extreme among those taboos dictates not only silence but also exclusion.

In such a way, for many Americans, 9/11 has been sanctified. The sacred idea occupies a sacred space and only those willing to display sufficient awe and reverence can be allowed to enter.

Yet there are limits on how high this sacred narrative can be raised. We do not, by and large, talk about the 9/11 holocaust — and rightfully so. To link a day on which 3,000 Americans died, to a period during which 6 million Jews were systematically slaughtered, would be absurd and obscene.

When on 9/11 Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "very good" — because it would generate sympathy for Israelis — his response would no doubt have been rather different had he been asked whether the attacks would help Americans now better understand the significance of the Holocaust.

So we don't talk about a 9/11 holocaust. Instead, with little to no comment, the attacks have another but equally perverse association: with the nuclear devastation brought down on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

The more obvious World War Two association — with the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 — was initially referenced through headlines that reinvoked Roosevelt's description of that day as "a date which will live in infamy," but beyond the date — 9/11 — the name that stuck was "ground zero."

The rubble and dust at the crushed feet of the World Trade Center might have conjured images of nuclear devastation yet little sense that a stolen word required a buried memory.

If Americans were polled today and asked which city they associate with "ground zero," would any answer "Hiroshima" or "Nagasaki"? Most likely, very few — even though the anniversary of the nuclear bombings has only just passed.

On August 6, a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the bombing that killed 140,000 people in Hiroshima, was attended for the first time by a representative of the US government, the US ambassador to Japan, John Ross. This was not the first time an American official had been allowed to attend — it was the first time an invitation had been accepted. So far, no sitting American president has ever visited Hiroshima.

Within a decade of the nuclear attacks, the Catholic Memorial Cathedral for World Peace had been opened in Hiroshima. The Japanese raised few objections to the construction a church close to the original ground zero.

Meanwhile, Pearl Harbor is being invoked once again in a vain effort to conceal the Islamophobia that permeates objections to the New York mosque.

Dr Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and a member of the federally created United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, "insists that his opposition to the Cordoba House project is principled — that he would and has opposed similar efforts when they upset local populations."

"There is a Japanese Shinto shine, I am told, blocks from the USS Arizona," Land said. "That isn't appropriate even 60 years later. Three-thousand Americans died there and they died at the hands of people acting on behalf of the Japanese Empire."

There isn't, in fact, a Shinto shrine near Pearl Harbor [writes Brian Beutler], though many conservatives use this hypothetical as an example of a non-Muslim shrine they'd oppose for similar reasons.

Around the same time that Western dignitaries gathered in Japan in order to commemorate the ghastly effects of nuclear destruction, another group of public figures embarked on an equally historic pilgrimage.

Eight Muslim-American imams, along with President Obama's envoy to combat anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, traveled to the sites of the former Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps in Germany and Poland.

"These Muslim leaders were experiencing something they knew nothing about," Rosenthal told Politico. She had many family members at Auschwitz, including her grandparents. "I can't believe anyone walks into Auschwitz and leaves the same person. I watched them break down. I broke down in front of suitcases. … It is the cemetery of my whole family."

The American imams later released a statement saying:

We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over twelve million human souls perished, including six million Jews.

We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics.

We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction.

We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity. With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth.

Strangely, the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman and the Investigative Project's Steve Emerson, author of "American Jihad," lobbied U.S. officials against participating in the trip.

Perhaps if those now concerned about the Cordoba House project gave more attention to what it means to enter a sacred space, rather than how to keep others out, they would understand that a real sense of the sacred springs from keeping ones eyes open — not sealing them closed.

This is cross-posted at Woodward's site, War in Context.

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Bigot or colorful activist? Washington Post is neutral on Islamophobes
Aug 19, 2010 12:16 pm | Alex Kane

Yesterday, the Washington Post profiled some of the "conservative writers and bloggers critical of Islam" that have been fueling the national uproar over the proposed Muslim community center that would sit two-and-a-half blocks away from Ground Zero.

Michelle Boorstein looks at figures such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and reports that "while some have dismissed them as bigoted attention-seekers, their attacks on the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan have gained currency in recent weeks among some Republican leaders. And their influence appears to be growing." So are they bigots? The Post never says.

Here's Boorstein's description of Pamela Geller, who publishes Islamophobic rants about Barack Obama and Muslims on her blog Atlas Shrugs daily:

The most colorful -- and perhaps most visible activist at the moment -- is Pam Geller, a former New York Observer publisher who has appeared in a bikini and a super-tight Superman costume challenging Islam.

Through her blog, Atlas Shrugs, television interviews and appearances at political and civic rallies, Geller has become one of the chief organizers of opposition to the Ground Zero mosque as well as efforts to build other Muslim prayer centers around the country...

Geller has become a prominent voice in the debate despite the fact that she once promoted the view that Obama is Malcolm X's love child. She frequently warns that Muslims are trying to impose repressive sharia law on the United States, refers to the president's holiday message to Muslims as "Obama Ramadamadingdong" and promotes a Web site, Religion of Peace, that claims to tally the number of people killed around the world by Muslim extremists.

Geller has also said that "it is well known that Obama allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth" and has called for the removal of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, one of the most holy sites for Muslims. Geller said: "The dome has got to go. It is sitting atop the great Jewish temple. The dome has got to go. It's time to push back and stop indulging evil. Evil is made possible by the sanction you give it." Would the Post describe someone as a "colorful" activist if they had called for the destruction of a Jewish holy site, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem?

Geller has also posted on her website a picture that replaced the Prophet Muhammad's face with that of a pig. When she was questioned on why that picture was on her site by a host on the English-language Russia TV, Geller responded by saying, "Who cares? What difference does it make?"

Boorstein also writes that "Geller often partners with Robert Spencer, a best-selling writer who is less flamboyant but perhaps more influential." Spencer publishes Jihad Watch, which has been described as a "notoriously Islamophobic website." Spencer has compared the Islamic holy book, the Quran, to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, and thinks that Islam is "innately extremist and violent."

But only some people and Muslim-American leaders "accuse the bloggers of fueling religious hatred." They're just accusations, of course. Who knows what's true?

This article originally appeared at the national media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's blog.

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Eden Abergil responds to critics: 'I can't afford Arab-lovers to ruin the perfect life I live! I've got no remorse and no regrets.'
Aug 19, 2010 12:07 pm | Adam Horowitz

eden abargil with herself1
An example of the 'Eden Abergil meme' (Photo: Dimi's Notes)

Dimi Reider reports on the Eden Abergil meme sweeping the internet, which includes the image above. Evidently all the attention is getting to Abergil, and Reider translates a Facebook debate where she takes on one of the creators of the doctored images:

Eden Abergil: Tell me, you think that this pic on the side is funny? There's a limit!

Eden Abergil: No, honey…

Shay Atik: To be honest, it's kinda funny.

Eden Abergil: Oh yeah? And what's so funny? I'm dying for laughs I haven't laughed a week

Shay Atik: Maybe you haven't watched the new enough.

Eden Abergil: Aaaaa no? You wanna tell me what was funny? Cause I really didn't watch

Gal Ivon Cohen: Shay, it really isn't funny. They ruined her life for such a simple and innocent picture and turned this girl into something that she's not.

Eden Abergil: No honey they didn't ruin my life I can't afford Arab-lovers to ruin the perfect life I live!!! I've got no remorse and no regrettttttttttts.


Shay Atik: Eden, I guess you still didn't get the meaning and implications of these pictures. It's not about someone loving Arabs or not. It's called humanity.

Eden Abergil: I'm not humane to murderers!

Shay Atik: Hmm… so you could equally kill those detainees you posed next to. If you're being inhuman, go all the way! No?

Eden Abergil: I'm for a Zionist Jewish state! I'm protecting what was mine since forever!! I won't get with you into religious statements etc but I'm declared and defined as a proud Jew and as a proud Jew it's my duty to fight for everything that belongs to me there's a picture of me they published that says it all in my opinion "if it wasn't for her they'd murder your mother" and I'm not talking just about me but about all the soldiers guarding and protecting us!!! There are no laws in war!! I hate Arabs and wish them all the worst and it would be fun for me to kill them or even massacre them you can't forget what they're doing nevermind the reason I'm just on the side of the Jewish people!!! And this will last forever.

Abergil has been alerted that she is being dismissed from her IDF reserve service and stripped of her rank. Guess they agree with LOlcats on this one:

eden abargil loleden

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Eid al-Fitr, 9/11, and my status in America
Aug 19, 2010 10:52 am | Sami Kishawi

I came across a news headline that said "Eid festival expected to fall on 9/11. US protesters demand it be moved to another day out of respect for victims". This isn't just ridiculous or absurd. This is blatant prejudice. And this is my testimonial.

For those who might not know, Eid al-Fitr is a celebration or festival that Muslims observe to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Just like other Muslim holidays, it's a strictly religious and cultural affair. It celebrates the end of the fasting period and the beginning of a purified way of life. There is absolutely no political significance to it whatsoever.

So why should it be moved?

As I'm sure many of you are, I'm disgusted by those who insist on associating Islam with 9/11. Let it be known that Islam condemns the terrorist actions that led to the downing of two towers and the deaths of thousands of innocents: men, women, children, and elderly. Here is a verse from the Qur'an (and please make sure to keep it in context):

" … If anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity."
(Al-Qur'an 5:32)

Point is, you just can't kill. The events that occurred on that dreadful day lie in direct contradiction with the teachings of Islam. I know this, you know this, but why doesn't the rest of the world know this?

I was in fifth grade when the towers fell. I had no idea what happened but my classmates were buzzing about it. My teacher didn't show up to class and I remember that striking me as odd. She was one of those old-fashioned teachers who wore one-piece dresses, sat at her desk in the front of the room facing us, and used wooden pencils instead of mechanical ones. Instead, my Spanish teacher subbed for her. Minutes into class, he said, "the Muslims did it." I didn't know what was going on so I didn't say anything.

By lunch time, parents started packing the hallways trying to pick their children up. Chicago is home to a bustling downtown with tall buildings and skyscrapers so employees were told to take the rest of the day off in case a hijacked plane were to hit the Sears Tower or some other structure. Being that my mom worked in a downtown bank, she rushed over to school immediately and took me home. She explained to me what happened and I understood the look of distress on her face. I told her what my Spanish teacher said and she assured me that she'll talk to the principal tomorrow for a formal apology. I was young and he was one of my favorite teachers, so I made her promise to just let it go. It didn't bother me at the time.

First thing I did when I got home was turn on the television and watch Peter Jennings report on the current state of the felled buildings. I found my big yellow notepad and decided I'd be a detective for the day. I was naïve but my plan was to "discover" a pattern in the hijackings so that I can tell Mr. Jennings that Muslims weren't behind the attacks at all. My teacher's comments were starting to get to me.

The next day at school, I found out why my fifth grade homeroom teacher was absent from class yesterday. Her sister was in New York at the time and my teacher hadn't been able to connect with her. New York City's phone lines were jammed. However, her sister eventually managed to contact the school and my teacher returned to class, albeit it looking paler than usual.

Fast forward a few weeks. Mama was driving me home from school. She turned into the alley to park in our garage but a man came out of his backyard and stood in front of her. Being that my mom's first reaction is to remain calm, she waited until he moved. He didn't. Mama honked softly and the man finally spoke. "Get your A-rab a– out of here! We don't want you scum. Go back to where you came from."

What did my mom do wrong? What did she ever do wrong? She was never in trouble. The only ticket she ever got was when her parking meter expired. But that was my fault because the second quarter managed to slip into my pocket. She'd been a good samaritan her entire life. She donated to charity. She volunteered at local mosques. She worked hard to support the family. She raised my sister and myself all alone after my parents divorced. And during that moment, my mom proved to me how level-headed she was. She stayed there, politely said "excuse me", waited for the man to move, and drove into the garage. But before the car came to a stop, I made my way out and walked down the alley to the man. I don't fight (and I really don't even know how) but I made a point to walk with my hands made into fists. Nobody gets away with disrespecting my mom or my religion. I was hoping to scare him. My little mind thought violence would be the answer.

My mom caught up to me and told me to relax. and unclench my fists. The man started walking towards us, so mama stood in front of me. Protectiveness, a mother's natural instinct.

He ended up apologizing for what he said. It turns out he didn't recognize that we were his neighbors from a few houses down. Was it sincere? I don't know. Who am I to judge. But that's all we needed to hear. And with that, we walked away. I'm not sure if it "scarred" my mom, but I know that since 9/11, she's been adamant about how haram (forbidden) the attacks were. She spoke out against terrorism and made sure that I knew exactly how much Islam condemns it. That was how I was raised.

My mom isn't the only example though. There are 1.5 billion other examples. The entire Muslim population faces harassment through this relatively new Western trend called Islamophobia. Last year, my friend's sister was verbally abused in a supermarket. The aggressor even pulled off her headscarf after calling her a terrorist.

My mom's friend's child was suspended from school after getting into a fight with a classmate who spent the entire day calling him a terrorist. And just for added measure, the kid hurling insults was a policeman's son. He got away with a warning.

A mosque in Florida was damaged by a bomb a few months ago.

A church in Florida is hosting a "Burn a Qur'an Day" on September 11 to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks. Google it.

My friend's dad was put in jail because he fit the profile of a "suspect". He's lived in the Midwest for years and the most he's ever done was travel to Chicago to speak to crowds about how Islam is opposed to terrorism.

I can name five people at any given moment who've been racially profiled at airports because of their headscarf or because of their Muslim-sounding last name.

My mosque is put under surveillance. I found this out after learning that another mosque I attend is also under FBI surveillance. This I learned after someone commented on the suspicious-looking cameras stationed in really unnecessary places in an almost entirely Muslim neighborhood in the southwest suburbs.

The Muslim Student Union at the University of California – Irvine will be banned for an entire school year. No public gatherings or Friday prayers at the religiously-active college campus.

But these are only a few examples of what Muslims around the U.S. face everyday.

The attacks of September 11 have affected more than just typical "Americans". I am American too. Yes, I preserve my Arab culture and my Palestinian identity but I was also born and raised in Chicago. I speak English and even some Spanish. Hurricane Katrina hit me too – not physically of course but I became well aware of the oppression, the suffering, and the humility that my American brothers and sisters are forced to live with. My people can relate to your people. The economy affects me too. My family pays taxes. I say the Pledge of Allegiance. So do millions of other Americans. So how am I any different? Why can't I grieve also? I've prayed countless times for the people – Muslims and non-Muslims – who were killed in the attacks. We are all one and the same.

So stop associating Islam with terrorism. Ask yourself: are those "Muslims" who hijacked those planes really Muslims? I can't judge anyone's faith, but I'm 100% positive that their actions go against the values of Islam. The Qur'an condemns it, the mosques condemn it, the leaders condemn it, and of course, the Muslim world-community condemns it as well. Those radicals who praise the terrorists are exactly that: radicals. Do radicals always represent the truth? No. Does the Oklahoma City bomber represent American values? No. Does he represent Christian ethics? No. Do serial killers or rogue soldiers represent you, me, or us? No.

Logically, then, those terrorist hijackers do not represent Islam. They do not represent me, my family, my community, my friends, my country, my way of life, or my religion.

Islam is not a threat to the memories of the those killed during 9-11. Muslims were killed too, in case FOX News didn't tell you that. But Islam recognizes the power of humanity in its entirety. Not only do we grieve for the Muslims that were killed, but we also keep in our thoughts the faces, the names, and the families of all the 9/11 victims regardless of race, color, gender, size, or religion.

Eid al-Fitr will not be moved. As a matter of fact, even if it falls on September 11, I'm going to celebrate it with vigor – just like every other Muslim does. But if it's within my power, I will invite all my non-Muslim friends to celebrate with me. I'll invite the families of the victims for dinner at my place. We'll enjoy the day – and we will culminate by praying for those who were killed, those who continue to be killed, and those who live in constant oppression.

And whether you want to believe it or not, the Muslims of America live in oppression too. I'm an example. Every single day, America's peaceful Muslim communities are forced to live with the negative stereotypes, assumptions, and prejudice. We're slandered. We're made fun of. People swear at us. People yell at us. People burn our houses and then tell us to find a new home in another country. Some of my Muslim friends have parents who are still afraid of going out in public or unfamiliar places. Death threats don't surprise us anymore. Some people would even prefer to die rather than having to live in constant threat or fear for their lives. This is oppression.

Eid won't "fall" on 9-11. Nothing else will fall after those twin towers. But if Eid does indeed happen to be on the 11th of September, you're welcome to join us in festivities where together we'll remember the victims of crimes committed against humanity.

This post originally appeared on Sami Kishawi's blog Sixteen Minutes to Palestine.

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Peace talks in the shadow of demolitions
Aug 19, 2010 10:50 am | BADIL Resource Center

The BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, an independent, community-based non-profit organization mandated to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs, released the following statement today:

While President Barack Obama pressures Palestinians to re-engage in direct peace talks, and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu loftily counsels President Mahmoud Abbas not to miss the opportunity, recent demolitions within the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel continue unabated and unaddressed.

According to OCHA, July and August have marked the highest number of demolitions this year. As of the end of July, OCHA reports Israeli forces have destroyed over 230 structures effectively displacing and/or affecting over 1100 Palestinians, including 400 children since the beginning of 2010. Over 50% of said destruction has taken place in July alone. OCHA further comments that the Israeli Civil Administration will be stepping up demolitions in the West Bank per orders by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

In the Jordan Valley, Israeli forces have demolished the village of al Farisyia twice within the span of 10 days; first on July 19th and again on August 5th. These have resulted in the destruction of 116 structures and the displacement of 129 people, 63 of whom are children. In the second round of demolitions, 10 structures not previously harmed were demolished along with 27 structures and materials provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Israel has flagrantly disavowed its peace rhetoric by issuing additional demolition orders to be meted out on August 15th & 16th.

Moreover, Israeli authorities are proving complicit in vigilante activity among Jewish settlers in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. In the early morning hours of July 29th Jewish settlers stormed the Kirrech house, home to 9 Palestinian families, without sanction. Of these families, only one has been allowed restitution to their home by court order. The other eight families continue to be displaced while waiting for their case to be tried in court.

While UN bodies have condemned these demolitions, absent actionable measures, the condemnations alone fall short of the United Nations' obligations to maintain peace and security and to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Under international law the State is obliged to prevent, investigate, and provide remedy, and when it fails to do so the international community becomes responsible for providing victims with effective protection. Violence by non-state actors (settlers) should not be seen merely as provocative actions; but as part of an overarching policy backed by State authority. By stopping at rhetoric, the United Nations, States, and international organizations fail to adequately respond to Israel's human rights abuses that both fuel the humanitarian crisis and undermine the peace process.

In fact, even if Netanyahu's recent statements were to be considered sincere, Israel's actions are a flagrant rejection of the peace process and its underlying documents including the Oslo Accords which reserve settlements as a final status issue and the Road Map which outright prohibits settlement expansion.

Under the cover of its calls for the resumption for peace talks, Israel is also infringing on the rights of its own Palestinian citizens. Israeli forces have demolished Al Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Negev, 4 times from July 27th to August 17th, displacing 300 Palestinian citizens of Israel at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan forcing them to endure a recent heat wave living in the open air atop their cemetery. According to MK Talab al-Sana, "This is a test for democracy in Israel; and democracy is failing. Al Araqib is a test of how much Israelis can live in peace with their own Palestinian citizens; so, how can [Israel] live in peace with Palestinians [within Palestine]."

Demolitions and the denial of basic human rights, such as shelter, are features of Israel's apartheid regime and are indicative of the root causes of the ongoing humanitarian crises in the OPT. At best, Israel's recent demolitions can be considered attempts at colonization, at worst they can be interpreted as ethnic cleansing.

Taking these actions into account, one cannot help but be confused by the good faith underpinning the most recent calls for peace' talks. We call upon States, UN bodies, international organizations, and the international community at large to reconcile peace talks with humanitarian and human rights law in an effort to create an environment where peace may actually be sought instead of paying lip service to peace in the shadow of demolitions and displacement.

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Eden Abergil: 'I would gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them.'
Aug 19, 2010 10:40 am | Seham

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
US academic appeals to UN over Mamilla demolitions
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- US academic Rashid Khalidi appealed to the UN and other international officials Tuesday to defend a 12th century Muslim burial ground in West Jerusalem from desecration, providing new information on the latest wave of demolitions by the Jerusalem Municipality.

Human Rights Watch Israel: Stop Demolishing Bedouin Homes
(Jerusalem) - The Israeli government should immediately stop demolishing the homes of Bedouin citizens in the Negev desert in southern Israel and should compensate those displaced and allow them to return to their village pending a final agreement that respects their rights under international law, Human Rights Watch said today. Hundreds of police officers arrived unannounced at 6 a.m. on August 17, 2010, in Al Araqib and demolished about 20 makeshift structures, leaving scores of residents homeless as summer temperatures soared to 40 degrees Celsius, or 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Absentees against Their Will –Property Expropriation in East Jerusalem under the Absentee Property Law
Ir Amim - When East Jerusalem was annexed to Israel in 1967, all the laws of the State of Israel were applied to the annexed territory, including the Absentee Property Law of 1950, whose purpose was to transfer to the possession of the State of Israel the property of the Palestinian refugees of 1948.

Impact of Israeli Military Order No. 1650, Stephen Lendman
Located at the European University Institute (EUI), the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) conducts "inter-disciplinary and comparative research (on) major issues facing the process of integration and European society."  Prepared by Asem Khalil, its new report is titled, "Impact of Israeli Military Order No. 1650 on Palestinians' Rights to Legally Reside in Their Own Country."  Taking effect in April 2010, it defined all West Bank residents as "infiltrators" (including native born ones), requiring they get IDF-issued permits.

Expansion Of Settlements Continues
Despite an annouced settlement freeze, despite an imminent Quartet announcement, despite international pressure since the Gaza Flotilla, Israel declared it will build more in the West Bank.  Twenty-three mobile school units will be placed in 12 settler communities, including Ofra, Elon Moreh, Itamar, Emmanuel, and Talmon, according to the Hebrew-language Ma'ariv newspaper.  President Benyamin Netanyahu was behind the plan to build the housing for students of the Ariel University near Nablus. Netanyahu called an "urgent meeting" to discuss the settler's deprived education system. Attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister of Education Gideon Star and Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, the meeting members sought to "prevent a political and diplomatic crisis of lack of classrooms in the West Bank."

Silwan: When David Becomes Goliath
Fakhri Abu Diab abruptly interrupts the interview as an alarming swell of whistling rises up from the streets. He stands up and walks out of the "Al Bustan Center" tent, a makeshift wooden structure draped in black canvas and covered with blown up photos depicting moments of the neighborhood's popular struggle in the occupied East Jerusalem area of Silwan, the supposed site of the City of King David, the David who faced off Goliath.

Uprooted Villagers Hold Fast During Ramadan, Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler
JERUSALEM – On the eve of the start of Ramadan last week, Israeli police demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert. It was the third time within two weeks that the village had been razed.  Unfazed, the Bedouin villagers immediately began rebuilding.   "We have already put back up some 20 of our huts, and we're putting up more every day — despite the fast," village leader Sheikh Sayyah Abu Drim told IPS when reached by telephone a week after the last police action.   "We have nowhere else to go," said the Sheikh. More than 40 families live in al-Araqib.  At dawn last Tuesday, Israel Land Administration (ILA) officials, accompanied by a large police detail including over 100 border guards and mounted police, began their operation with the support of two bulldozers.

Who wants to set fire to the Negev?
"No state representative is getting involved in the irrational saga rolling over the backs of children and people whose rights have been trampled, people forgotten by the welfare authorities. Despite the demolitions, no representative of the state in charge of citizens' welfare comes to examine the goings on." Haia Noah calls the state to order following the destruction of the village of Al-Arakib.  The very same scenes replay, again: again a convey of police cars swoops down on some tabernacles made of wooden poles and covered with plastic sheeting, green or black, the only refuge in the Northern Negev from the sun and the hot and somewhat hellacious weather. After the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib was demolished a week before, great forces came again last week to destroy. To destroy everything.

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Live ammunition used on demonstrators in Gaza who move a section of the buffer-zone fence
On Tuesday morning a demonstration in Gaza by Palestinian activists from Local Initiative Beit Hanoun, with four International Solidarity Movement volunteers and other international activists and journalists was met with live ammunition fired by the Israeli army.  Soldiers opened fire on protestors in the buffer zone in Beit Hanoun, near to the Erez crossing but the demonstration succeeded in moving a section of the barbed wire fence dividing land on the Gazan side of the border.

Palestinians rally against Mamilla demolitions
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinians from Jerusalem and villages inside Israel rallied on Wednesday at the Mamilla cemetery in West Jerusalem to protest the razing of several Muslim tombstones by Israeli municipal staff.  Protesters gathered at the cemetery at 10am and called on the Israeli government to bring an end to demolitions, which began on 4 August. Several Palestinian dignitaries were present, including Jerusalem Mufti Mohammad Hussien, Fatah chief of Jerusalem affairs Hatem Abdul Qader and Archbishop Attallah Hanna.

Tulkarem: Sit-in at the gate of Wadi al-Rasha
August 18th, 2010-- Farmers chanted slogans denouncing the wall and the Israeli Occupation Forces who stop these farmers from reaching their land by refusing to open the gate. This land is owned by approximately 450 farmers from Wadi al-Rasha, Ras Tira and Mughara al-Dabaa.

Lebanese all-women aid ship to head to Gaza (AFP)
AFP - Organisers of a Lebanese women-only aid ship which plans to break the Gaza blockade announced on Thursday they will sail to Cyprus on the first leg of their journey this weekend.*

Report: Gaza-bound aid ship departs Algeria
Algerian-sponsored aid ship sets sail for Gaza with religious leaders and political officials on board, Channel 10 reports.

Legal victory for BDS campaigners
Charges against four Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners have been dropped in London because of the clearly illegal activities of an Israeli cosmetics firm against which the four had been demonstrating. The case threw up some unusual and possibly ground-breaking legal arguments.  Under international law, Israel's settlements on the occupied West Bank are illegal. The European Union, the United Nations and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed the illegality of the settlements, a position acknowledged by the majority of the world's nations. Given that well-established fact, it follows that companies which use illegally occupied land to produce and sell products of any kind are producing and selling illegal goods. It also follows that anyone buying such goods is helping to finance the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land. This is the message that BDS campaigners have been trying to get across to the general public.

UK, Irish artists saluted for principled boycott stance
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes the British dance group Faithless for declining to play in Israel this summer. The cancellation of the group's Israeli gig is the latest in a string of cancellations of performances in Israel by artists and musicians of conscience.

Chick Corea: don't turn your back in Gaza!
We are a group of students from Gaza, and our only fault is being Palestinians. For that, Mr. Corea, we are imprisoned with our families and loved ones in what major human rights organizations call the largest open air prison in modern history. The state you are planning to entertain committed a process of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people in 1948.

Students, boycott Israel's propagandist youth festival!
Once again, the Brand-Israel machine is in high gear, this time organizing a million-dollar international youth extravaganza in Eilat in September 2010 called "Funjoya." This unabashed propaganda exercise is sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Israeli Student Union, among other official and semi-official bodies.

Don't deny our rights: An open letter to Mahmoud Abbas
We are Palestinians of diverse perspectives and affiliations -- scholars, intellectuals, artists, activists, trade unionists, human rights advocates and civil society leaders, inside historic Palestine and in exile -- who are united in our commitment to the fulfillment of the fundamental rights of all Palestinians, particularly our inalienable right to self-determination. This universally sanctioned right encompasses, at a minimum, freedom from occupation and colonization in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem; full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

Hudson Inst primary financial backer of NGO behind campaign to purge Israeli universities of "leftists"
Newly uncovered documentation reveals that The Hudson Institute, an influential and activist neoconservative think-tank, has provided nearly $500,000 to the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS), an Israeli NGO at the forefront of an ongoing campaign to purge Israeli Universities of faculty and programs deemed "left-wing." The grants represent more than half of the IZS's total reported multi-year funding and position Hudson as the organization's largest donor.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights/Restriction of Movement
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory No. 32/2010, 05 – 11 Aug 2010

UN Report: Israel's Military impose Restrictions On Access To Land And Sea In The Gaza Strip
UN – PNN - Over the past ten years, the Israeli military has gradually expanded restrictions on access to farmland on the Gaza side of the 1949 'Green Line', and to fishing areas along the Gaza Strip coast, with the stated intention of preventing attacks on Israel  by Palestinian armed factions, the United Nation's Humanitarian affairs office,  OCHA, reported on Thursday.

In impoverished Gaza, electric company can't collect its bills
GAZA CITY, Gaza — The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, marked by daytime fasting and nighttime feasting, was just a few days away, but the Abu Hassan Sweet Shop in Gaza City was eerily empty recently.  Gaza's power plant had run out of fuel and had shut down the day before for the second time in two months, plunging the Strip's 1.5 million residents into 12 to 16 hours of darkness at a time. Mohamed Hassouna stood behind a wide tray of flaky desserts inside his shop, shouting over the constant thrum of its gasoline-powered generator.

Palestinians say Arab states cutting aid
* United Nations warns of crisis for PA salaries
* Aid crucial to West Bank growth and supports Gaza

Arab kids prepare to study in shelters
Hundreds of children living in east Jerusalem won't be starting school come September, simply because there is no room. Those who do will be studying in subpar conditions, with more than 50 students per classroom. 'This is clear discrimination, you don't see this situation in city's west,' says Association for Civil Rights lawyer.,7340,L-3939055,00.html

A Report from Gaza
Waltham resident Ridgely Fuller is spending several weeks in Gaza to address the needs of children affected by the Israeli blockade. This is his second trip. A social worker, Fuller is especially interested and trained in using specially designed play routines to help heal and build resiliency in children who have experienced trauma. He is in Gaza at the invitation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is responsible for critical service delivery to much of the population.

Israel shells east Gaza
tGaza, August 19, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli artillery shelled Thursday empty lands in east of Gaza city, no injuries were reported, local sources said.  Eyewitnesses said to SAFA Palestinian news agency that number of Israeli military vehicles stationed near Nahal Oz military site and searched that area then shelled number of shells.  Every now and then, Israeli tanks shell the borders of Gaza Strip to keep the Gazans away from the borders.

IOF raids villages of south Nablus
Nablus, August 19, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided the villages of south Nablus yesterday under the pretext of searching for "wanted Palestinians and weapons".  Eyewitnesses said to SAFA Palestinian news agency that IOF raided number of houses in Madama, Orata, Beta, Huara, Abones, Jma'n and Asera villages.  The sources added that IOF evacuated the houses from their residents and left damages in the furniture, adding that they used dogs in raiding some of the villages.

Three Palestinians seized by Israeli troops in overnight raids in Abu Dis, Hebron
In two separate invasions Tuesday night, Israeli forces attacked the east Jerusalem town of Abu Dis, and the southern West Bank city of Hebron, to search for men listed on the army's 'Wanted' list.

Hamas says PA detained 2 for political reasons
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – Palestinian Authority officers detained two men affiliated with the Hamas movement, a statement from the party said on Thursday.  The detentions, the statement said, were carried out in Nablus and Qalqiliya.  Ma'an could not independently verify the report, which said the detentions were carried out for politically-motivated reasons.

Lawyer says detainee could go blind without medical intervention
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian detainee from Ramallah appealed Wednesday for urgent intervention to receive treatment for an eye condition that could cause blindness, his lawyer said.  Tamer Hamayel was treated at the Hadassa and Ramlah hospitals, but doctors said they were unable to provide him with the required treatment for his condition.  Hamayel's lawyer said his client was detained on 6 November 2009, prior to which he was receiving specialized laser treatment in Jordanian hospitals.

Political/Flotilla Developments
US edges back on predictions of Quartet statement (AFP)
AFP - The United States edged back Wednesday from predicting when the diplomatic Quartet would issue a statement designed to support the relaunch of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.*

Palestinian group rejects planned direct talks
Ramallah: The Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) called on the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to reject direct talks with Israel, saying that any kind of involvement only provides a legal cover for its colonial activities.  Nazim Al Yousuf, deputy chairman of the PLF, said in a statement that Israel's accelerating aggression against the Palestinians comes at a time word about the planned direct talks is widespread. He said that Israeli aggression against the Palestinians takes many shapes in occupied Jerusalem, from colonial activities to blockading Gaza.

Leftist faction says Gaza police targeted member
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas government police opened fire at a member of the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine party south of Khan Younis, representatives said.  The party issued a statement saying Talal Abu Tharifeh was attacked while he was in his car in Khaza'a village, en route to mediate a dispute between members of his party and a group affiliated with the Islamic Jihad over what he called a "field dispute."

Ban delivers update on Goldstone follow-up
NEW YORK (Ma'an) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made no comment Tuesday, on submissions by Israeli and Palestinian commissions tasked with follow-up on recommendations made by the Goldstone report.  Following a request by the UN General Assembly, Ban submitted to the body a 247-page report on progress and updates, which was described by news wires as having "brief observations" about progress being made, but little else.

Police: Soldiers looted flotilla ships
Ynet learns military police suspect officer, soldier sold laptop computers stolen from aid ships while they docked in Ashdod, after controversial IDF raid. Officials say investigation likely to prove 'highly shameful' for Israel.,7340,L-3939481,00.html

MK Zoabi: Killers have no problem stealing
Arab MK who was on broad Turkish ship says she isn't surprised by looting affair.,7340,L-3939864,00.html

Turkey must oppose Uribe appointment to flotilla probe
Mr. Prime Minister, it is an insult to the memory of those killed in the Israeli massacre against peace activists aboard the Mavi Marmara to have their blood "redeemed" by a man who has a record of violations against human rights and international law.

Other News
'I would gladly kill Arabs - even slaughter them'
In new bid to defend publishing controversial images, former IDF soldier Eden Abergil writes on Facebook 'In war there are no rules.'

Facebook page launched in support of Israeli soldier who posed with Palestinian detainees
A new Facebook page appeared in support of the Israeli soldier who posted pictures of herself smiling in front of bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.

Settlement rabbi arrested on suspicion of incitement to racism
Rabbi Yosef Elitzur co-authored the book 'The King's Torah' which condones the murder of non-Jews.

Rally held for rabbis suspected of incitement
Religious leaders gather to support rabbis who endorsed book permitting violence against non-Jews.,7340,L-3939519,00.html

Israel Places Order For 20 F-35s; U.S. Picks Up The Tab
The Israeli Air Force expects to take delivery of the first aircraft in 2015. The article quotes Barak saying the F-35 costs $96 million a copy. The entire deal will be funded by American military aid.

U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows
Survey conducted by U.S.-Jewish group the Israel Project asked Americans and Europeans about their views on Israel.

Poll: Less than half of Americans think Netanyahu gov't wants peace
Survey by The Israel Project also finds Israel's standing has also declined in Germany, France and Sweden.

Israel to win in Australian elections; Aussie parties support Israel

As the two major parties in Australia's federal election vie for the title of Israel's most ardent backer, most Jewish leaders believe that Australia's longstanding, strong bilateral support for the Jewish state will not be jeopardized regardless of the outcome.

Hamas bans Gaza's lingerie displays
Hamas has demanded that shops in Gaza stop displaying female lingerie, the latest in a series of new rules imposed in the name of "public morality". The most popular lingerie shop in Gaza has been told not to display bras, underwear or nightdresses, even inside the shop. The lingerie display rule comes after Hamas banned women from smoking shisha on beaches or riding on motorbikes. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from the Gaza Strip.

Israel media publish new Facebook soldier-prisoner shots (AFP)
AFP - Israeli media carried new pictures on Wednesday of troops posing with handcuffed Palestinian prisoners, two days after a former soldier caused uproar for posting such images on Facebook.*

Illegal Israeli PR in America: Declassified
A huge trove of newly declassified documents subpoenaed during a 1962-1964 Senate investigation reveals how Israel's lobby pitched, promoted, and paid to have content placed in America's top news magazines with overseas funding. The Atlantic (and many others others) received hefty rewards for trumpeting Israel's most vital – but damaging – PR initiatives across America.  The relevant documents are now online.

Wikipedia editing courses launched by Zionist groups
Two Israeli groups set up training courses in Wikipedia editing with aims to 'show the other side' over borders and culture

Hot-air balloon ride for 'Best Zionist Editor'
TEL AVIV (Ma'an) -- A powerful Israeli settlement group has offered a free hot-air balloon ride to the winner of its new initiative to alter articles on the online information site Wikipedia, an Israeli newspaper reported Wednesday.  The Yesha Council of settlements announced the prize for the "Best Zionist Editor" - the person who over the next four years incorporates the most "Zionist" changes in the encyclopedia, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.  "The idea is not to make Wikipedia rightist but for it to include our point of view," Naftali Bennett, the director of the Yesha Council, told Haaretz, explaining that it and another right-wing group, Israel Sheli, held their first course Tuesday in Jerusalem.

Lobby once worked the 'Atlantic' and Martha Gellhorn to deprive Palestinian refugees of standing, Philip Weiss
Wonderful reporting by Grant Smith on the nascent Israel lobby, and the fact that the American Zionist Council (or AZC) in the 1960s worked hard to oppose efforts by American presidents to bring justice to the refugees expelled from Palestine and Israel in '48. (I have written about this myself, showing that over several decades American presidents sought to honor the refugees' rights; Smith fills out the picture). The lobby did so by working the media and, as always, cultivating elites-- "molders" of opinion.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Women breaking barriers
Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency recently published a report about two sisters from the Gaza Strip, aged 13 and 16, who went to work in the fishing industry to support their family following their father's illness. The report drew much interest and was translated and published on several Arabic language websites. True, it is out of the ordinary for two girls in a conservative society to find themselves in a field, or sea, as it were, usually reserved for men, but considering the difficult situation in Gaza– 39.3% unemployment in the second quarter of 2010, with the number of people living in abject poverty rising in the last two years from 100,000 to 300,000 according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territory–many women are taking the initiative to try and earn a living to help their families make ends meet.

Justifying Pogroms and Infanticide
With thick beards, wide-brimmed hats, black suits and long curls, almost 300 rabbis and settlers filled the Conference for the Independence of Torah last night in Jerusalem's Ramada Renaissance Hotel. From wrinkled elders to pimply adolescents, they all came to proclaim rabbinical autonomy from the law. Rabbis should be able to argue within their religious teachings without legal consequence - even if they call for blood.

Playing the Never Again Card, Again,  Jeff Gates
The phony intelligence used to induce our March 2003 invasion of Iraq has been dusted off. This time it's being deployed to take us into Iran.  Same scam. Same storyline. Same fraud—even featuring some of the same players.  Except that this time around their deception lacks the broader context required to gain traction for their phony content. That key difference makes today's perpetrators far more transparent—for those willing to look.  Those foisting on us this latest fraud also face another challenge: Americans now realize it was Israel and its advocates who fixed that false intelligence around a Zionist agenda.  That realization adds combustibility to the facts now fueling Israel's fast-fading legitimacy.

Modern or Throwback, Zionist State is Wrong
I used to use the argument "Israel as an ethnic-based exclusively Jewish state is a throwback to earlier centuries, and modern states are secular and non-exclusive." I used it until someone completely tore it to pieces. He was right.  The issue isn't that the state of Israel is a good thing or not. It definitely was illegitimately created by expelling the majority Palestinian population and creating a Jewish ethnocracy. It's also an expansionist Western colonial settler-state based on theft and oppression (not just in the West Bank but from 1948 on). But don't use the "not a modern state" argument.

I am a Palestinian-American, and people tell me about my freedom,  Sara Nasrallah
Flipping through a book of I.D.s from each country and territory in the world we keep around at my job (the number one capitalist and pro-American entity: a bank), I look for a picture of a Palestinian I.D.  It is a thick book with multiple pictures from each country, detailing the special feature each I.D. has, used to make sure we do not get a fraudulent I.D. I see Israeli I.D.'s of course. So I keep looking and searching through pages. Maybe it's under "territories", or maybe they have a section for occupied territories? I find nothing. I commented:"There is no Palestinians I.D. in here." My co-worker, who has been to Israel and is an ultra Christian, quickly responds "no country, especially the U.S. will declare Palestine as a legitimate state." I have nothing to say to him. The land I am from, the I.D. I possess (which I believe is the most important piece of paper I hold) are illegitimate according to the banks and apparently to any legal institution in the United States.

Im Tirtzu's onslaught / No to the thought police
If the face of Zionism resembles that of Im Tirzu and its funders, we should consider a face transplant.

It's better not to ask questions, MuzzleWatch by Sydney Levy
Here's a lesson in democracy. In preparation for the upcoming November elections a group of local activists sent a questionnaire to the 85 candidates from their county running for seats in the state legislature. They hoped the information they'd receive would encourage debate and allow voters to make better decisions at the ballot box.  What did they get instead? They got slammed. Their survey was called "abhorrent and repulsive," and the newspaper that brought the charges against them ignored their calls for a reasonable policy debate and did not allow them to respond with as little as a letter to the editor.

The Israeli Images, FARZANA VERSEY
Eden Abergil is, quite rightly, confounded. She cannot "understand what's wrong" about her posting pictures of herself, a former Israeli soldier, posing with blindfolded Palestinian prisoners and uploading them on her Facebook page.  As a member of the Israeli armed force not only was she expected to resort to violence, but to hate the very idea of Palestine. The outrage her social networking has sparked off is merely a facile reaction. Why does a military spokesperson describe her behaviour as "disgraceful" when far worse happens on the ground? The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, captain Arye Shalicar said: "It was just something very foolish and stupid – and I hoped there wouldn't be any media interest."

And the State, is It Loyal?,  Neve Gordon
Several weeks ago, hundreds of students demonstrated in front of Ben-Gurion University's administration building. About a third of the protestors were expressing their opposition to the government's decision to attack the relief flotilla, while the remaining two thirds came to support the government. At one point the pro-government protesters began chanting: 'No citizenship without loyalty!'  While loyalty is no doubt an important form of relationship both in the private and public spheres, unpacking its precise meaning in the Israeli context reveals a disturbing process whereby the democratic understanding of politics is being inverted.

Israel isn't nice to her friends
A leading Israeli official has provided the latest insight into Israel's dilemma in the Middle East. The article is ostensibly about the dilemma of the "eastern front," or Israel's border with Jordan, but what Ephraim Sneh describes, inadvertently it seems, is actually a long-standing dilemma of Israeli policy, and perhaps its very identity.

12 Israeli warplanes violate Lebanese airspace
BEIRUT: The guidance directorate of the Lebanese Army issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace, contravening Resolution 1701. According to the statement, eight Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace over the southern village of Rmeish at 10:30 am and performed circular maneuvers in the skies over all Lebanese areas, before leaving Lebanese airspace above the coastal town of Naqoura at 11 am. Also, at 10:35 am, two Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace over the northern city of Byblos and performed circular maneuvers over the Riyaq and Baalbek areas before leaving Lebanon at 11:50 am above the coastal town of Naqoura. At 10:40 am, two Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace over the northern city of Byblos and performed circular maneuvers over all Lebanese areas before leaving Lebanon at 11:50 am above the coastal town of Naqoura, it said.

IAF Sets New Guidelines in Case of War with Hezbollah, Hamas
18/08/2010 Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post published a report on Tuesday in which it said that the Israeli Air Force set new guidelines for flying in airspace in case of war with Hezbollah and Hamas.  The report said that in a future war with Hezbollah and Hamas, there would likely be thousands of missiles fired into the Zionist entity. In response, Israel will likely fire hundreds, if not thousands, of interceptors.  "With such a busy airspace, how does the Israel Air Force's fleet of helicopters, fighter jets and drones fit in? This question was at the center of a study conducted by the IAF aimed at setting new guidelines for flying in airspace filled with enemy missiles and Israeli interceptors," the Israeli daily added.

Israel, Lebanon oppose border escalation: UN force (AFP)
AFP - Israel and Lebanon are both opposed to a military escalation along their shared border, the head the UN force deployed in south Lebanon said on Thursday, two weeks after deadly frontier skirmishes.*

Hariri praises handover of STL 'evidence'
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri emphasized on Wednesday his commitment to the UN probe into his father former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's assassination and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) as the appropriate authority to seek justice.

Lebanon to investigate "false witnesses" in Hariri's assassination
BEIRUT, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese cabinet on Wednesday tasked a minister to deal with the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)'s "false witnesses" after Hezbollah called for such a move.  "The cabinet tasked Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar to follow up the issue with the Lebanese judiciary and prepare a report on the matter," announced Lebanese Minister of Information Tarek Metri.  Following the cabinet session, Agriculture Minister Hussein al- Hajj Hassan, a Hezbollah official, said he was "satisfied" with the cabinet's decision.

Jumblatt: There's Need to Keep Saad Hariri as Prime Minister
18/08/2010 The head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt stressed that no one wants to topple the international tribunal and said there is a need to keep Saad Hariri as prime minister.  "No one wants to topple the court. There is a Lebanese-Syrian agreement to keep it although Syria is not involved," Jumblatt told Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar. "There is a huge difference between the tribunal and the indictment," he said.  On discussions about toppling the government, Jumblat said: "Better live in a country that has a government then a country in vacuum."  "There is a need to keep Saad Hariri as prime minister," he added.  In other remarks to As-Safir daily, Jumblatt said that parliament's decision to grant Palestinians fuller employment rights was a modest step. He thanked Speaker Nabih Berri, however, for insisting on adopting a consensual approach in dealing with the issue.  Jumblatt vowed to continue efforts to adopt the remaining rights no matter how hard and "bumpy" the road was.

Sleiman: Equipping Army Essential for Defensive Strategy
19/08/2010 Once again, the same scenario repeated itself in Lebanon: a national dialogue session was held, ideas were exchanged over the country's defense strategy and a new date was set to proceed. The only different thing was the meeting's location: Beiteddine Palace, the presidential summer residence.  That's it. After holding another fruitless session that lasted around three hours, the national dialogue committee set October 19 the date for the next round of talks.  In a statement it released, the committee stressed the importance of consolidating political and security stability and commitment to decisions reached during previous sessions, including those linked to Palestinian arms outside refugee camps and holding onto media and political calm.

Lebanon militants: Leader slain en route to Iraq (AP)
AP - An al-Qaida-inspired group says its leader and a top commander were heading to Iraq to join insurgents there when Lebanese security troops killed them over the weekend, according to a U.S. terror-monitoring firm.*

Report: Israel soldier offered info on Hariri killing
BEIRUT (Ma'an) -- A former Israeli military officer offered information about the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri to the Lebanese government, the Beirut-based Al-Diyar daily reported Wednesday.  The report, quoted by the Israeli news site Ynet, said the unnamed ex-soldier showed up at the Lebanese embassy in Prague claiming to have information about the 2005 car bombing that killed Hariri in Beirut.

Jumblatt says he relayed Assad's concerns over Lebanese stability to US official
BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt told Al-Akhbar newspaper in comments published on Wednesday that he conveyed a message from Syrian President Bashar Assad to US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs during a meeting last week in Paris.

Palestinians rally at UNRWA to demand more rights
BEIRUT: Palestinian activists and factions gathered Wednesday near the UN Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA) services manager's office in Nahr al-Bared camp, calling for enhancing the humanitarian rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Israel's multi-front war on Lebanese resistance
Border clashes between Lebanon and Israel earlier this month, and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah's presentation of evidence that Israel may have assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005. are much more than a routine tug-of-war between two long-time foes. Hicham Safieddine analyzes for The Electronic Intifada.

OPT: Serving Ein El Helweh Camp in Lebanon
Ein El Helweh is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon but is squeezed into an area of roughly 1.5 square kilometers. Living conditions for more than 70,000 refugees living there are unhealthy and often dangerous.  Human Call Hospital sits near the end of one of the crowded streets that run through the camp in Saida, Lebanon. Hospital Director Dr. Amer El Sammak explains that Human Call has the only clinic open 24/7 to treat emergencies, making its services critical for the camp's residents.

Chickenfeed for the Soul, FRANKLIN LAMB
At 3:02 p.m. on August 17 Lebanon's Parliament began its deliberation on granting basic civil rights to its Palestinian refugees and within four minutes agreed to alter article 50 of Lebanon's 1964 labor law to theoretically make it easier for Palestinian refugees to obtain a work permit and a job. There was no discussion of other draft bills to grant Palestinian refugees elementary civil rights, and fifteen minutes later, by 3:17 p.m. Parliament had agreed on the next bill involving excavating for oil, which may bring millions to some well placed members. Many MP's hadn't studied either bill.

Amanda Abou Abdallah, "The Adventures of Salwa" (Animation)
Salwa is an ordinary woman who is sick of sexual harassment that has become part of her daily life and decides to take matters into her own hands. Her superpower lies in her bag.

Iraq insurgents murder farmers to warn against working with US
BAQOUBA, Iraq: Three farmers were killed and leaflets pinned to their bodies on Wednesday warning against cooperation with American and Iraqi forces in a brutal act of intimidation as thousands of US troops leave.

Wednesday: 16 Iraqis Killed, 29 Wounded
The new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, arrived in Baghdad where he met with leaders to formally accept his new post. Baghdad was also the scene of numerous if small attacks against government officials, but the most gruesome attack occurred in Diyala where gunmen left the following message on their victims: "This is the future for all those who cooperate with the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces." Overall, at least 16 Iraqis were killed and 29 more were wounded.

Insurgents kill 5 govt employees around Iraq (AP)
AP - A series of attacks and roadside bomb explosions killed five Iraqi government employees on Wednesday as insurgents maintain a steady campaign of attacks against the country's institutions and security forces just two weeks before the formal end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq.*

Jaafar al-Sadr : A confluence prime minister for Iraq
In Iraq and the wider Middle East, Jaafar needs no introduction. His father, Mohammad Baqer al-Sadr, was the most remarkable Islamic thinker of the 20th century. He was executed without trial by Saddam Hussein, together with Jaafar's aunt Bint al-Huda, on 8 April 1980.

Iraq coalition talks break down amid sectarianism claims
Coalition talks between Iraq's main political parties remained in disarray Wednesday amid mutual accusations of sectarianism, leaving the country without a government more than five months after elections that were meant to be a test of stability.

Questions over Iraq war funds
The US, which has withdrawn its last combat brigade from Iraq, has spent at least $700 billion on the Iraq war since its start more than seven years ago. But that figure does not include future interest payments and long-term care for wounded soldiers. Now, there are also concerns that funds for Iraq's reconstruction are being misspent. Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman has more. (18 July 2010). But 56,000 American troops remain, most of whom will stay in Iraq until the end of next year, in what the Obama administration says is a military, training and advisory role. The US has spent at least $700 billion on the Iraq war. But that is not counting future interest payments and long-term care for wounded soldiers. There are now also concerns that funds for the reconstruction of Iraq are being misspent. Tom Ackerman has more.

Khamenei: No talks with US unless sanctions dropped
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that any talks with arch-foe the US would occur only if Washington drops "sanctions and threats" against Tehran. "The respected president [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] and others have said that we are ready for negotiations.

Iran To Respond If Israel Attacks
"In that case we will lose a power plant, but Israel's existence will be in danger," Ahmad Vahidi was cited as saying today by the state-run Mehr news agency, in response to questions about the possibility of an attack by Israel on the Russian-built atomic facility at Bushehr.

Russia defends Iran nuclear plant ahead of launch
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the controversial power plant as an "anchor" that would keep Iran firmly fixed to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Ahmed Moor: America Cannot Go to War for Israel
The mongrel dogs of war are foaming at the bit. For years they've cowered in their damp trenches, bristling in the heat. But they're back now. They've gathered their sagging flesh and cast their milky, crusty eyes at Iran. The mongrel dogs of war are planning another war.  The Zionists Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeffrey Goldberg and George Will want young American men and women to attack Iran on behalf of Israel. These are the same men who wanted young American men to attack Iraq. But Iran is not Iraq, and many thousands of Americans will die in the next war. This will not be a cakewalk or a slam dunk. And no enwreathed children will greet Americans in the streets with lily-white flower petals.

U.S. and Other World News
Poll: Growing number incorrectly call Obama Muslim
US survey based on interviews conducted before controversy over ground zero mosque shows 18% think their president is Muslim, up from 11% who said so in March 2009.,7340,L-3939636,00.html

Muslims brace for backlash over Sept. 11 Eid el Fitr celebrations
U.S. Muslim organizations ask police to be vigilant due to fear that Americans will misinterpret Muslim celebrations on anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks.

Exclusive: Obama's pledge to close down Guantanamo is 'not even close'
Commander says camp will take months to shut – and he's still waiting for the order

WikiLeaks: Pentagon ready to discuss Afghan files
WikiLeaks: Pentagon says willing to discuss request for help in reviewing Afghan war documents WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday the Pentagon has expressed willingness to discuss the online whistleblower's request for help in reviewing classified documents from the Afghan war and removing information that could harm civilians.

US military denies Wikileaks talks
Pentagon dismisses website's claims it wants talks on release of new Afghan war documents.

Blackwater Founder Moves to Abu Dhabi, Records Say
Erik Prince, whose company, Blackwater Worldwide, is for sale and whose former top managers are facing criminal charges, has left the United States and moved to Abu Dhabi, according to court documents.

Muslim Disneyland Employee: Park Banned My Head Scarf
ANAHEIM, Calif. — A Muslim woman who works as a hostess at a Disneyland restaurant alleged Wednesday the theme park would not allow her to appear in front of customers while wearing her head scarf.  Imane Boudlal, 26, appeared outside the resort's Grand Californian Hotel after filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  She said when she wore the hijab to work Sunday, her supervisors told her to remove it, work where customers couldn't see her, or go home.  Boudlal, who wore the scarf in observance of Ramadan, chose to go home but reported to work for the next two days and was told the same thing.

AP fact check: Islam 'already part of WTC neighborhood'
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A New York imam and his proposed mosque near ground zero are being demonized by political candidates - mostly Republicans - despite the fact that Islam is already very much a part of the World Trade Center neighborhood.

Howard Dean: Move NYC mosque
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says the Muslim community center and mosque being planned near the World Trade Center site is an "affront" to people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, and the center should be moved elsewhere.

US spending $16,000 for imam's Mideast tour
American taxpayers will pay the imam behind plans for a mosque near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks $3,000 in fees for a three-nation outreach trip to the Middle East that will cost roughly $16,000, the State Department said Wednesday.

Governor seeks 9/11 mosque talks
"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington," Mr. Gingrich said on Fox News this week. "We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There's no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center."

Mosque-Erade; What Political Courage Looks Like, Glenn Greenwald
Sharif El-Gamal, categorically refused even to consider backing down.  He made clear that Park 51 has the absolute constitutional right to build a community center in Lower Manhattan, and refused even to acknowledge the toxic notion that Muslims generally somehow bear responsibility for the 9/11 attack.

Mosque-Issippi Burning
Does anyone seriously say that there shouldn't be a Christian church near the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, just because Timothy McVeigh was a Christian?

Victimization and a Cultural Center, Dan Lieberman
The polarizing debate continues, gathering steam with political implications; mosque or no mosque on Park Place, two city blocks from 'ground zero.' Guided by emotions, all of which are not entirely clear, and by spurious concepts, which proceed from conditioned thought, the negative reactions to the construction of an Islamic complex in New York City disintegrate from the force of logic and analysis.  The antis to the project view the world more by slogans than by objectivity. They eagerly co-opt the 9/11 tragedy as a driving force in their lives and establish themselves as the victims, which simplifies their controversial decisions; after all victims cannot be perpetrators, and therefore cannot be wrong.

Isn't Tolerance an American Virtue?, George S. Hishmeh - Washington, D.C. 
Observing the shameful and venomous debate raging in the US over plans for a Muslim civic centre and a mosque in downtown Manhattan two blocks from Ground Zero, I could not help but recall the time when my father took me to visit Syria and Jordan while I was a student at the American University of Beirut.  One of the most striking revelations for me, as a Christian, was seeing the tomb where the head of John the Baptist was said to lie inside the famous Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

Eid al-Fitr, 9/11, and my status in America, Sami Kishawi
I came across a news headline that said "Eid festival expected to fall on 9/11. US protesters demand it be moved to another day out of respect for victims". This isn't just ridiculous or absurd. This is blatant prejudice. And this is my testimonial.  For those who might not know, Eid al-Fitr is a celebration or festival that Muslims observe to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Just like other Muslim holidays, it's a strictly religious and cultural affair. It celebrates the end of the fasting period and the beginning of a purified way of life. There is absolutely no political significance to it whatsoever.

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Michael Santomauro
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