Dec 24, 2010



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Michael Santomauro
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What sort of TRUTH is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?

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Elie Wiesel Cons the World | A Blog Dedicated to Finding out the Truth about Elie Wiesel's Tattoo

Michael Santomauro
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What sort of TRUTH is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?

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How I was smeared as an anti-Semite


Christina Patterson: How I was smeared as an anti-Semite

The Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal died five years ago, at 96. Just, perhaps, before he could hunt me down, too

The Independent | Thursday, 23 December 2010

At the end of a long and exhausting year, it's sometimes hard to know what will hit the spot. A spa break in Thailand? A month-long marathon of black and white weepies? Or, perhaps, a little surprise. The surprising news, for example, that an organisation famed for hunting down Nazis has named you as one of its top 10 villains for 2010.

It was on Twitter, that online refuge for the bored and wanting-to-be-witty, that I suddenly saw my name next to the words "Simon Wiesenthal". I clicked on the link and there, on something called "Fishbowl LA", I was. "This," it said, "is definitely an awards season Top Ten list no one wants to be on". The LA Simon Wiesenthal Centre had, it said, "unveiled its Top Ten Anti-Semitic Slurs" for 2010 and I – nestling between a Lithuanian Holocaust-denier, who described the Nuremberg trial as "the biggest legal farce in history", and anonymous contributions on the Goldman Sachs message boards, which begged for the return of the Gestapo and exhorted readers to "burn all the Jews" – was at No 9.

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Simon Wiesenthal, as far as I could remember, was the Holocaust survivor who was involved in the capture and conviction of Adolf Eichmann. A quick check online (but not on the Goldman Sachs message boards) established that he was also involved in the capture of Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka death camp, and Hermine Braunsteiner-Ryan, who had ordered the torture and murder of thousands of women and children at Majdanek, and Karl Silberbauer, the Gestapo officer responsible for the arrest of Anne Frank. Wiesenthal died five years ago, at the age of 96. Just, perhaps, before he could hunt me down, too.

The work he started continues in his name. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, based in LA but with franchises in New York, Toronto, Miami, Paris, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, is "an international Jewish human rights organisation" that "confronts anti-Semitism", "stands with Israel" and "defends the safety of Jews worldwide". Its last press release, before the one in which I star, was headed "Wiesenthal Centre Welcomes Rejection by Budapest Court of Libel Suit by Convicted Nazi War Criminal Against its Chief Nazi-Hunter Dr Efraim Zuroff". Personally, I think I'd put that in my Top Ten Unsnappy Headlines With Way Too Many Capital Letters of 2010, to be unveiled on my new website, Fishbowl Hackney, but style, it's clear from the cake stands, fig baskets and salt and pepper shakers in the online store of the Simon Wiesenthal's "Museum of Tolerance", isn't anyone's top priority.

The "Museum of Tolerance", by the way, is a "human rights laboratory and educational centre" funded by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. There's one in New York and there's going to be one in Jerusalem, on the site of a Muslim cemetery, which the Muslims haven't regarded as all that tolerant, which the Muslims have, in fact, been quite upset by. Since their protests have got them nowhere, they might consider taking part in the "Museum of Tolerance" online poll about bullying. "Have you been bullied?" it asks, and then invites you to tick the box for "race", "religion", "appearance", "sexual orientation" or "other", which pretty much ensures that the proportion of the world's population who can claim to be a victim is around 100 per cent.

Is it my style that the Wiesenthal lot don't like? My prose style, or the hairstyle in my photo? It is, to be honest, rather hard to work out, because next to a photo of me – looking, no doubt, just like Hermine Braunsteiner-Ryan – they've simply chucked a chunk of text from a column I wrote in July. The column was about the limits of multiculturalism. In it, I criticised the bad manners of some of my Hasidic Jewish neighbours and, much more importantly, certain practices, in different religious communities, which conflict with some of the values in British society – free speech, sexual equality, gay rights, the rights of children not to be mutilated by their parents – that have been hardest won. The bad manners, I argued, were the acceptable face of multiculturalism. Some of the practices weren't.

The column, it's true, created a bit of a stir. On the blogosphere, I was Stoke Newington's answer to Eichmann. In my email inbox, however, I was Julian Assange, and with almost as many offers of what we might politely call marriage. Some of them, or at least some of the messages of support, were from people called Solomon, Symons or Greenfeld. Some were from some of my Hasidic Jewish neighbours. Some of them wanted to meet me, to tell me more about the pressures of living in a community that "survives because of the virtual imprisonment of its participants". Fearing discovery, they, at the last minute, didn't.

The day after Twitter's not-so-secret Santa, I had an email from an Orthodox Jew ("you may even," he said, "say 'Ultra' Orthodox") from New York. He had, he said, seen the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list. "What you said," he said, "is not anti-Semitic. I apologise to you for their wrong". A Jewish man in Canada wrote to say that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre "purposely gave an inaccurate impression" and that he had written to them to complain. Another said that the Wiesenthal Centre had been "irresponsible". Another that they were "obviously desperate". The Wiesenthal Centre, he said, was, "quite simply, not serious".

Well, I don't know if they're desperate, but they seem pretty damn serious to me. They, and their friends in this country, seem pretty damn serious that anyone, anywhere, who criticises the behaviour of anyone who happens to be Jewish should be stuck in the stocks and slapped with a label that marks them out as not just racist, but a hater of a particular, entire race, so that when anyone puts their name in Google, what pops up is words like "anti-Semitic", "prick" and "bigot". They seem pretty damn serious that their support for "Jewish Rights in the World" translates into direct support of Israel, too. "Had enough of Israel-bashing?" asks the Wiesenthal website. "Act now!" To speed things along, it has even written the letter. "To the President, Prime Minister and Leaders of Israel," it says. "We are with you!! Don't heed the world's Israel-bashers. We, Jewish and non-Jewish lovers of peace, are with you in your just defensive war against Hamas terror."

It doesn't matter if a UN report says that Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla "betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality". It doesn't matter if its soldiers use weapons banned by the Geneva Convention. It doesn't matter if they use a nine-year-old child as a human shield. It doesn't matter if its citizens raze homes and build new ones on someone else's land. Or if they destroy their neighbours' crops and treat them like criminals. It doesn't matter what they do. "We stand," says the Wiesenthal website, "in solidarity." And we know what they call those who don't.

When Hannah Arendt, whose book about Eichmann she called "a report on the banality of evil", was told by her fellow German-Jewish philosopher, Gershom Scholem, that he could find "little trace" of "love of the Jewish people" in her work, she said this. "You are quite right," she told him in a letter. "I am not moved by any 'love' of the sort, and for two reasons: I have never in my life 'loved' any people or collective... The only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons." The same, she didn't add, but might have, goes for hate, too.;

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Christmas Message


Christmas: A Holiday to Love and Preserve

Dear Friend,

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the word "Christmas" was all around us during the month of December. Everywhere you looked — in shops, town centres, cities, offices and of course in every home — there were Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, Christmas presents and the great Christmas spirit which characterised our nation.

Always Winter, Never Christmas

Just as told in the popular children's story, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Christmas has become a dirty word and has been replaced by "holiday" or even "Winterval." However, unlike in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, there are no evil witches cancelling Christmas. Evil establishment politicians are now doing this job, now we even find schools cancelling Christmas Nativity plays for fear of offending non-Christians.

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Nick Grffin Christmas Message on Youtube.The War on Christmas has Begun

Christmas is under threat, in just the same way as our nation, our beliefs and our traditions and as we come under this increasing attack, we must make the extra effort to preserve our heritage and our way of life. After all, if we do not, who will?

Pope Benedict XVI highlighted the PC madness on it during his recent visit to Britain when he said:

"There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none."

I am ready for the fight…ARE YOU WITH ME?

The time to make our stand has come. It is time we challenged the enemies of our country and our traditions head on. I need your help to do this!
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So let's fight back against the war on Christmas. A gift of £20, £50, £100 or even £500, will help our campaign against the Islamification of Britain and for the preservation of our culture and beliefs.

Merry Christmas,
Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin, MEP
Leader, British National Party

P.S. The best Christmas present that we can give the British people is a strong, united British National Party fighting for their interests. I need your most generous support today. .

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The Latest from Mondoweiss for 12/24/2010


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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 12/24/2010:

Israeli military kills 20-year old Gazan for herding animals too close to buffer zone
Dec 24, 2010 01:37 am | Adam Horowitz

From the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza:

Yesterday morning Salama Abu Hashish, 20 years, was herding his sheep and goats in Beit Lahya, in northern Gaza, when the Israeli Occupation Forces shot him without any warning. The bullet hit his back and went straight through one of his kidneys. He had surgery and was in the intensive care unit at Kamal Adwan Hospital, where he died at 5.30 pm. The IOF has not only taken a life away from the Abu Hashish family; it widowed a young woman and orphaned a baby that was only born the previous evening. Salama Abu Hashish had just become a father, but has not even been able to name his first born. Three more workers were injured in northern Gaza by Israeli bullets yesterday.

Yesterday's attacks come amidst an escalating Israeli assault on workers in the border area: in the past five weeks alone, 40 people have been injured in the buffer zone, an Israeli military-declared no-go zone that runs along the Gazan side of the border in a swathe 300 to 500 meters wide. However, according to the United Nations, the "high risk" zone stretches up to 1000-1500 meters. The total area amounts to 35% of Gaza's arable land. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 84 workers have been injured and nine have been killed by the Israeli military since January 2010. Salama Abu Hashish is the tenth victim of Israel's war on the border area in this year alone.

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Riad Abu Hashish, the victim's uncle, says that Salama regularly took his sheep and goats to the northern border area to graze. Yesterday, he was approximately 150 to 200 meters from the border when he was hit by an IOF sniper. As ambulances cannot reach the buffer zone without Israeli coordination, nearby scrap collectors carried Salama away on their donkey cart.

"This is all because of the occupation and the poverty it has brought to Gaza! He only risked going to the dangerous buffer zone, because there are no other possibilities for feeding his animals", said Riad Abu Hashish in shock.

ISM Gaza calls for an immediate end of the shooting of innocent civilians, driven to such work by the illegal blockade and urges the international community to pressure Israel to end these attacks.

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We're number one! Bibi protest top global Jewish news story of 2010
Dec 24, 2010 01:14 am | Matthew Taylor

JPost is running a poll to measure the #1 biggest Jewish world news event of 2010, and guess what's in the lead? Right there at the top is the Young Jewish Proud action to disrupt Netanyahu with messages about what really delegitimizes Israel at the Jewish Federation's national conference in New Orleans in November.

One of the other nominees is "de-legitimatization of Israel goes mainstream". Nothing about Israel's actual actions of occupation and inequality... And of course, no mention at all of Israel's piratic massacre of civilians on the high seas, which I would certainly have chosen as #1 given the opportunity...

Click the link and vote!

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Horowitz joins stellar group of judges in Mondo Awards contest
Dec 24, 2010 12:17 am | Philip Weiss

I have dropped the ball: Our fifth judge in the Mondo Awards contest that begins to unfold in just a few days is our own Adam Horowitz.

I can't praise Horowitz enough. I first met him 2-1/2 years ago at New York events about the right of return and was impressed by his steadiness, his seriousness, his sincerity and his great sense of humor. At that time Adam was working for the American Friends Service Committee, before that he had done community organizing work in Atlanta and New York and had earned a Master's in international affairs at NYU. He'd also led many tours to the West Bank and had helped build the new political community that was developing on this issue by working patiently and good-naturedly with the most diverse cast of characters. When I think of people for whom borders do not exist, and for whom prejudice is simply not a factor-- Adam Horowitz is my exemplar. In 2008 Adam began working with Mondo and he has made this site what it is today, no longer a personal whittling project, but a go-to site for news and views on the conflict.

Adam joins an illustrious group: Susan Abulhawa, Omar Barghouti, Helena Cobban and Joseph Dana.

So please, get your compositions in now. Review the guidelines and criteria here. The doors are closing, the doors are closing, as they say at certain religious events. Just a few days left to send in your screed/haiku/letter-to-mahatma/love song/yawp as an entry in the Mondo Awards!

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Seattle nixes bus ads decrying Israeli war crimes
Dec 23, 2010 09:43 pm | Philip Weiss

I got the news from the Jewish Federation, in an email a friend passed along:

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Dear [---]
Thanks to the efforts of the Jewish Federation, and our partners at the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and StandWithUs NW – as well as the many supporters and concerned citizens in the community who contacted elected officials and Metro representatives – we are pleased to share that the County Executive and Metro have announced an interim policy that will not allow non-commercial advertising on buses.
In short, there will be no anti-Israel ads appearing on Seattle buses.
The full text of their press release follows below.
As we approach the end of the calendar year, your support of our strategic response to these provocative ads – as well as your overall support of the Jewish Federation and our efforts in the community – is very much appreciated. Thank you.
Richard Fruchter
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle

King County News Release

Citing potential for disruption to transit service, Executive implements interim Metro policy restricting new non-commercial advertising on buses.

Citing the potential for disruption to transit service, King County Executive Dow Constantine today approved an interim policy from Metro Transit that calls for a halt to the acceptance of any new non-commercial advertising on King County buses. Under provisions of the previous policy, Metro officials today also rejected a proposed ad from the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign and the proposed response ads from two other groups.

"The escalation of this issue from one of 12 local bus placards to a widespread and often vitriolic international debate introduces new and significant security concerns that compel reassessment," said Executive Constantine.

"My job is to deliver essential services to the people of King County, including transit service," he added. "I have consulted with federal and local law enforcement authorities who have expressed concern, in the context of this international debate, that our public transportation system could be vulnerable to disruption.

"Metro sells advertising to raise revenues to provide transit service. Metro's existing policy restricts advertising that can be reasonably foreseen to result in harm to, disruption of, or interference with the transportation system. Given the dramatic escalation of debate in the past few days over these proposed ads, and the submission of inflammatory response ads, there is now an unacceptable risk of harm to or disruption of service to our customers should these ads run."

In light of the recent escalation of events, Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond today asked his advertising consultant to notify the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign that Metro is rejecting its proposed ad, and for the consultant to notify the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the American Freedom Defense Initiative that Metro will not accept their proposed ads, as posing an unacceptable risk of harm to, disruption of, or interference with bus service, as defined under current policies.

In response to the Executive's directive on Monday to review current policies, Desmond today also recommended an interim transit advertising policy that adds non-commercial ads to the list of current restrictions, with an exception for governmental entities that advance specific government purposes. Non-commercial ads that met the previous policy and for which contracts have already been signed are not affected, and ads already in place will remain.

"We cannot and would not favor one point of view over another, so the entire category of non-commercial advertising will be eliminated until a permanent policy can be completed that I can propose to the King County Council for adoption," said the Executive. "Further work during the coming weeks will help determine what constitutionally-valid policy is best for the safety and well-being of the transit-riding public, our drivers and personnel, and the community at large.

"I thank everyone who has reached out to us to express their interests on this matter."

Metro expects to complete work on a permanent transit advertising policy by the end of January, for the Executive to transmit to the County Council for adoption.

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Assange is holding dirt on Israel because western newspapers didn't want to publish it
Dec 23, 2010 09:41 pm | Philip Weiss

This is what Walt and Mearsheimer said about the Israel lobby, it acts to protect Israel in the press. I am guessing Assange is referring to the New York Times, among other publications. Al Jazeera:

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DOHA: WikiLeaks will release top secret American files concerning Israel in the next six months, its founder Julian Assange disclosed yesterday.

In an excusive interview with Al Jazeera, Assange said only a meagre number of files related to Israel had been published so far, because the newspapers in the West that were given exclusive rights to publish the secret documents were reluctant to publish many sensitive information about Israel.

"There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources," said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.

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Seattle Jewish groups say that bus ads blasting 'Israeli war crimes' foment… violence
Dec 23, 2010 09:11 pm | Philip Weiss

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, as the NAACP used to say. Well I'm witnessing the decline of Jewish intelligence, in a statement from the Seattle Jewish Federation:

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and  StandWithUs NW met together yesterday with the assistant deputy county executive and Metro Transit officials to discuss this issue and seek a resolution that both reduces the potential for any kind of violence ...

While we respect and support the first amendment right to free speech, we feel that this particular ad violates Metro Transit's own policy against running ads that "insult specific groups to the point that a riot could be incited, vandalism could occur or public safety could be threatened."

By the way, here's the ad. Let's not talk about this idea. Let's not talk about government monies. 


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Notice the volk vibe in this racist Tel Aviv rally against miscegenation and integration
Dec 23, 2010 08:54 pm | Philip Weiss

Here's ahmedmoor's video from a demonstration in a Tel Aviv neighborhood called Bat Yam three nights back, against relationships between Palestinians and Jews, and against Palestinians living in certain neighborhoods. Notice how many of the racists are young. I need a translator for the charming placards. Update: Ofer Neiman comes through in the comment section, #1.

Alon Idan reported in Haaretz:

Bat Yam is a venue where Israel's transformations occur before the rest of the state digests what is happening. Hence, the demonstration staged on Monday in Bat Yam against the entry of Arabs into the city and against relations between Arab men and Jewish women should be taken seriously.

Gideon Levy also decried it in Haaretz, saying that racism had reared its head and the public was apathetic, and the Tel Aviv mayor has called xenophobic attitudes "understandable and just":

A city and a neighborhood formerly known for crime, and to some extent still known for it, deflect their fears and woes onto the foreigner, even though foreigners are less responsible for distress in these areas than the residents themselves. That's how it was in Europe in the 1930s, and that's how it is with us now. Such malicious demonstrations could be staged today in Europe only by neo-Nazi and similar groups; with us, a mayor praises them. In Europe there would be forceful counterdemonstrations. If the hatred were directed at Jews, leaders in Europe would mobilize strong counterdemonstrations. With us, there is virtually no response.

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This post-Zionist would leave in place the law of return
Dec 23, 2010 06:56 pm | Philip Weiss

The other day I used a comment from "liberal Zionist" Jon S as a springboard to condemn the colonialist roots of Zionism, and Jon S took exception:

I would like to make some comments and clarifications.

I see that you describe me as a Liberal Zionist. I belong to the Israeli Left, and I'm a socialist, not a liberal. My parents (of blessed memory) were "Labor Zionists", committed to national renewal and social justice. I actually consider myself to be something of a post-Zionist.

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I think that Zionism was justified and necessary and that it achieved its primary objective in 1948 and the subsequent years when the state was established and its existence secured . Waves of immigrants arrived and were absorbed. Then there was the Let-My-People-Go struggle to free the Jews of the USSR. Today there are no more significant Jewish communities who want to come and are prevented from doing so. So maybe it's time to admit that Zionism as a "movement" has run its course.  Furthermore, who can say what the definition of a Zionist is today? I f we use the simple definition – someone who supports the concept of Israel as a Jewish state- then I would have to plead guilty, to being a Zionist.

However in my view, as a movement, Zionism has outlived its usefulness and continues to exist out of organizational and bureaucratic inertia and lazy, dogmatic, concepts. For example, if it was up to me, I would abolish the Jewish Agency and the JNF. I would leave in place the Law of Return, because it represents the essence of Israel as a Jewish state, and I assume that a Palestinian state, in the context of the 2 state solution, would enact its own Law of Return to enable Palestinians who so wish to return, to the Palestinian state.

I'd like to compliment you on the forum itself. I realize that my point of view is outnumbered and anything I write will be pounced on by numerous Anti-Zionists. But at least most of the posters seem to be intelligent and well-informed , the tone is usually civil, and the website is user-friendly.

Thanks for providing the opportunity to have the discussion.

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The tragedy of child arrest: a story from Ofer Prison
Dec 23, 2010 12:38 pm | Seham

and other news from Today in Palestine:

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Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Palestinians: Draft condemning West Bank settlements ready for UN
Chief Palestinian negotiator says he expects resolution to be put forth at Security Council in February, and hopes U.S. will not use its veto.

Israel's UN envoy: Palestinian draft resolution is attempt to bypass negotiations
Palestinians prepare UN draft resolution condemning Israel's settlement activity which will be presented to the Security Council in February.

Since end of freeze: 13,000 homes approved
Intensive building noted in outlying, smaller settlements since West Bank building freeze came to end. 'Construction will not affect future borders,' Prime Minister's Office claims. Peace Now: This is most active period in years.,7340,L-4003352,00.html

UN official: 45% rise in home demolitions
Humanitarian official in Palestinian territories says rise in home demolitions in east Jerusalem 'raises concerns regarding to Israel's obligations under international law' while MKs debate Palestinian stone-throwing in capital.,7340,L-4002933,00.html

UN has 'serious concerns' over home demolitions
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The UN's Humanitarian Coordinator in Jerusalem told reporters Wednesday that the displacement of a Jerusalem family whose home was demolished the day before "raises serious concerns with regard to Israel's obligations under international law."  The UN's Maxwell Gaylard, issued a statement after visiting the family of 13 whose home in the Ras Al Amud neighborhood of East Jerusalem was torn down on Tuesday by order of the municipality of Jerusalem, under the Israeli government.

Israel to build 180 settlement units in Jerusalem
Jerusalem,December 22, (Pal Telegraph) - The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem Wednesday revealed a new plan to establish 180 settlement units near Amlesson neighborhood, south Jerusalem.  This plan contains the establishment of 5 buildings with 180 apartments to be built on 37460 square meter of the total of the confiscated area while 30 dunums will be specialized for public facilities and some will be left as green land, the engineer Jameel lafi said to Amlesson Assembly.  He added that 67 dunums of the Palestinian confiscated lands were exploited to establish settlement units besides its facilities. He said that the Jerusalem municipality issued the plan prior 4 weeks on the electricity pylons and on the walls of houses to be objected by the citizens.

IDF general uses 1945 law to bar East J'lem resident from capital
British Mandate law allows authorities to expel a resident from his hometown without the need for a criminal indictment or evidence that would indicate illegal activity.

Jerusalem Municipality demolishes Palestinian home in Haii Iswih
Jerusalem Municipality bulldozers demolished a Palestinian home in the Haii Iswih neighborhood of Silwan yesterday. This past month has seen the Municipality re-enact its policy of demolition, starting with animal pens and lesser structures and culminating in home demolitions. The Haii Iswih homeowner had previously been ordered by the Municipality to demolish the house himself. When he refused to do so, bulldozers, flanked by a massive force of Israeli police, arrived yesterday to tear down the 80-square-meter one-story home. The demolition marks the "next phase" of the Jerusalem Municipality's renewed demolition campaign. As reported by Silwanic in the past, the Municipality has sought a campaign of "gradual" demolition, beginning with the tearing down of animal pens, barnyards and shops and moving on to homes. The Municipality has also carried out a series of home demolitions in districts of East Jerusalem deemed unimportant to the settlement enterprise, as a litmus test to gauge the public's reaction to the campaign. The campaign is expected to culminate in wide-scale demolition of key areas of Silwan such as el-Bustan, the district earmarked for the "Biblical Gardens" of the City of David settlement project.

Awake and bear witness!! Israel has destroyed this Palestinian school in the Occupied West Bank 3 times in recent years, Philip Weiss
December photo from Khirbet Tana, a Palestinian village in the Occupied West Bank near Mekora, a Jewish settlement. Khirbet Tana's people have been expelled, their homes demolished by the Israelis. Photographer must remain anonymous.

Israel to fund historical renovations in occupied areas
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel approved funding on Tuesday for renovations at 16 historical and cultural sites, including three in the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights, the government said.  "A ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today approved 16 projects and sites for renovation at a cost of 91.1 million shekels (25.3 million dollars/19.2 million euros)," a government statement said.

Nabi Salih
"In October 1977, a month before Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's famous visit to Jerusalem to proclaim his desire for peace, the settlement of Halamish (pop. ca. 1,000) was implanted on the hillside opposite al-Nabi Saleh.  Since then – in parallel with the never-ending "peace process" – Halamish has expanded from its original foothold in a Jordanian police fort to occupy nearly half the historic lands of al-Nabi Saleh.  The remaining village lands are mostly on the north side of Road 465, which runs on the floor of the valley separating al-Nabi Saleh from Halamish.  In December 2009 settlers from Halamish expropriated the natural spring of 'Ayn al-Kus on the south side of Road 465.  Several weeks later, Halamish settlers burned down 150 of al-Nabi Saleh's olive trees near the spring.  The Halamish settlers did not receive authorization from any Israeli authority for these acts of aggression.  Both the US government and the European Union recently reaffirmed that all settlement activity is illegal according to international law.  But this does not impinge on the army's mission to protect the settlers, whether or not their actions are "legal."

Farwana: Jewish settlements being used to blackmail children
Palestinian rights expert Abdel Nasser Farwana expressed concerns about Israeli authorities using West Bank Jewish settlements as a place to detain, single out, and violently question children.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Israelis Arrest Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh and Others Again During Peaceful Protest
This afternoon at around 2:30 p.m. writer Mazin Qumsiyeh learned that the Israeli military was preparing to illegally raze another Palestinian village. He told his wife that they had to go to Al-Walaja immediately. After arriving at the scene , this esteemed Professor who has taught at both Duke and Yale Universities, was arrested again by the Israeli military. His only 'crime' was vocally objecting to more inhumane treatment of indigenous Palestinian citizens. This account is by his significant other, J. Qumsiyeh.

Eight Arrested in al-Walaja as Israel Ramps up Construction on the Wall
Despite an ongoing trial in the Israeli high court over the legality of the placement of the Separation wall in al-Walaja, a small village just outside of Jerusalem, Israel doubled construction efforts this afternoon. Around 2pm bulldozers accompanied by armed guards started clearing trees, rocks, and shrubs. Three days ago, Israeli authorities marked the wall route with orange plastic straps which including a route which will swallow a natural spring and a Palestinian grave yard. Last August, a group of villagers, members of the Israeli nature preservation society and even settlers brought a case before the Israeli high court demanding that the route of the wall be changed. The court said that it would take time to deliberate the case and deliver a final verdict in January. The court, however, did not issue a stop work order on construction of the wall. Israeli authorities are now taking advantage of this loophole by doubling work on the construction of the wall in order to create facts on the ground.

Israeli soldiers and nonviolent resisters argue about international law and Nazis
The several prisoners were taken to a Bethlehem checkpoint and then on to a jail. They were kept handcuffed and were pressed to sign a paper with Hebrew writing on it.  Jesse Chang reports: "Every one of them refused to sign as advised by a Palestinian lawyer who was present there. While detained there, they tried to speak to the soldiers about international law, but the soldiers were saying that they don't give a f--- about international law and you people and they only care about obeying orders.  Mazin reasoned to them that German soldiers were also obeying orders during the Nazi regime. The Israeli solders responded by saying that German soldiers would have shot you by now."

French Activist Detained At Ben Gurion Airport, Denied Entry
Sabbine Haddad, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Ministry of Interior, stated Tuesday that French peace activist, Olivia Zamour, was detained at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, and was denied entry to the country.

Ameer Makhoul's perpetual trial
We arrive at the Haifa court building around 11am, half an hour after proceedings began in the ongoing trial of Ameer Makhoul, a leading Palestinian activist who holds Israeli citizenship and was arrested in his home in the middle of the night last May.

Standing together against US government witch hunt
The ongoing government campaign against anti-war activists is a stark reminder of the unabated deterioration of civil liberties and political rights in the United States. These developments admonish us to remember that the last protection for our ability to work freely for an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Colombia, for an end to US military aid to Israel and for justice and peace in Palestine, is the solidarity we offer each other by exercising those rights before they are taken away.

solidarity with activists targeted by the government
As many of you may know, the FBI has lately been targeting Palestine solidarity activists. People call it a witch-hunt, and like the witches, these activists will be innocent of whatever the government charges them with, if it bothers to charge them with anything. They are guilty of something else that they should be proud to be guilty of: struggling against the neo-colonial wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and beyond.

Resistance through voluntary work: Rebuilding the spring in Qarawat Bani Hassan
Over the past year, Stop the Wall has been working with groups of youth to develop creative means of resisting the Wall and settlements, supporting activities in the Bethlehem and most in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan. The village is in the Salfit district, just north of the "Ariel Finger" settlements of Barqan, Qiryat Netafim and Revava. This settlement bloc cuts deep into the West Bank and Qarawat Bani Hassan, as well as the other villages along the Ariel Finger, have been hard hit by settlement expansion and settler attacks. Mahmoud Baker has been involved in the voluntary work in the village, and described how it began.

Major success for the anti-settlements campaign: Multilock to close West Bank factory
Maariv and the financial paper The Marker report that the Israeli company Multilock is leaving the West Bank because of human rights organizations' pressure. The locks company will move from the Barkan industrial zone, located on the road to Ariel, to a site in the town of Yavne.

#BDS: MNA Amir Khadir unapologetic for picketing store that sells Israeli-made shoes
Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir attends a protest organized by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights in 2008. Khadir has participated in many pro-Palestinian rallies, including a demonstration outside a shoe store last Saturday organized by Palestinian and Jewish Unity.  Québec solidaire leader Amir Khadir is making no apologies for asking clients to boycott a family-owned shoe store in his own riding because it sells shoes made in Israel.  "Just because a business is in my riding, I am not going to abandon my principles," Khadir, member of the National Assembly for Mercier, told The Gazette on Friday.  Khadir participated in a demonstration last Saturday in front of Le Marcheur shoe store on St. Denis St. at Duluth Ave., handing out flyers asking customers to boycott the store until it stopped selling Israeli-made shoes.  The demonstration was organized by Palestinian and Jewish Unity, a Montreal-based human rights group that advocates for the right of Palestinians to live in safety.

#BDS: Join us December 27: Remember Gaza - Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign

Debating BDS At Princeton, Max Blumenthal
On December 15 I participated in a debate at Princeton University on the "ethics and efficacy" of BDS. The debate was held as a bookend to the battle over a resolution calling for adding an alternative in the campus cafeteria to Sabra Hummus, an Israeli brand produced by a company which has sponsored the IDF's Givati and Golani brigades (the resolution was defeated). In my opinion, though the students from the Princeton Committee for Palestine who initiated the effort to sideline Sabra were not successful, they won anyway by forcing an open and honest discussion about Israeli war crimes, occupation and discrimination. And the students who voted against the alternative hummus resolution were simply stupid, not necessarily because they obstructed a campaign targeting a military unit that has been implicated in hideous crimes, but because they resigned themselves to a brand of hummus that contains the preservative known as sodium benzoate, which has been directly linked to everything from cancer to Parkinson's to a variety of degenerative diseases.

Pssstt! Use pro-Israel website to support Seattle bus ads!, Henry Norr
Predictably, the establishment Jewish orgs in Seattle have launched an all-out offensive to try to suppress the "Israeli war crimes - your tax dollars at work" ads on Seattle buses. As part of this campaign, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has set up one of those web pages that will automatically send a message to a slew of local officials. But as currently set up, the page lets YOU compose both the message and the subject line. So, quick before they change it, click here and share your thoughts.

The Lede: Support for Israel's Settlements From Europe's Right
Israeli settlers have found solid support from what might seem an unlikely source: the far-right of the European political spectrum.

Christian Zionists support Judaizing Jerusalem, Philip Weiss

For those of you across the nation and around the world who were NOT watching Pastor John Hagee's show three years ago today, and therefore missed the good news, my friend shot this photo and passed it along.

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
22 Dec. '10: Soldier violently arrests B'Tselem worker, Nasser a-Nawaj'ah, on his family's land in southern Hebron Hills On the morning of 18 November 2010,
Alia-Nawaj'ah, 12, and her brother Hamzah, 14, Palestinians from Susiya in the southern Hebron Hills, were grazing sheep on their family's land, near which the Susiya settlement was built.  According to 'Aliaa's testimony, around 7:30 A.M., an army jeep pulled up and two soldiers got out. They cuffed the two children with plastic handcuffs and led them to the jeep. Later, the soldiers told the children's relatives that the two had thrown stones at them. They released 'Aliaa after about ten minutes, and Hamzah soon after.

Israeli rights groups want to force Shin Bet to record interrogations
The groups say visual and voice recordings of interrogations would prevent use of unacceptable interrogation methods and false confessions.

Maybe Americans are ready to see– children's pictures of the devastating assault on Gaza, Susan Johnson
A picture is worth a thousand words, and this video goes beyond that. It contains powerful drawings, created by children in Gaza, expressing the horrors they experienced during Operation Cast Lead, which of course began nearly two years ago. These children share the painful physical and emotional devastation caused by Israel's actions. Many of these young artists will never escape the hell they lived through.

2 Gaza crossing operate
GAZA (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities decided to partially open the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings for the limited introduction of aid and commercial goods, officials said Wednesday.  Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said approximately 190 truckloads of goods would be sent through the Kerem Shalom crossing, with four truckloads of flowers and strawberries scheduled for export under a Dutch government program to support Gaza farmers.

15 Lebanese figures taking part in Asia aid convoy
Deeb Hijazi, the rapporteur of the national initiative committee to break Gaza siege in Lebanon, said that the number of Lebanese participants in Asia aid convoy amounted to 15 figures.

Syrian 80-ton aid heads to Gaza
The Syrian Arab popular committee for the support of the Palestinian people has sent a new aid batch of foodstuffs and medical material to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Racism and Discrimination
House Arrest for Assaults on Arabs in Jerusalem
Israeli police revealed on Tuesday that they captured nine members of a Jewish extremist cell suspected of carrying out a series of violent, racially motivated attacks on Jerusalem youths. Three of them were released on Wednesday into house arrest until the investigation is concluded.  The attacks happened as the group lured Arabs into closed spaces—sometimes with the aid of a 14-year-old girl—demanded their identification and beat them. Many needed emergency treatment in hospitals and several had their identification cards burned.

Arab hurt by guards: Acquittal 'racist'
Arab man badly hurt in brawl with guards says their acquittal shows he has no rights in Israel.,7340,L-4003199,00.html

Guards charged with assaulting Arabs acquitted
Court says two security guards attacked before badly beating up Arabs in Jaffa Port.,7340,L-4003098,00.html

Migrants fearful after rally
'It's no longer safe to walk around Tel Aviv,' says Congolese resident of Israel after violent rally held Tuesday in protest of city's migrant community. Meanwhile police chief says concerned about crime levels among migrant populations.,7340,L-4002848,00.html

Tibi demands diplomas in Arabic
Arab MK's appeal to education minister turns into Knesset debate on Israel's official languages.,7340,L-4003036,00.html

Israeli air strikes kill five Palestinians in Gaza
In an ongoing assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, Israeli fighter jets struck the southern city of Rafah early this morning, injuring four. Today's air strikes come after Israeli fighter jets attacked the across the occupied Gaza Strip early morning yesterday.

Israeli warplanes attack Gaza refuge
A heap of ruins and dust is all that remains of a dairy that Israeli warplanes destroyed yesterday in the central Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. The ruins of the dairy are adjacent to an amusement park in the Asdaa grounds which serves as a refuge to residents of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Racist attacks on Palestinians
Violent attacks against Palestinian residents by Israeli settlers of Silwan have become a grim reality. Most recently, Silwanic reported on 12 November 2010 on the assault of Annan Yaghmour, 21, and Ahmad Abu Sabih, 40, when the two were severely beaten by Israeli assailants. Abu Sabih described the attack as a serious hate crime: racially-motivated and with the intent to kill. The attack, however, is sadly not an isolated event. Farid Kamel Toubasi, 28, a resident of Jerusalem's Old City states that he was brutally beaten by a large gang of Israelis in a billiards bar on Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem. Farid told Silwanic that he was verbally abused by the youth Jewish Israelis who frequent the cafe, taunting him with racist and anti-Arab remarks while he was playing billiards. The verbal harassment escalated to physical attack, as Farid was beaten until he lost consciousness. Ghazi Toubasi, Farid's older brother, stated that "I had tried asking the police for assistance in obtaining surveillance camera recordings from the area in Jaffa Street during the time of the attack, but the police officer refused to help. He told me there was no reason to report the issue, and though I tried many more times after that I was rejected each time."

The tragedy of child arrest: a story from Ofer Prison
One of the most serious cases of human rights violations enacted by Israeli forces in is surely that which are carried out against children. Palestinian children throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank live under threat of targeting and arrest by Israeli forces, who rarely distinguish between the minors and adults they apprehend. Here Silwanic seeks to illustrate the tragedy of Palestinian childhood through a story as told by Ghada Aruri, a human rights activist speaking about the trial of a boy from Abu Dis village. Israel began construction of the Apartheid Wall through Abu Dis, a district of Jerusalem, in 2010. When completed it will sever Abu Dis from Jerusalem entirely. "On 25 October this year I attended military court at Ofer Military Camp, which lies 10km north-west of Jerusalem, for the second time as part of my work as an advocacy officer with War Child International, a Dutch NGO. Gaining access to the court as an independent observer is a notoriously difficult task, as my application for a permit had already been twice denied. The third time, however, I was granted permission and thus was able to attend the trial of a 13 year old boy named Khalid*.

Palestinian Kidnapped Near Tulkarem
On Wednesday morning, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian youth from the Nur Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarem, family members reported.

War Criminals
IDF soldier charged with killing Gaza civilian: I was only following orders
Givati soldier who allegedly shot a woman during Operation Cast Lead says his commander called him 'a cold-blooded murderer.'

Breaking the Silence's landmark new book, now in English
Breaking the Silence has just published a landmark collection of soldier testimonies from the Occupied Territories spanning the period 2000-2010. The 432 page book can now be browsed, downloaded and embedded here.

Israel's Arab Helpers/PA Repression
Accompanied By P.A Security, Israeli Soldiers "Tour" Bethlehem
A number of Israeli Military Jeeps were seen driving in Bethlehem while accompanied by members of the Palestinian Security Forces. They "toured" in several areas, including the Manger Square.

Israel and US are working on the production of a new Islam: revised and improved to suit "the peace process"
"The United States has pushed the Palestinian Authority to put an end to the vitriolic sermons that the United States and Israel say undercut peace efforts. But it has been careful not to overtly praise the latest effort. While seen as helpful to U.S. goals, the crackdown also reveals an authoritarian streak in a Palestinian leadership routinely hailed by American officials for its governance."

PA security forces release Hebron journalists
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Two journalists detained by Palestinian Authority forces on Tuesday were released less than 24 hours after their arrest, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate announced Wednesday.  Akram An-Natshah and Mamduh Al-Hamamreh, both Hebron natives, were detained from the Pal Media office on Tuesday afternoon. According to the syndicate office, the two were released as a result of direct intervention from the group, which cited violations of freedom of the press against the detention of the men and confiscation of their equipment.

Abu Marzouk: No reconciliation meeting with Fatah without releasing detainees
Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk affirmed that there will be no reconciliation meeting with Fatah as long as its authority in Ramallah continued to ignore demands of the detained hunger strikers.

Post Wiki Distractions and PR
'Palestinians uncover Hamas weapons cache in Ramallah'
Palestinian security chief says rockets, launchers and mortar shells likely being gathered to target the Palestinian Authority, and not Israel.

Egypt: Stop Israeli aggression against Palestinians in Gaza
Foreign Ministry in Cairo condemns recent IDF air strikes as bid to divert attention from peace process, warns attacks will inflame negative feelings toward Israel; UN defends Israeli response to rockets, but urges restraint.

Chief Palestinian negotiator: Israeli attacks on Gaza make region more volatile
Saeb Erekat warns that IDF attack on the Hamas-ruled territory would only elevate anarchy, bloodshed in area; Deputy PM Meridor says Israel won't tolerate rocket fire from Gaza.

I/P Wikileaks
'The Palestine Cables': Gaza is a burning issue from Egypt to Latin America to Pakistan, to John Kerry being 'shocked by what I saw', Alex Kane
This is the third installment of my new column on WikiLeaks and Israel/Palestine at Mondoweiss.  You can read all the installments here.
Forsaken by the "peace process," ignored by mainstream media, denied justice two years after Israel committed what many rights groups called war crimes– still, the plight of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip remains a burning issue around the world.  Cables from the trove of State Department documents WikiLeaks has been releasing show that global civil society's outrage at the brutal 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza has resonated with governments everywhere, and that Gaza remains a symbol of everything that's wrong with the Israeli occupation.

'NZ chose trade with Arabs over ties with Israel'
More WikiLeaks wonders: US diplomats say New Zealand's reactions over 2004 arrest of two suspected Mossad agents exaggerated to increase Arab trade.,7340,L-4002767,00.html

U.S. criticized New Zealand for reaction to 2004 Israel spy affair, WikiLeaks cables reveal
The Guardian reports that U.S. diplomats accused New Zealand of using the arrest of two suspected Israeli spies in 2004 to bolster its export of lamb to Arab states.

Political Developments
Palestinian FM says Spain to recognize Palestinian state
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki said Spain promised the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to recognize a Palestinian statehood next year, Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam daily reported Wednesday.

Israel fears UK moving towards recognising Palestinian state
The UK is preparing to confer diplomatic status on the Palestinian delegation in London for the first time, renewing fears in Israel that Europe is moving closer to recognising an independent Palestinian state.

Bolivia sends formal letter recognizing Palestine (AP)
AP - Bolivia has formally declared its recognition of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.*

TeleSur, "Chile Joins Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia in Recognizing Palestinian State"
The day before, parliamentarians of all the political factions in Chile called upon the Sebastián Piñera government to recognize the existence of the Palestinian state with the pre-1967 borders. More than 400,000 people of Palestinian origin live in Chile, the largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world.

Hamas calls on PA to end cooperation with Israel
BEIRUT, Lebanon (Ma'an) -- Hamas representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka called on President Mahmoud Abbas to "stop his futile negotiations and security cooperation with the Israeli occupation state" and release all political detainees from jails in the West Bank, the Palestinian Information Center reported Wednesday.  According to the Hamas-affiliated news website, Baraka made his remarks in a ceremony held Beirut the day before, which honored the 23rd anniversary of the Hamas movement.

New Date For Local Elections About To Be Set
After the Supreme Court ruled that the P.A.'s decision to postpone local elections in the West Bank as illegal, the cabinet announced on Tuesday that a new date will be set immediately, "In accordance with the law."

Fayyad: No state without Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- During his weekly news conference with reporters on Wednesday, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad put the focus on Gaza, and continued efforts made by the Ramallah government to better the lives of the Palestinians in the coastal enclave, as Fatah officials work toward establishing a unity agreement with the government in the Strip.  "It is time that disagreements between the Palestinians come to an end," he said from Ramallah, adding that the continued state of rivalry between Palestinian factions only fueled what he called the "Israeli project to separate the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem and render the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible."

Lieberman depicts doctrine to Newsweek
Deemed 'Israel's most popular politician', foreign minister enlightens magazine on Arabs, Iran
Newsweek crowned Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman "Israel's most popular politician" in an interview published Monday, in which he was asked on his views regarding peace with the Palestinians.  Lieberman told Newsweek that according to his plan of exchanging populations and territories for peace, "at least half" of Israel's Arabs would no longer be a part of the state. He said the right wing and most of the Labor Party support this idea.,7340,L-4003353,00.html

Poll: Netanyahu trounces Livni as prime minister
Almost twice as many prefer Netanyahu over Livni, according to survey, despite drop in satisfaction with current PM.

Other News
EU to grant Palestinians duty free imports of farm and fish produce
EU imports from Gaza and West Bank were worth $8.02 million in 2009 and were mostly early potatoes, oils and seeds such as soya and sunflower seeds, according to EU data.

Israel to deploy new tanks to Gaza
Tanks are equipped with new missile defence system in response to use of Kornet, tank-piercing missiles by Palestinians.

New Gaza war 'a question of when'
A senior Israeli army officer tells the BBC that as long as Hamas remains in control of the Gaza Strip, another war is "a question of when, not if".

Public Security Ministry fires woman who accused senior cop of harassment
Dr. Orly Innes, who lodged complaint against Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev, said she was terminated despite having been offered an extension of her contract; Ministry: She refused our request to resign.

Public Security Ministry backtracks after firing Bar-Lev's accuser
Dr. Orly Innes, who lodged a sexual harassment complaint against a senior police officer, claims she was terminated despite having been offered an extension of her contract; the ministry said she refused to resign, but decides to keep her on while it evaluates the matter.

Study: 850,000 children live in poverty in Israel
Non-profit organization Latet publishes annual 'alternative poverty report': 1.77 million people in Israel are poor, 75% of them forgo meals due to economic status.

Rabbi Aviner: Don't read talkbacks
One of Religious Zionism's leaders says responding to articles on websites may lead to religious and moral transgressions. 'Talkbacks can bring many blessings, but for the most part we see that they have many negative sides which means it isn't worth it in the long run'.,7340,L-3986921,00.html

Palestine Analysis/Op-ed

Another Christmas under siege - Fr. Faisal Hijazin
The heart of Bethlehem is not the Church of the Nativity, the Franciscan Saint Catherine's Catholic Church or Manger Square, nor the many other places of worship found in this holy city. It is not Rachel's tomb, now surrounded by a curtain of iron and cement built to sever it from Bethlehem. Rather, in truth, the heart of Bethlehem is the community of believers that, by its presence, has kept the birthplace of Jesus tended, remembered and venerated since the time that Our Savior appeared on earth, born of a virgin, to save us from our sins. During all these centuries, Bethlehem has remained a Christian community.

The U.S. needs to get tough with Israel
Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, has written an important op-ed in the Los Angeles Times challenging the Obama administration to get tougher with Israel or be regarded as irrelevant to the conflict's resolution by much of the rest of the world. The piece also highlights the unhelpful role of Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-California).

The thinktank of the Obama left is helping… Netanyahu!!, Alex Kane
I don't know if you saw this:  Larry Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and (get this) a fellow at the liberal, Obama-connected Center for American Progress, has been in Israel lobbying for Jonathan Pollard's release.

Palestinian Statehood: Quality as Well as Quantity, John V. Whitbeck
On December 17, Bolivia extended diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine within its full pre-1967 borders (all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem). Coming soon after the similar recognitions by Brazil and Argentina, Bolivia's recognition brought to 106 the number of UN member states recognizing the State of Palestine, whose independence was proclaimed on November 15, 1988.  While still under foreign belligerent occupation, the State of Palestine possesses all the customary international law criteria for sovereign statehood. No portion of its territory is recognized by any other country (other than Israel) as any other country's sovereign territory, and, indeed, Israel has only asserted sovereignty over a small portion of its territory, expanded East Jerusalem, leaving sovereignty over the rest both literally and legally uncontested.

Cast Lead two year anniversary [update], Max Ajl
Before I read this article, I was pretty sure that the Israeli leadership was shying away, for the moment, from anything like a reprise of the Cast Lead massacre, even though on the night of the 21 there were eight coordinated F-16 attacks on sites in Gaza. I'm a bit less sure now. Ashkenazi's job is to terrify Gaza's civilian population and instill in them constant and grinding terror. But it's also to prepare the ground for the next assault in the eyes of Israeli and especially world public opinion. He told a parliamentary panel that "The situation in the south is tense and fragile, and it could deteriorate if a rocket attack causes a large number of casualties." As if on cue, a typically psychotic op-ed appeared: "The IDF does not intend to show restraint in the face of the latest Hamas activism, and this fact would likely be made clear to Hamas' Gaza leadership in a convincing and blatant matter, and soon." And in the view of this writer, what is it that the "Hamas activism" (Which isn't Hamas activism) meant to accomplish? "Hamas is now trying to impose new rules of play and prevent activity beyond the fence"--in other words, on the hundreds-of-meters-wide swathes of its own land that the IDF has by fiat declared off-limits. What that translates to is that Palestinians shouldn't do anything to resist the shrinking of their cage. But that will never happen.

Zionist fanatics in defense of Anti-Semitism, As`ad Abukhalil
Those Zionist US leaders explain why the anti-Semitism of Kissinger should be ignored:  "Clyde Haberman referred to the shock and dismay of some in the Jewish community in response to certain comments by Henry A. Kissinger in a 1973 conversation with President Richard M. Nixon. However, the fuller Kissinger record should be remembered.   Just several weeks before this conversation, Mr. Kissinger and Nixon agreed to provide Israel with 100 advanced aircraft and to remove Israeli issues from the State Department to the White House, something strongly sought by Golda Meir, who was then prime minister."  So according to them, had the Nazis supplied the Zionist movement with missiles and weapons, their anti-Semitism would have been forgiven too.

When will the time come to end Palestinian suffering?
The children gathered around what was, moments ago, their safe haven, the reservoir of their memories, the focus of their happiness, the link between them and their fathers and grandfathers, to see with their innocent eyes every brick of their house turn into rubble.

Netanyahu can blame himself for decline in Israel's world standing
Leaders around the world are losing their patience with Netanyahu and wondering if the Israeli PM is a partner for peace. The way to restore their faith and protect Israel's interests around the world remains freezing settlements.

Other Op-ed/Analysis

US lawmaker urges France not sell Lebanon arms (AFP)
AFP - France should scrap its planned sale to Lebanon of 100 anti-tank missiles because they could end up being used by the powerful militant group Hezbollah against Israel, a US lawmaker said Wednesday.*

Ex-General Karam to be tried for collaboration next month
BEIRUT: The trial of a senior member in the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) charged with collaborating with Israel is scheduled to begin January 18. The date for the trial of former General Fayez Karam was set by Brigadier Nizar Khalil, head of the Permanent Military Tribunal.

French weapons political, not military, gesture
PRAGUE/BEIRUT: France's shipment of 100 HOT missiles to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) signals Paris' political support for Prime Minister Saad Hariri, but the arms have almost no military value despite Israel's standard, vociferous protests, a number of analysts said Wednesday.

Harb urges limits on land sales to other sects
BEIRUT: Restrictions should be placed on sales of land from one sect to another, Labor Minister Butros Harb said Wednesday. The minister said he intends to prepare draft legislation that would limit the sale of lands from one Lebanese sect to another, and eventually submit the draft to the Cabinet.

Street children in Lebanon dream through a camera lens
Alert Net - Young people from Lebanon's only shelter for street children expressed their dreams of education, recreation and the warmth of a family through a photo exhibition that crowned a ten-day photography workshop as part of the 'See it our way' photoproject supported by World Vision and conducted by UK charity PhotoVoice.

War wounded channel energy into crafts
BEIT SHABAB: Bechara was only 19 when, fighting for one of Lebanon's many militias during the 1975-1990 Civil War, he was wounded in battle as a bullet lodged itself in his spine. Some 34 years later, from his wheelchair, he is crafting Christmas gifts for children across his native Lebanon, a still-divided country that risks sliding back into chaos at any moment.

Wednesday: 3 Iraqis, 1 Syrian Killed; 4 Iraqis Wounded
The new Iraqi cabinet met for the first time today to begin working on the challenges facing Iraq. Iraqis, however, are wary of this new government and some believe that incompetent people were given cabinet posts as political favors. In light violence, at least three Iraqis and a Syrian man were killed, while four others were wounded.

Iraqi churches cancel Christmas festivities (AP)
AP - No decorations, no midnight Mass. Even an appearance by Santa Claus has been nixed after Iraq's Christian leaders called off Christmas celebrations amid new al-Qaida threats on the tiny community still terrified from a bloody siege on a Baghdad church.*

Maliki hopes to appoint more women
In light of an incomplete Iraqi government, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki said he needed more time to evaluate candidates' names in order to choose competent ones and was hoping to appoint more women.

Cables Reveal Delicate Diplomacy After U.S. Soldier Killed Italian in Iraq
The Italian report cited "inexperience and stress" among American troops as the cause of the shooting.

WikiLeaks Joins Forces With Lebedev's Moscow-Based Newspaper Novaya Gazeta
Novaya Gazeta, the Moscow newspaper controlled by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and billionaire Alexander Lebedev, said it agreed to join forces with WikiLeaks to expose corruption in Russia.

WikiLeaks army 'Anonymous' eyes Bank of America with 'Operation BOA Constrictor'
Anonymous, the loosely knit association of WikiLeaks supporters, is seeking to rally the online faithful to attack Bank of America with 'Operation BOA Constrictor.'

WikiLeaks cables, day 24: summary of today's key points
There are no fewer than 251,287 cables from more than 250 US embassies around the world, obtained by WikiLeaks. We present a day-by-day guide to the revelations from the US embassy cables both from the Guardian and its international media partners in the story.

Leaks, leaked: Norway publication claims to have complete 'cablegate' archive
Over the past few weeks, secrets outlet WikiLeaks has released only a small number of the secret US State Department diplomatic cables it was given, choosing instead to work with partners in the mainstream press to fritter out the stories worth telling.

Frost over the World - Julian Assange
The WikiLeaks founder talks about secrets, leaks and why he will not go back to Sweden.

Assange receives Alliance media card: unions offer support for Wikileaks
WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief Julian Assange will today (Thursday) be given his Media Alliance union card, confirming that he is a member in good standing with the Australian journalists' union, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.  Assange's Melbourne lawyer Rob Stary QC will accept Assange's new media card from ACTU President Ged Kearney at a ceremony in Melbourne outside the office of Fairfax Media newspaper The Age.  Media Alliance Victorian branch secretary Louise Connor said that Assange had contacted the Alliance in November, just as the 'cablegate' story began to break, wryly noting that his credit card had been cancelled and that he may not be able to pay his union dues.

Assange calls for criminal charges against 'shock jock' Fox hosts
WikiLeaks founder calls Bradley Manning 'political prisoner'; says Fox hosts, politicians committing 'terrorism' Julian Assange has accused Fox personalities Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, among others, of committing terrorism through their calls to hunt down and kill the WikiLeaks founder. In an interview with MSNBC's Cenk Uygur, Assange referred to the politicians-turned-Fox-personalities as "shock jocks" [...]

Julian Assange: Bradley Manning Is A 'Political Prisoner' (VIDEO)
Despite claiming he had never met Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange jumped to the jailed U.S. Army intelligence analyst's defense in an interview with MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan.  While discussing Manning -- who is said to have provided WikiLeaks with access to the confidential documents which continue to emerge online -- Assange responded, "If we are to believe the allegations, then this man [is] a political prisoner in the United States." On reports that Manning is being kept in solitary confinement with limited access to exercise and even sleep, Assange went on to note, "He's been a political prisoner without trial...this is serious business."

PFC Bradley Manning, Patriot, SHERWOOD ROSS
As the U.S. is now an international aggressor, do Americans still owe it allegiance? If a citizen releases information about crimes the U.S. commits, can he or she be legally punished? These questions arise in connection with the arrests of Australian Julian Assange and PFC Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst believed to be the source of the secret government cables published by Assange's WikiLeaks Web site.

Smearing Private Manning, Philip Weiss
My eyes are on the riveting Assange, but I noticed that the smearing of his presumed source, Private Bradley Manning, has begun. Just read this report by Mike Taibbi out of his hometown of Crescent, Oklahoma, for NBC the other night. My house filled with hoarse profane cries of outrage as I watched the targeted character assassination... You will see that Manning did it because he was closeted and gay, or he had suffered abuse, or was ignored, he was undersized and used big words no one understood in Crescent, he has some kind of personality disorder.

The Listening Post - WikiLeaks cyber warriors
This week, we stay with the WikiLeaks story - the battle taking place online, the cyber warriors and the tug of war over freedom of information. Then a retrospective look at 2009 through a series of photographs.

Australia Rejects Israeli-Ordered Media Censorship, FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut--Australia's Parliament and mainstream media may not differ all that much from other western countries when it comes to chronic groveling to the Zionist lobby. But like citizens in many countries, Australians sometimes exhibit admirable independence and respect for their society's own values. On December 10, 2010, whether by design or coincidence, International Human Rights Day, Australia's Communication and Media Authority ( ACMA ) released its decision on whether to ban Lebanon's Al Manar  TV channel from being broadcast down under via the Indonesian  PT Indosat satellite ( Palapa D) that was launched on 12/27/09.

U.S. and other world news
Sexual violence in the US military
Recent statistics and stories from soldiers in the US military reveal sexual assault is much more common in the defence forces that in the wider civilian population. And, as documented in a special Al Jazeera web report detailing a culture of cover-up fear and shame, assault is a crime perpetrated against both men and women. However, Susan Avila-Smith, the founder of the veteran's advocacy group VET-WOW in Seattle, Washington, told Al Jazeera that not enough is being done to hold the military accountable for assault.

FBI Investigating Alleged Hate Crime Outside Mosque

The FBI has opened a preliminary civil rights investigation in the case of a 20-year-old Somali immigrant who says she was the victim of a hate crime.

Muslim Divorce: Father Denied Custody Because Of Religion
A New Jersey father says he's being denied custody of his young son solely because he's a Muslim.

Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation awarded damages
A federal judge ordered the government Tuesday to pay $40,800 in damages and $2.5 million in legal fees for wiretapping an Islamic organization without a warrant as part of President George W. Bush's secret surveillance...

Ahmadinejad arrives in Turkey ahead of nuclear talks
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Istanbul Wednesday looking for at least moral support from his increasingly influential neighbor a month before nuclear talks with six major powers in Istanbul. Iran's agreement to hold another round of negotiations over its nuclear program with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Saudi Arabia: Stop Deporting Somalis to Mogadishu
(New York) - The government of Saudi Arabia should immediately stop deporting Somalis to war-torn Mogadishu, Human Rights Watch said today.

Indonesia to reduce number of maids in UAE
After gruesome crimes against two Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabia, the south East Asian country is showing concerns over its female citizens in the UAE and its planning a cut in their number, a UAE-based newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Racism undermines Sudanese unity
Southern Muslims campaigning for independence from north say religion is not the main dividing factor.

Syrian Christians struggle to survive
As millions around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, a small Syrian Orthodox community in East Jerusalem is trying to survive against the odds. The community is shrinking amid Israel's occupation, which it says makes even the most basic tasks difficult. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Jerusalem's old city.

Christian flight would spell the end for the Arab world
Should we be concerned about the fate of Christian communities in the Arab world? This burning issue hits the headlines time and again whenever a church is attacked in Iraq or when Egyptian Copts are bullied. Most recently an appeal by a group of Arab intellectuals to rise above sectarian divisions was published in the French media following a bloody attack against Iraqi Christians.

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Tony Blair's lips are moving. But he's saying…nothing.
Dec 23, 2010 11:44 am | Matthew Taylor

Irrelevant Quartet diplomat Tony Blair says:

Israel needs to 'accelerate and deepen' measures to build Palestinian confidence that a state is in the offing...

...While all the while, Israel continues to accelerate and deepen measures to steal Palestinian land and build illegal colonies.

Tony, can you do us all a favor? If you don't have anything critical to say about Israel's violations of international law, please, just say nothing at all.

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Thurs, November 11
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Jewish Perspectives on the
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A respectful dialogue on BDS—whether you already have a position on it or you want to clarify for yourself the complex issues it raises.  This event will provide an opportunity to hear from people who disagree about whether BDS is an appropriate and effective strategy.



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