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Western trade to Israel is on the rise, is BDS really working? (Alastair Sloan) - 26-nov-2014

October 13, 2014 - There is good news and bad news of late for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. On the one hand, companies such as Veolia, willing partners in the occupation, are losing out on mega-contracts. Despite plans to withdraw from Israel, the French company just lost a $750 million contract to provide waste management services to Kuwait City. Pleasing for BDS was the explicit reference to Veolia's association with Israel and a head nod to their campaigning efforts. It comes on top of nearly $24 billion in lost contracts, seemingly over support for Israel. Likewise G4S are suffering setbacks. Earlier this year, Bill Gates announced a massive divestment, while a report over the summer (by the Financial Times) suggested they would soon end their activities in Israel. Campaigners are rightly cautious – the company have gone back on their word in the past...

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Will Hamas and Israel agree to direct negotiations? (Hamza Ismail Abu Shane) - 26-nov-2014

October 13, 2014- There have been many conversations in the Palestinian arena regarding the concept of direct negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli occupation. This issue was raised after the latest attack on Gaza and such conversations have been reinforced by statements made by Dr Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau. Hamas' ruling out of the possibility of engaging in direct negotiations with Israel has not limited the debate on the issue of negotiations. There are many visions regarding this, as some consider it to be political maturity for Hamas, although it was cheated by timing, while others have strongly attacked Hamas as they consider negotiations to be President Abbas' issue and the option of Fatah. Some consider these negotiations to be a political balloon timed to move the Palestinian-Palestinian relations...

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Syria News - October 12, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2014- By the end of Sunday , LCC were able to document 37 martyrs including 9 women and 8 children: 11 martyrs were reported in Idlib, 10 in Damascus and its Suburbs, 8 in Hama, 4 in Aleppo, 2 in Homs and 2 in Daraa....

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Gaza reconstruction: Why the world has it all wrong (Richard Silverstein) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - International donors gathered in Cairo this weekend to deliberate on a request by the Palestinian Authority for $4 bn in aid to reconstruct Gaza, with the funds going to help the enclave rebuild after Israel destroyed it during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge. Israel killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including 500 children during its invasion. Its bombs destroyed 18,000 homes and left 100,000 homeless in the strip. The bitter, supreme irony is that the ancestors of most of Gaza’s current population fled Israel during the 1948 Nakba. They were expelled from homes in the Negev and other regions that became Israel. In 2014, the descendants of the first expulsion were turned into refugees once again by Israel. Yet, so far, Israel has faced no punishment or accountability for what it did - though there is a United Nations Human Rights Council panel convened to investigate...

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Judaisation Means Housing Crisis for Palestinians in East Jerusalem (By Mel Frykberg) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - A deliberate Israeli policy to Judaise East Jerusalem has forced thousands of Palestinians out of their homes and created a chronic housing shortage in the occupied part of the city. Simultaneously, Israeli settlers have been encouraged by the Jerusalem Municipality to settle in the growing number of settlements mushrooming in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, all illegal under international law.The municipality has employed a number of strategies to ensure a Jewish majority so that the city remains under Israeli control indefinitely while preventing Palestinians from establishing East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state."Since 1967 the Israeli government has pursued a declared policy of maintaining a 72 percent majority of Jews over Palestinians in the city," according to Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)...

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The Ringworm Scandal: When Israeli Doctors Killed Tens of Thousands of Arab Children (Richard Silverstein) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - ...The 2004 documentary, The Ringworm Children, presents the historical context of this immigration and is dedicated to the greatest national medical scandal in the state’s history. During this early period, Israel looked with deep suspicion on the Arab olim. They were viewed not only as culturally inferior, but as reservoirs of disease. To be fair, these same views had been prominent in the U.S. during the heights of immigration to this country. But unlike here, Israel allowed one senior health official, Dr. Chaim Sheba, to conduct a massive program of unnecessary medical treatments, at enormous expense, which actually killed many of the victims. At that time, many children developed ringworm, a non-lethal condition of fungal origin which affected the scalp. Unlike in other countries, 100,000 Jewish (and Palestinian) Arab children were irradiated in order to treat the condition....

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Potomac Fever: Washington's Insane Clown Posse Rides Again (Chris Floyd) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - The Peacey Prizey Prez has spoken, and the word he brings is — war! Not just war back in our old stomping grounds of Iraq, where the Imperial Winepress has been squeezing out the grapes of wrath for nigh on quarter of a century now. Nay, he bringeth us vast new fields to plow, in the ancient land of Assyria, therefore to make us fruitful with engorged blood. Yes, it’s Iraq War III, or perhaps Sykes-Picot Revisited, or maybe even the Eighth (or Ninth or Forty-Fifth) Crusade of the Christian West Against the Infidel Saracens. Call it what you will, we are once more firmly embarked on a fruitless (and, we are fervently assured, bootless) quest for loot and dominance in Mesopotamia and environs. As always, these raw and bestial impulses are being gussied up in noble tropes; over the centuries, the rhetorical shadings change, but the propaganda message is always the same: the forces of good are fighting to save civilization from evil, world-devouring savages....

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St. Louis police give Israeli-style excuses for arresting peaceful protesters (Rania Khalek) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2013 - In the early morning hours of Sunday, 12 October, seventeen people were arrested during a sit-in outside a St. Louis, Missouri gas station to protest the recent police killing of yet another Black teen.One of those arrested was Zena Ozeir, a 23-year-old Lebanese-American activist from Detroit who is part of the Palestine contingent protesting police violence in St. Louis this weekend. Vonderrit Myers, 18, was gunned down by a white off-duty St. Louis city police officer last week. This latest slaying ignited more protests in a city still reeling from the August execution-style killing of Michael Brown, a Black teenager, at the hands of Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the St. Louis County municipality of Ferguson...

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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International) St. Louis police give Israeli-style excuses for arresting peaceful protesters (Rania Khalek) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2013 - In the early morning hours of Sunday, 12 October, seventeen people were arrested during a sit-in outside a St. Louis, Missouri gas station to protest the recent police killing of yet another Black teen.One of those arrested was Zena Ozeir, a 23-year-old Lebanese-American activist from Detroit who is part of the Palestine contingent protesting police violence in St. Louis this weekend. Vonderrit Myers, 18, was gunned down by a white off-duty St. Louis city police officer last week. This latest slaying ignited more protests in a city still reeling from the August execution-style killing of Michael Brown, a Black teenager, at the hands of Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the St. Louis County municipality of Ferguson...

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An historic vote on Palestine in the UK Parliament (David Hearst) - 26-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - Israel is losing the battle for public opinion in Britain. Few are in a better position to chart the draining of support than the Israeli ambassador to Britain. Daniel Taub was born and educated in the United Kingdom and has only to compare the benign views about Israel in his youth with the cold, unvarnished judgment of today. Gone is the rose-tinted vision of Israel as an island of democracy in a sea of irrational and violent Arabs. Gone is the belief that Israel wants to negotiate, if only it could find a partner to talk to. Gone, too, is the notion that there is symmetry in this conflict, that this is a battle between equals...

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Let the revulsion build (The Common Ills) - 25-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - A news outlet has been bombed in Anbar, 8 civilians (all members of one family) were killed in Saladin Province . . . These are the official bombings done by the government or done for the government of Iraq by foreign governments like the United States. Meanwhile Shi'ite militias get to be part of the 'security forces.' They 'secure' Al-Khalis today by terrorizing the people and demanding protection money. In Baquba today, they add kidnapping to their list.Barack Obama's 'plan' has been a failure in achieving its stated goals but its been even greater failure by providing cover for those who threaten and kill Iraqis -- especially Sunnis.No, you don't need Nouri as prime minister to terrorize the Sunnis, not after he's brought Shi'ite militias into the security forces and the US and all the other governments so eager to bomb are willing to look the other way....

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Donors, or enablers? Cairo's 'Gaza Reconstruction Conference' (Julie Webb-Pullman) - 25-nov-2014

October 12, 2014 - CAIRO'S Gaza Reconstruction Conference, you ask incredulously? And well you might – after all, Egypt is currently preventing the entry of materials to complete Qatari-funded projects in Gaza addressing the destruction of previous Israeli offensives. Building of roads, housing estates and hospitals have all ground to a halt despite being underway well before the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza - crimes which have only further increased the need. We are seriously expected to accept Egypt as an honest broker? That the current regime has a shred of compassion for the already homeless, sick and injured Gazans still reeling from the 2008-9 and 2012 offensives who it refuses to admit assistance for, let alone those battered by the latest assaults? For the thousands of maimed and injured STILL refused exit through Rafah for necessary medical treatment elsewhere?...

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Syria News - October 11, 2014, (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - By the end of Saturday, LCC were able to document 19 martyrs including 3 women and 2 children: 7 martyrs were reported in Idlib; 4 in Aleppo; 3 in Damascus and its Suburbs, 2 in Homs, 2 in Daraa and 1 Hama...

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Military Resistance 12J2: Boots in the Air[ (Thomas F. Barton) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - Jeffrey White, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who closely follows developments in Iraq, said the use of helicopter gunships by the United States means that U.S. troops effectively are now directly involved in ground battles. "It’s definitely boots in the air. This is combat, assuming U.S. Army guys were flying the helicopters," said White, a defense fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a center-right policy institute. "Using helicopter gunships in combat operations means those forces are in combat."...

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Seven years later, Israel decides Gaza blockade is ineffective (By Haggai Matar) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - "Israel now admits that the almost-airtight blockade of Gaza has done more harm than good." I am always amazed at the ease with which these sentences are written by this or that analyst. Written so nonchalantly to the point that it feels like the writer might as well just shrug and say, "Well that didn’t work, let’s try something else." As if that same defense establishment and those same analysts weren’t the ones who actively promoted the policy of siege for the past seven years. As if they aren’t responsible for embittering the lives of 1.8 million people. As if they didn’t kill thousands in Gaza and dozens in Israel, sowing unbelievable destruction over the course of several wars and operations, all in the name of their holy policy. As if they didn’t allow the Israeli public to become accustomed to the claim that there is no blockade, and if there is then it is Egypt, not us, who is responsible, and if it is us then it is justifiable and we owe the Palestinians absolutely nothing and why the hell do they keep shooting at us anyway...

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Guantánamo PR Can't Obscure the Reality of Force-Feeding (Clive Stafford Smith) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - This week, as a landmark case against abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay got under way, a US Freedom of Information demand by the indomitable journalist Jason Leopold quietly forced the prison's military authorities to reveal their "Proposed Public Affairs Guidance" - public talking points - for discussing the force-feeding of detainees who are on a long-term hunger strike. Before proceeding any further, it is worth noting that most of the hunger strikers have long been cleared for release (more than fifty percent of the remaining detainees, many of them clients of my organisation, Reprieve). Last week I saw Shaker Aamer, for example, the last remaining British resident, and he has been cleared for seven years, more than half of the time he has spent without charges or a trial...

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Palestinian family attacked by settlers while harvesting olives (International Solidarity Movement) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - Tuesday afternoon, the 7th of October, olive farmer Mahmoud Rga Mahoud Aid, his wife, and thei three children were attacked by a a group of settlers from the illegal settlement of Giv’at Ya’akov. The attack took place on the family´s land near the village of Burin, south west of Nablus. The the family had only three days permission from the District Coordination Office (DCO) to access their land and pick their olives, starting from the 6th of October. To harvest all the olives on the land would normally take about a month....

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Questioning Sweden’s ‘Bold’ Diplomatic Initiative (Richard Falk) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 -It was a welcome move, but only in some respects. The new center-left Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, in his inaugural speech to Parliament indicated on October 3rd the intention of the Swedish government to recognize Palestinian statehood. He explained that such a move mentioned in the platform of his party is in accord with promoting a two-state solution, and more significantly, that is to be "negotiated in accordance with international law." The call for adherence to international law in future diplomacy is actually more of a step forward than is the announced intention of future recognition, which has so far received all the media attention and incurred the wrath of Tel Aviv. To bring international law into future negotiations would amount to a radical modication of the 'peace process’ that came into being with the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993. The Israel/United States view was to allow any agreements between the parties to arise from a bargaining process, which is a shorthand for acknowledging the primacy of power, taking account of 'facts on the ground’ (that is, the unlawful settlements) and diplomatic leverage (allowing the United States to fake the role of 'honest broker’ while at the same time making sure that Israel’s interests are protected)....

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Forget Biden’s words, the problem is Obama’s thoughts (Eyad Abu Shakra) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - ...ndeed, the Syrian crisis and the subsequent emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in both Iraq and Syria have proved that cooperation with Tehran’s rulers is now an essential part of Obama’s vision regarding the region’s political and strategic map regardless of what Iran has been doing across the Mashriq.Today, with the exception of empty statements from US officials about Iran’s nuclear program or Bashar Al-Assad’s regime losing legitimacy, we can clearly see changes taking place on the ground. This includes Iranian officials’ boasting that four Arab capitals—Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana’a—are now controlled by and subservient to Tehran. Following Obama’s historic remarks in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in early March in which he praised Iran’s "strategic" thinking and blamed Washington’s regional allies who were "taken by surprise" by the "Arab Spring," his Vice-President Joe Biden has now gone beyond pointing the finger of blame...

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Gaza reconstruction: The new Israeli strategy (Dimi Reider) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - ...There is a bittersweet pleasure in seeing the army give up on the siege, and the government u-turn on its rejection of a Palestinian unity government, both essentially adopting the positions of the Israeli civil society and political Left (even if eight years and yet another horrible war too late). Yet the postwar reality sketched out by Ben Yishai still makes for an overwhelmingly depressing read. True, the influx of construction material and other goods into the Strip will doubtless be a great relief to the artificially starved Gazan economy. But the tight, almost dystopian new controls envisioned in the plan underline Israel’s approach to the Strip as being first and foremost a gigantic prison - only it is being upgraded from a third-world prison camp to an American cutting-edge SuperMax facility. Much of the more tantalizing promises should be taken with a heap of salt: complete freedom of movement except where security concerns are raised is pretty much what Gazans enjoy today; it just so happens that all of them, together and apart, are seen as security concerns...

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From Syria to Gaza: The search for a better life (Linah Alsaafin) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - ...The Palestinian refugee population in Syria had numbered around 600,000. Now, almost half have escaped the fighting in search of security and stability, but face heavy restrictions by various Arab governments, such as Lebanon, which has announced it will not grant entry to Palestinian Syrians.According to Atef Alamawi, the Director of the Monitoring Committee for Refugees from Syria to Gaza, more than 350 Palestinian Syrian families have fled to Gaza. They are made up of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Syria, including those who are originally from Gaza but have spent the last few decades in Syria....

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Authoritarianism in Palestine (Dr Phil Leech) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - This week Al-Shabaka, a Palestinian think tank, released a report on the troubling issue of the Palestinian security sector. The report, authored by Alaa Tartir and Sabrien Amrov, argues that the Palestinian security sector has grown significantly in terms of its power and prominence since the schism between Hamas and Fatah in 2007. It suggests that this is problematic both because the security sector's growth has come at the expense of other areas of government spending – such as education and agriculture – that would represent more important efforts to challenge Israel's occupation, and because the increase in the security agencies' power and autonomy, relative to the general population and civilian leadership, can also be seen as anti-democratic...

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Forget its Charter, Hamas has given de facto recognition to the State of Israel (Jessica Purkiss) - 25-nov-2014

October 11, 2014 - The Palestinian unity government held its first meeting in the Gaza Strip on Thursday after "great efforts" were made to obtain the necessary permits from Israel for ministers from the West Bank to cross into the coastal territory. Ever since moves were made to bring about Palestinian reconciliation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to thwart them. The kidnap and murder of the three Israeli teens earlier this year was recruited to undermine the unity government, and the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip was launched just over a month after it was sworn in; both aimed to crush Hamas, and with it Palestinian reconciliation...

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Syria News - October 10, 2014 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria) - 25-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - By the end of Friday , LCC has documented 86 martyrs including 15 children, 7 women and 2 martyrs under torture. 32 martyrs were reported in Daraa, 15 in Qunaitra, 14 in Aleppo, 13 in Damascus and its suburbs, 6 in Idlib, 3 in Homs, and 3 in Hama....

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White House denies plan to close Guantánamo Bay with executive action (Reuters) - 24-nov-2014

October 10, 2014 - Obama administration spokesperson vehemently contradicts report that president seeks to override law and Congress. The White House on Thursday denied a report that President Barack Obama is putting together options for executive action to close the controversial US military prison at Guantánamo Bay in defiance of congressional wishes. The Wall Street Journal, citing administration officials, reported that the White House was "drafting options" to close the facility by overriding a ban put in place by Congress that prohibits prisoners from being brought to the United States...

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