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To day in Palestine

Vendredi, 8 juin 2012,14 h 07

Friday 8 June 2012


Land Theft & Destruction / Refugees / Apartheid

France condemns Israeli settlement expansion
France on Thursday condemned Israeli plans to expand a West Bank settlement by 300 homes and urged right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to follow through with their construction. “We call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abstain from implementing these plans. We recall that colonization in all its forms is illegal under international law, undermines the two-state solution at ground level and is an obstacle to peace,” foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
link to english.al-akhbar.com
Settlement Construction Contradicts International Law, says UN Official
JERUSALEM, June 7, 2012 (WAFA) – The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, in a statement Thursday reiterated the International Community’s view that all settlement construction is contrary to international law. He said that the latest announcements, including adding 300 units in Beit El settlement near Ramallah, deep inside the West Bank are deeply troubling. Serry reiterated his recent warning to the Security Council that ‘if the parties do not grasp the current opportunity, they should realize the implication is not merely slowing progress toward a two-state solution. Instead, we could be moving down the path toward a one-state reality, which would also move us further away from regional peace in the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative”.
link to english.wafa.ps

After striking down bill to legalize neighborhood, Netanyahu vows to expand West Bank settlement
In wake of Knesset vote to reject the legalizing a Beit El neighborhood, Netanyahu warns left-wing organizations that they cannot use the legal system to ‘harm the settlements.’
link to www.haaretz.com

Settlements to get 850 new housing units
In move meant to appease Right following Ulpana vote’s failure, PM, housing minister greenlight construction in five West Bank settlements. US expresses disapproval; PA says Israel ‘sabotaging peace efforts’.
link to www.ynetnews.com

IOA orders the demolition of 29 houses in Bustan suburb
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has notified defense lawyer of Bustan suburb in occupied Jerusalem of court orders for the demolition of 29 houses.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israel plans to legalize 13 contentious West Bank outposts
Because the 13 outposts are not built on privately-owned Palestinian land, the legalization process could make the petitions against them moot.
link to www.haaretz.com

Israeli raid, ‘Land of the Children’ kindergarten damaged
“We are very surprised by what happened because the kindergarten was announced in Israel, in short, they know we’re there, we opened the facility on March 19″: thus said to MISNA the President of the NGO ‘Wind of the Earth’, Massimo Annibale Rossi, which together with the Italian Cooperation and the Italian episcopal Conference (CEI), has funded and built the Umm al-Nasser kindergarten, damaged in an Israeli air raid last Saturday night. “The ‘Children of Earth’ – the first children’s center in Gaza, which derives all its energy from solar panels – regularly hosts approximately 130 children between the ages of three and six, as well as organizing activities for the women of the Bedouin community next village,” explained Massimo Annibale Rossi. “In an area with unemployment rates of 80%, with 9 out of 10 children suffering from intestinal parasites and the living conditions of a Sub-Saharan African country, despite being located just 30 kilometers from Tel Aviv – insists Rossi – you cannot target a rare oasis of fun and normalcy for children born and raised during a conflict and under embargo.” According to the leaders of the structure, the damage caused by the raid, however, will not prevent the resumption of normal activities of kindergarten.
link to reliefweb.int

Water Well Destroyed by Israeli Forces
A water well north of Jenin was bulldozed by Israeli forces on Thursday morning.
link to www.imemc.org

Israelis Stop Palestinians from Getting Drinking Water
NABLUS, June 7, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Thursday seized a water tanker that was used to supply parts of the occupied Jordan Valley with drinking water and imposed a $450 fine on its owner, according to a local official. Aref Daraghme, head of Wadi al-Maleh village council, said that Israeli forces seized the tanker while it was on its way to supply drinking water to an area in Wadi al-Maleh area and took it to an army base. Local residents in these remote areas of the Jordan Valley rely on tankers for their daily water supply since the Israeli authorities prohibit development in these areas in an attempt to drive residents away from their land in order to seize it.
link to english.wafa.ps

NYT got it wrong: Netanyahu opposed bill in order to expand settlements
Netanyahu is not hiding his commitment to expanding settlements – he is making it loud and clear. The New York Times didn’t seem to hear.
link to 972mag.com

Refugees Crowd Behind Five-Star Checks
SHUAFAT REFUGEE CAMP, Occupied East Jerusalem, Jun 6, 2012 (IPS) – A group of Palestinian Jerusalemites steps down from a crowded bus to let two Israeli soldiers climb aboard to check identity cards, below the aluminum roof of this newly operational checkpoint terminal. Outside, Israel’s concrete separation wall snakes around the Shuafat refugee camp, an overcrowded and depressed Palestinian neighbourhood that, while within the geographical boundaries of Jerusalem, is almost entirely cut off from the rest of the city. ”It’s a five-star checkpoint,” Fadi Abbasi tells IPS. Abbasi is in charge of projects and fundraising at the Shuafat refugee camp’s only women’s centre, which offers psychosocial, educational and empowerment services to women and children.
link to reliefweb.int
Israeli soldiers use Palestinians to train army dogs, activist says, Amira Hass
Report claims IDF troops order West Bank residents to exit cars and wait, as dogs seek training explosive devices; army spokesman: Soldiers conduct searches to increase Israelis’ safety.
link to www.haaretz.com

Siege on Gaza

“Every third child in Gaza stunted by hunger”: interview with renowned doctor Mads Gilbert, Sami Kishawi
Dr. Mads Gilbert shares accounts of his work treating patients during Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2008-09 in order to encourage others to remain steadfast in their solidarity work for Palestinian rights.
link to electronicintifada.net

Gaza power plant shuts down as fuel crisis worsens
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories, June 6, 2012 (AFP) – Gaza’s sole power station shut down again on Wednesday after running out of fuel, a source at the plant told AFP, as the territory’s energy crisis deepened. ”The electricity plant has stopped work because of a lack of fuel,” the source said. The plant has stopped working several times this year as the Gaza Strip lives through its worst-ever energy crisis which has been brought on by a drop in fuel supplies from neighbouring Egypt. On Wednesday, a delivery of 30 million litres of Qatari fuel was to have entered the Hamas-run Gaza Strip from Egypt, after being transported through Egypt’s Al-Awja crossing into southern Israel, then into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
link to reliefweb.int

Abu Sabeh calls on Egypt to stop occupation’s violations
The Palestinian government in Gaza warned against the continuous Israeli prison service’s aggression on Palestinian prisoners and the various violations of the Dignity agreement.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Abu al-Amrin: the occupation delays entry of fuel to Gaza for the third time
Ahmad Abu al-Amrin, director of the information office at the energy authority in Gaza, said that the occupation authorities refused to allow the Qatari fuel shipment into Gaza for the third time.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Reduction in UNRWA Services in Gaza: Calls for End of Siege
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip announced that there will be a reduction in its services in Gaza due to a decline in funding from donor countries.
link to www.imemc.org

Bishops urge Obama to intervene in UN funding cut for Gaza hospital
[Episcopal News Service] The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has ended its financial support to the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, an institution run by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The decision, made June 1, cuts the hospital’s budget nearly by half. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori along with 101 Episcopal Church bishops from 43 states and the District of Columbia have written to U.S. President Barack Obama calling for his intervention in reversing the decision that, they say, could have “disastrous consequences for the more than two million residents of Gaza, already living in conditions of profound humanitarian need.” UNRWA’s decision, after nearly two decades of partnership with the hospital, comes “without public justification … and threatens to debilitate the hospital, its 120-person staff, and the many thousands of Gazans who rely on it for primary and urgent care and treatment,” the bishops say.
link to episcopaldigitalnetwork.com

Israeli Violence & Aggression

Violent clashes at dawn between Nabi Saleh villagers and troops
Violent clashes broke out at dawn Thursday between Palestinian young men and Israeli troops in Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah city during raids on homes.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Jerusalem: Haredim attack elderly Arab
Later, the eyewitness said, the haredim attacked an Arab woman and her two children with belts while yelling “death to Arabs.” Border Guard officers who were dispatched to the scene dispersed the crowd. “It was frightening, sad and disgraceful,” the eyewitness said.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Multiple Settler Attacks on Thursday Morning
Palestinians in the West Bank were attacked in various locations on Thursday morning by settlers.
link to www.imemc.org

Detainees / Prisoner News

15 Palestinians Arrested from Gaza Strip and West Bank
15 Palestinians were arrested from both the West Bank and Gaza strip on Wednesday the Wafa News Agency has reported.
link to www.imemc.org

IOF soldiers arrest student
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Palestinian university student in Beit Kahel village to the north west of Al-Khalil afternoon Wednesday.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israeli forces seize at least 13 across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 13 Palestinians across the West Bank at dawn on Wednesday, including a Palestinian police officer, officials said. Soldiers detained policeman Masoud al-Laham 30, after raiding his house and destroying its contents in Nablus, locals said, adding that troops also seized Jamal Marouf from Al-Ain refugee camp in the city. Palestinian officials said five people were detained in Beit Furik near Nablus, naming them as Fayez Al-Hanini and his sons Yousef and Methqal as well as Afef Majed Hanini and Hamada Mahmud Nasasrah.
link to www.maannews.net
Justice upside down: a new study on Israel’s military courtsMore than 200 Palestinian children are in Israel’s jails, according to a new booklet by the prisoner rights organization Addameer.
link to electronicintifada.net

Human rights groups call for immediate transfer of hunger strikers to civilian hospitals
As organisations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations (PCHRO) and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) are gravely concerned for the lives of three Palestinian prisoners who remain on hunger strike in Israeli prison. Today (Wednesday, 6 June), Mahmoud Sarsak and Akram Rikhawi were visited by PHR-Israel’s independent doctor for the first time since they launched their hunger strikes.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

Al-Sarsak at Risk of Dying
An independent doctor who visited soccer player, Mahmoud al-Sarsak, said on Wednesday that al-Sarsak is at risk of death and must be hospitalized immediately.
link to www.imemc.org

Wounded detainee held in hospital with both hands and feet shackled
Palestinian detainee Laith Mishaal was held in Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in occupied Jerusalem with both his hands and feet shackled to his hospital bed, human rights sources said.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strikes continue as Israel violates agreements, Linah Alsaafin
Since the end of the mass hunger strike in the early hours of 15 May, rumors of Israel reneging on the agreement have solidified into facts.
link to electronicintifada.net

War Rages on Palestinian Soccer – Free Mahmoud Sarsak, Ramzy Baroud
On June 4, Palestinian national soccer team member Mahmoud Sarsak completed 81 days of a grueling hunger strike. He had sustained the strike despite the fact that nearly 2,000 Palestinian inmates had called off their own 28-day hunger strike weeks ago. Although the story of Palestinian prisoners in Israel speaks to a common reality of unlawful detentions and widespread mistreatment, Sarsak’s fate can also be viewed within its own unique context. The soccer player, who once sought to take the name and flag of his nation to international arenas, was arrested by Israeli soldiers in July 2009 while en route to join the national team in the West Bank.
link to palestinechronicle.com

Thaer Halahleh: Making His Own Palestinian Destiny
Thaer Halahleh narrowly skirted death when Israel agreed to a deal that ended his 78-day hunger strike, returning home on Tuesday night after languishing behind Israeli bars without charge for over two years. “I had been in detention for 25 months, and in solitary confinement for 78 days, which is the hunger strike period,” Halahleh, his speech frail after the ordeal, told Al-Akhbar. There was concern Israel would renege on its promise – as it has so often done in 64 years of its occupation of Palestine – and renew Halahleh’s detention once again. “I threatened the authorities with going on a silent hunger strike in case they didn’t release me,” he said.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Soldiers Break Into Ramon Prison, Attack Detainees
Israeli soldiers stormed into, on Tuesday at night, the Ramon Prison and attacked Palestinian political prisoners; several injuries were reported.
link to www.imemc.org

BDS / Solidarity / Activism

Egypt shuts down production of film that ‘promotes’ Israel ties
Director denies claims, says film is meant to promote peace and cooperation among all people regardless of sex, race and religion.
link to www.haaretz.com
Student-Run Cafe at The Evergreen State College Announces Boycott of Israeli Products
Monday June 4, 2012, The Flaming Eggplant Cafe a student-run cafe at The Evergreen State College in Olympia announced it will boycott Israeli products.
link to www.imemc.org

Alameda County drops Palestinian cultural day following pressure from Pamela Geller, Allison Deger
Yesterday, Oakland’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors should have rubber stamped a proclamation marking June 5th as Palestine Day. But after noted Islamophobe and birther Pamela Geller lambasted county officials as “Jew-haters” working with Muslims “goosestepping armies,” and following a secret 11th hour meeting with an unnamed Zionist organization, Palestine Day was erased.
link to mondoweiss.net

Jewish org’s letter warns Presbyterians divestment from occupation ‘taps into our deepest fears’, Philip Weiss
Things are heating up in anticipation of the Presbyterian Church’s 220th general conference at the end of the month, at which the U.S. church will debate divesting from three companies that do business in the occupation. Two letters follow. The first is from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. It is a “letter in hope” that says that the conflict has hurt both sides.
link to mondoweiss.net
Cirque du Soleil
The Canadian circus arts company Cirque du Soleil is touring the Middle East this summer; one of the cities they’re performing in is Tel Aviv.
link to electronicintifada.net

Racism / Discrimination

‘Leave the neighborhood’ — arsonists’ message to Eritrean refugees in Jerusalem, Allison Deger
Following recent mob violence against African migrants in Tel Aviv, yesterday morning arsonists attacked Eritrean refugees in their Jerusalem apartment. Haaretz reported that ten of the refugees were trapped inside of the building during the fire, and four sustained injuries from smoke and burns. The assailants also left a graffiti message to the residents: “leave the neighborhood.”
link to mondoweiss.net
Israeli court clears deporting South Sudan migrants
An Israeli court upheld on Thursday the planned deportation of South Sudanese deemed to have entered Israel illegally, though government pledges of wider crackdowns on African migrants remained in question.
link to www.reuters.com

Jerusalem Jews Concerned by Christian Symbols in Old City
Residents of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem troubled by the presence of Christian symbols as part of the Festival of Light.
link to www.israelnationalnews.com

Developments and Other News

Obama to U.S. Orthodox Jews: My administration is more attentive to Israel than to Palestinians
Obama told a White House meeting with leaders of Orthodox community that the window of opportunity for peace with the Palestinians might have already closed, but expressed hope that progress is possible.
link to www.haaretz.com
In attempt to garner votes, Obama is ignoring the Palestinians
Three-plus years in the White House have given the public more than enough time to reach some conclusions about President Obama’s Mideast policy.
link to www.haaretz.com

PA ‘surprised’ over Obama’s speech to rabbis
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said on Wednesday they were “surprised” to read statements attributed to US President Barack Obama to the effect that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is not interested in peace. Obama was quoted by various media outlets as telling American Orthodox representatives during a meeting at the White House on Tuesday that it was “possible” that Abbas may no longer be interested in peace and that the window for peace negotiations may already have closed. Related: Obama PA leadership may be too weak to reach peace Some of Abbas’s aides said they were expecting “clarifications” from the US Administration before commenting on the remarks.
link to www.jpost.com

Erdogan: I won’t meet Netanyahu without an apology
Turkish PM says bilateral relations will prosper again once Israel meets terms Ankara has set including lifting Gaza blockade.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Hamas leader visits Brotherhood supreme guide
A senior Hamas official made a 20-minute visit Wednesday morning to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Moqattam headquarters in Cairo. The visit by Moussa Abu Marzouk, vice chairman of the Palestinian faction’s politburo, coincided with the Brotherhood’s weekly meeting and election planning to support presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy. An informed source at the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Marzouk came to check on the health of Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, who underwent an operation following the first round of elections last month. The same source said they did not discuss Brotherhood-Hamas relations.
link to www.egyptindependent.com

Official: Rival Palestinians agree on Cabinet
A Palestinian official says rival parties have agreed on a new government. That would be a major step toward reconciliation and overdue elections.
link to news.yahoo.com
Arafat moneyman gets 15 years for corruption
The Palestinian anti-corruption court on Thursday convicted the fugitive moneyman of the late leader Yasser Arafat of siphoning off millions of dollars in public funds, sentencing him to 15 years in prison.

Germany and Israel’s ‘special relationship’ in spotlight
If ever there were two countries with a truly “special relationship”, they are Germany and Israel. For obvious reasons of history, they are bound together. The genocidal madness of a previous generation of the one and the suffering of the victims of a previous generation of the other make them intertwined in a way no other two countries are. But is the relationship changing? There are certainly signs that it is being re-examined in Germany. What was taken as a given in the past is now up for questioning.
link to www.bbc.co.uk

Finder of ‘Flame’ Virus Tells Israel to “Stop Before It’s Too Late”, Karl Vick
Eugene Kaspersky, the Russian cyber sleuth who last week revealed the most sophisticated virus yet targeting Iran, was greeted as a hero at the Tel Aviv University conference on digital security Wednesday.
link to globalspin.blogs.time.com

Analysis / Op-ed

The ‘honest broker’ comes clean: Obama admits the US is ‘more attentive’ to Israel than Palestinians, Adam Horowitz
On Tuesday, President Obama met with a delegation of leaders from the U.S. Orthodox Jewish community and told them he gives Israel more attention than the Palestinians, and that the window on the peace process has probably closed. Give him points for honesty.
link to mondoweiss.net

Obama: US is not evenhanded in the Middle East, Philip Weiss
The president’s confessional is a gathering of Orthodox Jewish leaders, to whom he is as friendly as the Conservative leaders he met with last week. How many Palestinians has he met lately? Ari Goldberg and JTA report: In a Tuesday meeting at the White House, US President Barack Obama told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders that Israel’s security needs are more important than maintaining an evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a participant who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. … [Obama] said peace was critical as the Arab democracy movement swept the region, but worried that the Palestinian leadership was no longer as interested in advancing toward peace. …Anyone expecting a less convivial meeting than the president’s discussions with Conservative rabbis and leaders last week would have been disappointed. According to Orthodox Union (OU) Public Policy Director Nathan Diament – who was a driving force in making the meeting happen – the conversation was “serious, straightforward, and civil, punctuated by a few lighthearted, warm moments.”
link to mondoweiss.net
Obama comes out as being “decidedly more attentive to Israel”
It’s really hard to believe that the United States has been able to claim to be an “honest broker” between Palestinians and Israelis for so long. One quick look into the history of U.S. support for Israel exposes this claim: between 1968 and 2008, the United States gave Israel more than $67 billion of taxpayer-funded military aid grants and loans. In 2007 the Bush Administration signed an agreement with Israel to provide an additional $30 billion in weapons from 2009 to 2018.
link to blog.endtheoccupation.org

State Dep’t official’s ‘Are you Jewish?’ question to US citizen keeps rattling Foggy Bottom, Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz
Video from today’s daily press briefing at the State Department. The portion from the transcript below begins around the 9:30 mark. The deportation of Sandra Tamari at Ben Gurion airport and the American embassy’s response to her case — “Are you Jewish?” — continues to be a news story. The Associated Press’s Matt Lee brings it up with the State Department spokesperson every day. “Let me get the facts,” says he. Yes, let him get the facts.
link to mondoweiss.net

Far-right Europeans and Israelis: this toxic alliance spells trouble, Rachel Shabi
Migrants everywhere need to be wary when European fascists and far-right Israeli nationalists use the same racist rhetoric. Last month, demonstrations against African refugees in Tel Aviv turned violent. Protesters looted shops, broke windows and firebombed buildings, including a nursery. Days ago, arsonists torched the home of 10 African migrants in Jerusalem, injuring four, and leaving the unequivocal graffiti: “Get out of the neighbourhood.”
link to www.guardian.co.uk

‘NYT’ soft pedals the racism and hate in Tel Aviv anti-African protests, Adam Horowitz
A Tel Aviv rally demanding the expulsion of all non-Jewish African people verbally and physically attacks an Ethiopian Jewish Israeli man after he asks the protestors to clarify who it is they are calling for to be expelled from the country. (Video: Shot and edited by David Sheen) Isabel Kershner has filed the first New York Times report on the wave of anti-African protests and violence…
link to mondoweiss.net

45 Years of Israeli Military Occupation and No End in Sight
In the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, President Lyndon Johnson, in a clear nod toward countering Israeli territorial aggrandizement, stated that “no nation would be true to the United Nations Charter, or to its own true interests, if it should permit military success to blind it to the fact that its neighbors have rights and its neighbors have interests of their own.”
link to blog.endtheoccupation.org

South Hebron Hills: A military regime for none or for all
The right-wing organization “Regavim” wants you to overlook why the Palestinians in Area C are pushed into building “illegally”; Regavim wants you to ignore the fundamental inequality of status between Palestinians and settlers.
link to 972mag.com

Israeli Blood Diamonds: The Global Cover-Up, Patrick Galey
The sentencing of former warlord Charles Taylor last week reminded the world of the existence of – and the lasting damage caused by – that most shadowy of luxury goods: blood diamonds. Liberia’s former president was sentenced at an international court in The Hague to 50 years in prison after being found guilty last month of crimes against humanity. Taylor was convicted of having supported renegades in Sierra Leone in return for conflict diamonds towards the end of the last century. Taylor’s defense hinged largely on the idea that he was a mere facilitator, not the perpetrator, of the litany of horrors read out in court by prosecutors. This legal differentiation eventually led to Taylor’s half-century long sentence, greatly mitigated from the 80 years prosecuting judges had called for.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Drones provide backdrop to Bible-inspired play by Palestinian writer, Sarah Irving
A new play takes a poetic, violent, poignant take on the Biblical story of Abraham.
link to electronicintifada.net

If ’5 Broken Cameras’ wins an Oscar– then will you end the occupation?, Philip Weiss
Tonight at the Film Forum, the directors of Five Broken Cameras will be answering questions about the film, which is shot in Bil’in over the seven years of the village’s historic protests. I can’t urge you strongly enough to go. There is a widespread sense inside our community that this film is The Horse; that it is the vehicle to bring wide attention to the horrors of the occupation. Abdeen Jabara has compared it to the Battle of Algiers. Jewish Voice for Peace is promoting the film: “5 Broken Cameras … is getting rave reviews from activists and critics alike.” “Wrenching,” Pamela Olsen said to me as she was leaving the showing before mine on Sunday night, and she is right.
link to mondoweiss.net
The untold story of higher education for Palestinian students
The denial of unhindered access to education is one of the untold stories of the suffering of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank. While thousands of students in higher education are delayed in attending lectures, or miss them altogether due to Israel’s military checkpoints in the West Bank, their counterparts in Gaza are unable to register or travel to the same universities. In some cases, Gaza students have had their studies put on hold for more than 12 years because they have been denied access to the West Bank.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk


Fifty Bahraini prisoners start hunger strike
Dozens of Bahraini prisoners have begun a hunger strike in protest at the continued detention of a teenager in urgent need of medical care, activists said on Tuesday. Sixteen-year-old Ahmed Oun was shot in his eye during an anti-government protest three weeks ago before being arrested in hospital for taking part in an “illegal gathering,” opposition figures have said. Doctors have warned that without an immediate operation he will lose his sight in that eye, but the Bahraini authorities have refused to release him.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Rights leader Rajab re-arrested in Bahrain
Bahrain re-arrested leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab on Wednesday pending a probe into tweets deemed insulting to the government, prosecutors said, just nine days after he had been freed on bail. Rajab was “taken into custody pending investigation after he was accused of public insults against plaintiffs” from the province of Muharaq, it said in a statement. The prosecution said it had received complaints that Rajab “talked on social networks about the people of Muharaq in a way that questioned their patriotism and insulted them.”
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Opposition disputes Bahrain torture denial
Bahrain’s leading opposition party dismissed on Wednesday government claims that the police were acting without orders when they tortured and killed protesters – practices highlighted in a government-commissioned report last year. The Gulf state’s human rights record has been criticized since they crushed pro-democracy protests that broke out in February 2011 inspired by similar Arab revolts in the region.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Bahrain policewoman denies torturing journalist
A Bahrain policewoman pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of torturing a female journalist during last year’s crackdown on anti-government protests, lawyers said.
link to news.yahoo.com
Bahrain update
From Angry Arab’s chief Bahrain correspondent: ”So here’s an interesting one for you. The Bahraini regime has done many horrible things but you know they are really desperate when they resort to 10th grade tactics. Mohammad AlTajer is a lawyer and one of Bahrain’s most prominent activists. He risks his life defending political prisoners and has been imprisoned himself. He recently just came back from the UN Human Rights Committee meeting in Geneva which was extremely embarrassing for the regime. Now he was apparently getting to be too much for the regime. So what do they do? They install secret video cameras in his bedroom and release a video of him sleeping with/having sex with his wife (I’m not exactly sure because I’m too disgusted to watch the video). It is of course being tweeted and retweeted on twitter and in chatrooms by pro-regime idiots (many of them religious salafis by the way – I guess its okay when its not of them??) Apparently this is supposed to shame him into stopping his activism. This is of course horrifying and a gross invasion of privacy but it also shows you how desperate they are. They tried destroying shia mosques, firing people from their jobs, killing them, torturing them, threatening their lives, imprisoning them, teargassing their neighborhoods and homes, attacking them in hospitals, and kidnapping them. That all didn’t work. So instead, they now videotape people in their bedrooms. Dictators of the world take note – now thats how you stop an uprising…Apparently he knew about the spy cameras a while ago and he complained about it and it is documented in the Bassiouni report (see here:) But they just released the video. I guess he was starting to really irritate them. What a joke of a regime.”
link to angryarab.blogspot.com


Sabbahi rejects Shafiq, Morsy
On his Twitter, former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said he does not support Ahmed Shafiq or Mohamed Morsy in the presidential runoff election. He also denied having met with Shafiq. “I am against the recreation of the Mubarak regime and the domination of the Islamist current,” added Sabbahi, who finished third in the first round of elections with nearly 21 percent of votes. Sabbahi went to Alexandria on Wednesday to participate in public commemorations of the second anniversary of Khaled Saeed’s death. Saeed was tortured to death by police in 2010, later becoming an icon of the January 25 revolution.
link to www.egyptindependent.com

Protesters press political demands in Egypt
Thousands descend on Cairo square for the fourth straight night to demand Ahmed Shafik’s removal from presidential race.
link to www.aljazeera.com

Egypt rulers demand constitution panel in 48 hours
Egypt’s ruling military council has set a 48-hour deadline for political parties to finalize the formation of a 100-member panel to write a new constitution, or it will draw up its own blueprint.
link to news.yahoo.com

Mubarak’s health worsens amid political crisis
Hosni Mubarak’s health sharply deteriorated Wednesday, days after he was sentenced to life in prison, and specialists were evaluating whether to transfer him to a better-equipped hospital outside the penal system, security officials said.
link to news.yahoo.com

The Lede Blog: Campaign to Boycott Egypt’s Presidential Election Gains Momentum, ROBERT MACKEY
The mother of Khaled Said, the young Egyptian whose death helped incite the country’s revolution, said she intends to boycott the second round of Egypt’s presidential election.
link to thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

Tahrir Protests Continue (Photos and Video), Hossam El-Hamalawy
Hundreds of thousands took part Tuesday in protests across Egypt, calling for a “political isolation” law to be implemented against General Ahmad Shafiq and remnants of the old regime. Protesters in Tahrir Square and elsewhere demanded the retrial of Hosni Mubarak, his sons, and the police leaders in front of revolutionary courts.
Egypt remembers its fallen son, Khaled Said
In Alexandria, thousands of people are marking the second anniversary of the murder of a young man. Egyptian Khaled Said, 28, was beaten to death by police in Alexandria in June 2010 with his body barely recognisable after he posted a video showing police officers sharing the spoils of a drugs bust, according to his family. The act of brutality galvanised further protests, in particular, the anti-torture Facebook page “We are Khaled Said”. The page helped crystallise Egypt’s political movement which eventually toppled the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reports from Alexandria.
link to www.youtube.com

Egyptians remember ‘face of revolution’
In Alexandria, thousands of people have marked the second anniversary of the death of a young man which helped galvanise protests against Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian Khaled Said, 28, was beaten to death in Alexandria in June 2010 with his body barely recognisable. The act of brutality let to the creation of an anti-torture Facebook page entitled “We are Khaled Said” which, in turn, helped crystallise Egypt’s political movement which eventually toppled Mubarak from power. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reports from Alexandria.
link to www.youtube.com

Shafiq calls demands for Mubarak retrial ‘childish’
Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq severely criticized protesters who demand a retrial of former President Hosni Mubarak. Shafiq, who served as civil aviation minister and briefly as prime minister under Mubarak, said during an interview on privately owned Al-Hayat 2 satellite channel Tuesday that protesters should not use the “revolution continues” slogan to express demands for freedom, justice and better living standards. He said the revolution erupted “to achieve a main goal and then ended,” referring to Mubarak’s resignation last year. “Revolutions don’t continue, because they break out to achieve a real accomplishment and then the impacts continue,” Shafiq said, remarking that ongoing unrest prevents people from earning a living.
link to www.egyptindependent.com

Blowback in Egypt, Justin Raimondo
The trial of 43 employees of Western-backed “pro-democracy” groups in Egypt has been postponed until July, when government prosecution witnesses are scheduled to testify. The case attracted international attention when the authorities accused US- and European-backed groups of trying to overthrow the government.
link to original.antiwar.com

Robert Fisk: Revolutions don’t always pan out quite as we wanted

Does a “deep state” exist in Egypt? I’ve been asking myself that in the streets of Cairo as more and more people – doormen, shopkeepers, policemen’s families and taxi drivers – express their support for “Stability Shafik”, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister who watched his former boss jailed for life on Saturday. Ahmed Shafik says he stands for stability. A spot of security on the streets – and now the young people of the 25 January revolution are asking what happened to them. Some of their cartoons are funny. The one where Mubarak’s face morphs into Shafik’s – via the all-powerful Field Marshal Tantawi – is a cracker. The young sometimes seem to be the only Egyptians leftwith a sense of humour – until you talk to them. And they speak of betrayal.
link to www.independent.co.uk


Iran: IAEA “subordinate” to West
Iran on Wednesday accused the UN’s nuclear body of being “subordinate” to Western powers, but said they were still optimistic of reaching a deal during upcoming talks. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is holding a new round of talks with Iran in Vienna on Friday, has been seeking access to the Parchin base near Tehran, where it believes suspicious explosives testing has been carried out. Iran has denied the IAEA demands, insisting the site is of no significance to its nuclear program.
link to english.al-akhbar.com
Iran: nuclear rights must be recognized
Iran on Thursday underlined its message that Western powers must recognize Tehran’s “right” to uranium enrichment if upcoming talks in Moscow are to advance. Two key officials with top advisory positions to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stressed that line in media reports a day after other officials claimed that the West was not showing enough willingness to negotiate.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Sorting Out the Facts About Iran, Ray McGovern
On the issue of Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” you hear one thing on Monday, a different thing on Tuesday. “It’s a puzzlement!” to quote Yul Brynner’s famous line in The King and I. But in this case, the confusion is hardly insignificant.
link to original.antiwar.com


Five killed in northern Iraq attacks
Five Iraqis have been killed and eight injured in two separate attacks in Mosul, 400 kilometres north of Baghdad.
link to www.sbs.com.au
Top Saddam aide executed in Iraq
Iraq executes toppled leader Saddam Hussein’s personal secretary and guard, nearly 10 years after he was captured by the US military.
link to www.bbc.co.uk

Analysis: Maliki enemies battle to vote him out of office
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Ask Iraq’s Sunni, Kurdish and even some Shi’ite leaders these days what they think of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and the rhetoric is likely to be shrill: Many call him a dictator, autocrat or even a new “Saddam” who needs to be voted from office. For the second time since American troops left last December, Maliki is wading through a crisis with the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs in his government at each others throats in a feud that risks spilling from politics into sectarian violence.

link to news.yahoo.com

Blackwater guards lose appeal in Iraqi shooting case
One of the highest-profile prosecutions stemming from the Iraq war period is to go ahead after the US supreme court refused to dismiss manslaughter and weapons charges against four employees of the private security company Blackwater Worldwide. Supreme court justices declined to review a ruling by a US appeals court that reinstated the criminal charges against the guards for their involvement in the incident, in which 17 Iraqi civilians died and 20 were wounded. The so-called Nisour Square massacre was the single bloodiest incident involving American private security contractors during the Iraq conflict. It outraged Iraqis, put severe strain on relations between Baghdad and Washington, and served as a watershed moment in the debate surrounding private fighters in foreign war zones.
link to www.rawstory.com
Signs of hope in a former Baghdad killing field
For residents of Azamiyah, once one of Baghdad’s most violent neighborhoods, the opening of a department store selling party dresses, imported men’s suits and designer label perfumes is a sign that a better future could lie ahead.
link to news.yahoo.com


Israeli Army Moves along Eastern Sector of Lebanese Border
Zionist army intensified its movements pace Wednesday dawn and morning along the border of the eastern sector of Lebanon.
link to www.almanar.com.lb

Syria border clash kills one Lebanese
Syrian forces killed one Lebanese man and wounded two others on Wednesday as they were attempting to cross into Syria near the Lebanese border town of Arsal, security sources said. The incident occurred at dawn when the three men tried to enter Syria through the mountainous Kharbet Dawoud area, prompting Syrian border troops to fire, an Al-Akhbar correspondent said citing local security sources. Security sources cited by Reuters added that the men were smuggling arms into Syria.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Lebanese relatives identify Free Syrian Army kidnappers on TV
The wives and daughters of Lebanese Shia pilgrims kidnapped in northern Syria identified two of the kidnappers on Tuesday after seeing them in a television report about the Free Syrian Army on television. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corp reported that several women, part of a group of pilgrims kidnapped in Syria and released without their male relatives, contacted it after seeing their kidnappers faces on a Monday broadcast. The report featured men who identified themselves as members of the FSA. LBC said the women had claimed that “the men on the broadcast were the ones who kidnapped their men.” The women appeared on the channel Tuesday evening to confirm what they had said. One of them identified the gunmen from the previous night’s report, saying “this man went with us to the bus,” and pointing out another man who was “carrying rocket launchers on his shoulder and blocked the road” for the bus. ”They told us when we boarded the bus: ‘We are the Free (Syrian) Army. We do not want to hurt anyone. Some of our men are being held by the Syrian army and we want to exchange them for your men.’” The kidnappers released the women and elderly men and kept 11 men in their custody. The whereabouts and fate of those kidnapped is still unclear.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Lebanon’s Southern Border: Life is Not a Bed of Roses
In this past week, Israel managed to complete the construction of the separation wall between the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila and the Israeli settlement of Metula. The construction, which took a full month, erected a cement wall extending from the edge of Kfar Kila to the town of Adaisseh and the Khiam plain. Over a kilometer in length and between five and seven meters high, the wall is an casts an ominous shadow. The wall obscures the view of occupied Galilee and the Golan Heights, replacing the scenery with a grey facade. Since the work ended, a deadly silence fell over Fatima Gate, which had become a popular destination following the liberation of the South in 2000, when it was sealed after the last Israeli soldier left.
link to english.al-akhbar.com


Dozens killed in new Syria massacre
Updated 3:59pm: Reports are emerging of a new Syrian massacre committed on Tuesday in the farming area of Al-Kubeir, 20km from the central city of Hama. The death toll remains unclear, with various accounts being produced by separate organizations. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Al-Akhbar it has so far received the names of 49 individuals, including 18 women and children.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Syrian activist speaks about al-Qubayr massacre
Reports of another massacre in Syria where at least 86 people are said to have been killed in Hama. Al Jazeera speaks to Manhal Abu Bakar, an activist based in Hama.
link to www.youtube.com

Clashes kill 15 soldiers in western Syria
Clashes between troops and rebels in Syria’s western Latakia province killed 15 soldiers on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, bringing the day’s death toll to at least 25.
link to www.ynetnews.com
Mystery shrouds whereabouts of three female detainees in Syria
Reports of torture of three female Syrian activists arrested for protesting raised concerns across the country. Noran al-Ghamian, 20, her mother Lina Mahayni, 52, and Nagat Murshid, 57, were arrested on May 27 while taking part in a protest to condemn the al-Houla massacre.
link to english.alarabiya.net

Assad names loyalist as Syrian PM
Agriculture Minister Riad Hijab is named as new prime minister of Syria by President Bashar al-Assad.
link to www.bbc.co.uk

Qatar calls for speedy transfer of power in Syria
Qatar’s prime minister urged the international community Thursday to speed up its search for a solution bringing a “peaceful transfer of power” in Syria, as he met French President Francois Hollande. “We must speed up our search for a solution to maintain the country’s stability and equally there must be a plan for a peaceful transfer of power,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters after the talks in Paris.

link to english.al-akhbar.com

Gulf States and Turkey Going All-Out Against Syria
The Americans may feel they are losing ground in our region, but there is one area where they are not. Their plans were derailed by the failure of the invasion of Iraq, the weakening of Israel’s strategic position, and the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. But none of that prompted them to alter their policies, and now they are scoring successes. These relate to the fragmentation of Arab countries: From Somalia, reduced to a leftover of the worldwide war; to Sudan, dismembered and preoccupied with feeding its people; and also Iraq, mired in the agony of protracted war; disintegrating Libya; Tunisia, sunk in its own brand of Islamic rule, and the other disoriented Maghreb countries; Egypt, as it slowly swaps sides; Syria, engrossed in a major national crisis and facing a fierce colonial onslaught; Yemen, where terrifying splits loom; Jordan, primed to explode from poverty and identity issues; and Lebanon, which is poised for a fresh civil war.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Syrian expat businessmen offer $300 mn to rebels
A group of expat Syrian businessmen announced in Qatar on Wednesday the creation of a $300 million (239 million euro) fund to support the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.
link to news.yahoo.com

UN observer Robert Mood says foreign interests are fuelling conflict in Syria
Head of the UN Observer Mission in Syria Major General Robert Mood has said he believes foreign interests are fuelling the conflict in Syria by providing money and weapons.
link to www.rte.ie

Houla: Not a Game Changer, Amal Hanano
Confession: the images of the carnage in Houla did not move me like they seem to have moved the rest of the world. Yes, they were tragic, horrific acts of violence against the most innocent of victims. But they didn’t break anything inside of me that was not already broken, nor did they raise the level of outrage or sorrow I feel everyday over what is happening in Syria.
link to www.jadaliyya.com
Flight of Syrians into Jordan intensifying
UNHCR says Jordan now has more registered Syria refugees than Turkey as uprising against Assad shows no sign of ending.
link to www.aljazeera.com

JORDAN-SYRIA: Laila, “I had to be smuggled into Jordan”
AMMAN 06 June 2012 (IRIN) – Ten years ago Laila* got married to a man from her hometown of Dera’a in Syria, expecting a happy life. She never imagined that one day she would leave him behind fighting Syrian regime forces, and flee to Jordan with four children. Two months ago, Leila fled Dera’a, after the area became a war zone following a March 2011 uprising against the government of President Bashar Al Assad.
link to www.irinnews.org

Syria risks drawn-out civil war: experts
With the Annan peace plan at stalemate, a badly-fragmented opposition and fierce resistance from the regime, Syria risks descending into a long and bloody civil war, analysts say.
link to news.yahoo.com

In Syria, foreign intervention will only shed more blood, Seumas Milne
The US and its Gulf allies are already fuelling sectarian conflict in their proxy war with Iran. The fallout could be disastrous. As Syria descends deeper into civil war and human misery, pressure for yet another western military intervention in the Arab world is growing. Last week, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff,declared that the US might take the “military option” in Syria if it was “asked to do so”. Barack Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney is meanwhile demanding that the US government arm the Syrian opposition.
link to www.guardian.co.uk
Stay Out of Syria, Joshua Landis

Let’s be clear: Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria. The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition. They have sanctioned Syria to a fare-thee-well and are busy shoveling money and helping arms supplied by the Gulf get to the rebels. This will change the balance of power in favor of the revolution. It is also the most the United States can and should do.
link to www.joshualandis.com

Sectarian Divide Takes Alarming Turn, Ramzy Baroud
The conflict in Syria is giving way to a troubling phenomenon of hastily drawn sectarian lines throughout the Middle East. A perpetual and repugnant war is likely to replace the collective aspirations for equality, freedom and democracy that fuelled the non-violent uprising nearly 15 months ago. Between May 25 and 26, 108 civilians were remorselessly butchered in the central town of Al Houla. The majority of them were women and children. The massacre was not the first, and is unlikely to be the last in what has become a Syrian bloodbath with no end in sight. The nature of the dreaded battle is already being defined in sectarian terms. Even carefully-worded statements by UN chief Ban Ki-moon have acknowledged the worrying situation. “The massacres of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war, a civil war from which the country would never recover,” he warned at a forum in Istanbul.
link to palestinechronicle.com

Other World News
Muslims sue New York police over New Jersey mosque spying
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Muslim-Americans in New Jersey said they filed a lawsuit on Wednesday demanding the New York Police Department stop its surveillance of mosques, businesses, college campuses and other gathering spots as part of its anti-terrorism campaign. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, on behalf of several Muslim organizations, private businesses and individuals, said Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights group.
link to news.yahoo.com

Women and children among 15 Afghans killed by NATO airstrike
At least 15 civilians, including women and children, were killed in a NATO airstrike on a home in Afghanistan’s Logar province south of Kabul, Afghan officials said on Wednesday. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said “multiple insurgents” were killed in the airstrike, which was ordered after troops came under fire. But deputy provincial police chief Rais Khan Sadeq Abdulrahimzai told AFP: “18 civilians including women and children are dead,” adding that seven Taliban insurgents were also killed.
link to english.al-akhbar.com
Afghan civilian deaths allegedly came amid night raid
Coalition forces were fired on by suspected Taliban commanders meeting with a tribal elder on Tuesday night, so they called in an airstrike, the provincial council leader said. Later on Wednesday, two suicide bombers killed 22 people in a market in Kandahar, apparently targeting fuel trucks supplying NATO forces.
link to www.youtube.com

Six anti-government fighters killed in Algeria
Algerian security forces have killed six Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in Kabylie, including three in the region’s main town of Tizi Ouzou, newspapers reported on Wednesday. ”One terrorist had walked into a chemist to buy medicine after stepping out of a car holding a prescription. When he walked back out, he was sprayed with bullets,” a witness told the El Watan paper. The unidentified Islamist suspect’s killing on Tuesday sparked a gunfight in Tizi Ouzou that also left two of his accomplices dead, the paper said, quoting security sources.
link to english.al-akhbar.com
Bomb targets U.S. embassy offices in Libya’s Benghazi
U.S. embassy offices in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi came under attack during the night but there were no casualties, embassy and security sources said on Wednesday.
link to english.alarabiya.net

Saudi human rights lawyer charged
Saudi prosecutors have charged a lawyer with “tarnishing” the image of the kingdom and contempt of the judiciary in what the lawyer said on Wednesday was an attempt to keep him from pursuing his work on human rights cases. If convicted, Waleed Abu al-Khair, who was barred in March from traveling abroad for security reasons, could face a fine or a prison sentence, he said, depending on the judge who has the right to determine the punishment under Saudi laws. Rulings in Saudi Arabia are not based on precedent and, even with the same charge, they can differ from one judge to another.
link to english.al-akhbar.com

Tunisian blogger on hunger strike to ‘defend press freedom’
TUNIS — A Tunisian journalist said Tuesday he launched a hunger strike on May 28 to defend press freedom after military police seized the cameras he used to film the trial of ousted leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Ramzi Bettaieb, who works for Nawaat, a collective blog, said his cameras were confiscated on May 21 when he filmed the trial of Ben Ali and 22 co-accused in the northwestern town of Kef over their role in crushing anti-regime protests. “I am on a hunger strike to defend press freedom, our sole gain in the revolution,” the 36-year-old told AFP. Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia after being toppled in a popular uprising last year that sparked the Arab Spring revolts, is being tried in absentia. His co-accused are ex-senior officials being prosecuted for the deaths of at least 22 people during the January 2011 pro-democracy protests in the towns of Thala and Kasserine. Many of the victims died when security forces fired live rounds.
link to www.rawstory.com
Blacklisted from the skies
We speak with one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit filed against the US government for its secretive No Fly List.
link to www.youtube.com