Israhell – Teenage Palestinian killed by IDF


GAZA CITY – A Palestinian teenager was killed and several others were wounded Tuesday as Israeli troops fired on protesters near the Gaza border while Israeli Arabs and Palestinians marked “Land Day.”

The violence along the tense Gaza border came as events were held across Israel and the occupied territories in an annual commemoration of Israel’s killing of six Arab citizens during a 1976 protest against land confiscations.

A 15-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed al-Faramawi, was shot dead east of the southern Gaza town of Rafah near the heavily guarded border shortly before dozens of demonstrators marched to the site.

Gaza medics and witnesses said he was killed by Israeli forces, charges denied by the Israeli military, which said it had fired warning shots at those approaching the border but had not hit anyone.

“Following an examination of the Gaza division, we are not familiar with any incident of a Palestinian being hit by IDF (Israeli military) fire,” a spokesman said.

In a similar incident east of the town of Khan Yunis, hundreds of demonstrators marched to the border and hurled rocks at Israeli troops, who responded with live fire, witnesses said.

The demonstration took place near the site of fierce clashes last weekend that killed two Israeli soldiers and two Palestinians and shook the relative quiet along the border since the 2008-2009 Gaza war.

Gaza emergency services chief Muawiya Hassanein said children were among the 10 people who were wounded. One of them, nine-year-old Raid Abu Namus, was in serious condition, medics at a nearby hospital said.

Another Palestinian, 14, was shot in a similar incident near the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, according to Hassanein.

The army said troops opened fire because these border areas were no-go zones for Palestinians.

“The area near the fence is a war zone repeatedly used by Palestinians to plant explosives, dig tunnels and kidnap soldiers,” an army spokesman said, adding soldiers had acted “in accordance with procedure.”

The borders of the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza have been mostly quiet since a 22-day Israeli assault on the territory launched in December 2008 that killed some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

The offensive largely succeeded in halting years of near-daily rocket attacks on southern Israel, but recent weeks have seen a rise in such attacks, and a Thai labourer in Israel was killed earlier this month.

Israel’s Arab minority leads Land Day demonstrations every year to protest against discrimination and assert its solidarity with the Palestinians. Similar events are held in the occupied West Bank as well as Gaza.

In Israel, thousands of people gathered in the mostly Arab northern town of Sakhnin where they waved Palestinian flags.

Some demonstrators carried the green banners of the Israeli Arab Islamic movement, as well as portraits of senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

“Land Day has become for us a day to assert our existence and our belonging,” said Mohammed Barakeh, an Arab MP serving in Israel’s parliament.

“It’s a day to embrace our memory of Palestine and our belonging to it, our homes and schools and playgrounds which have faced a campaign of concealment. It’s a day to embrace our future,” he told AFP.

Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel after the Middle East war that broke out after the Jewish state’s creation in 1948.

They can vote, and their standard of living is far higher than that of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, but they say they are still treated as second-class citizens.

In February 2006, the Supreme Court recognized Israeli Arabs faced discrimination.

In the occupied West Bank the Palestinian Authority planted olive trees in honour of the event, and Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad took part in a Land Day protest near the town of Salfit.



Iraq – Life was better for LGBTs


LONDON — It often shocks people to hear this but talk to Iraqi gays who’ve made it out and they’ll tell you – Life was better under Saddam.

Baghdad played the role that Beirut does now as a sanctuary for Middle Eastern gay life with clubs which men from the Gulf and Saudi Arabia flocked to.

In sharp contrast, for the past six years Iraq has been the worst place in the entire world to be gay. Far, far worse than Uganda or even Iran. Hundreds of gays, lesbians and transgender people have been hunted down and killed in the most vile ways imaginable – and imagination is the right word. Doctors have confirmed reports of men have had their anuses glued shut by militia forces and others have accused the government of being involved.

No one has been prosecuted and the Iraqi government has failed to do anything to stop it. So Iraqi gays have helped themselves. They have created safe houses, although many have been discovered and become a new killing field.

Many have fled but they have faced a cold wall of indifference and they have needed friends and luck to actually make it to sanctuary.

Did you hear that? Coalition militias have glued anuses shut and blamed it on the Iraqi goverment. Just terrifying.

I hope Bush and B Lair is proud of themselves.

Israhell – Netanyahu calls Obama a disaster. In reality, he’s a hero.


JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected a description of U.S. President Barack Obama as Israel’s “greatest disaster” — a phrase a best-selling newspaper attributed to an anonymous confidant of Israel’s leader.

Besides defending Obama, Netanyahu tried to play down tension with Washington over Israeli settlement policy on occupied land in and near Jerusalem, telling his cabinet that Israel and the United States were “allies and friends.”

David Axelrod, a senior Obama adviser, also tried to smooth over the friction, citing a “deep, abiding interest” in Israel’s security and denying the president had intended to slight Netanyahu at low-profile White House talks on Tuesday.

There was no sign of a quick resolution of the settlement dispute with Washington that flared when Israel announced plans during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden three weeks ago to build 1,600 homes for Jews in East Jerusalem.

The United States is seeking unspecified goodwill gestures from Israel toward the Palestinians, who have refused to return to peace talks so long as settlement housing construction continues in occupied territory they want for a future state.

“We’ve got a real problem. You could say that Obama is the greatest disaster for Israel — a strategic disaster,” the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot quoted an unidentified Netanyahu confidant as saying.

Yes! Go Obama. Netanyahu is butthurt as hell. Make him cry in his bed, which probably has the mattress made out of Palestinians blood. Together the country can wake up and stop being such a dick.

Israhell – Deadly fighting kills Palestinian


GAZA – Israeli troops and tanks left the Gaza Strip on Saturday, witnesses said, ending an incursion into the Hamas-ruled enclave made after the bloodiest clash in 14 months killed two soldiers and at least one Palestinian.

The violence underscored deadlock in U.S.-mediated talks between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose peace strategy has been sapped by Hamas hostility along with continued Israeli settlement construction on occupied land.

Resisting U.S. pressure in what analysts called a bruising encounter with President Barack Obama in Washington this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not stop building in West Bank areas it annexed to East Jerusalem.

Yeah, true, two IDF soldiers were killed too. But they’re IDF soldiers. Anyway, I bet Israel would cast another OCL just as a comeback to the incident.

Palestine – 12 Billion Dollars Disappeared


Vienna – 25 March 2010 – During the noon session of the UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People on 25 March, I had the opportunity to speak Dr. Ghania Malhis, chairwoman of the board of trustees at the Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute in Ramallah and one of the speakers at the event.

After a personal conversation, she agreed to let me publish her speech, in which she concludes that, despite the considerable economic help from various institutions of the international community and NGOs – about 20 billion US Dollars over the last 15 years – in her own words “it has been almost impossible to trace any positive impact of these mobilized resources on the ground” and “the GDP of 2009 is 13% lower than the GDP of 1999, and the GDP per capita is 30% lower for the same years”.

Lovin’ Palestine Think Tank. Good new source. Anyway, it’s obviously Israeli occupation, especially when you compare the DGP from pre 1964. Or pre 1948, for that case.

Israhell – Netanyahu hopes talks go well


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says progress has been made on the row over Jerusalem settlements after talks in Washington.

He boarded his plane back to Israel talking of a “golden way” to revive Mid-East peace talks.

But Israeli President Shimon Peres said Mr Netanyahu “apparently… did not reach an understanding with the US”.

Silence from US officials on last-minute talks has been widely seen as a sign that major differences remain.

The row over Israel’s plans for homes in occupied East Jerusalem has caused one of the worst crises in US-Israeli ties for decades.

Good luck, Netanyahu. You can just solve this quicker by just giving the damn land, but whatever.

Merika – Differences still remain


Differences remain between Israel and the US, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, the White House has said.

President Obama urged the Israeli PM to take steps to build confidence in the peace process, during “honest” talks on Tuesday, said spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Mr Gibbs also said the US was seeking “clarification” of the latest plans to build homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Mr Netanyahu’s trip came amid the worst crisis in US-Israeli ties for decades.

The Israeli prime minister delayed his departure from Washington on Wednesday to meet the US Middle East peace envoy, George Mitchell.

The spat flared two weeks ago when, during a visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden, Israel unveiled plans to build 1,600 homes in part of East Jerusalem, which Washington branded an insult.