Tunisian Islamist leader condemns anti-Semitic slogans

Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip but maintains a crippling blockade and Ismail Haniya, whose Islamist Hamas has a similar ideological background to Ennahda’s, was given a warm welcome when he arrived in Tunis on January 5.

The top leader of Tunisia’s governing Islamist party on Tuesday condemned anti-Semitic slogans heard in a crowd that welcomed Ismail Haniya, prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, last week.

Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda party that won the most seats in Tunisia’s landmark post-revolution polls in October, issued a statement a day after Haniya’s visit ended.

“Ennahda condemns these slogans which contradict the spirit of Islam and considers that they were uttered by a fringe group aiming to undermine Ennahda’s activities and tarnish its image,” the statement said.

Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip but maintains a crippling blockade and Haniya, whose Islamist Hamas has a similar ideological background to Ennahda’s, was given a warm welcome when he arrived in Tunis on January 5.

Among the crowd of around 2,000 gathered at the airport, some were chanting slogans like: “Kill the Jews, it is our duty”.

Haniya fired up the crowd with anti-Israeli rhetoric but then told AFP he was not against Jews in general, only “those who occupy the land of Palestine”.

Jewish leaders in Tunisia expressed shock at the slogans and urged the government to ensure such incidents are not repeated.

Tunisia is home to a Jewish minority of about 1,500 and Ennahda, whose rise to power following the downfall a year ago of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali unnerved Western powers, has been keen to reassure the community.

“For centuries, Jewish citizens have lived in peace in their country Tunisia, with the same rights and duties as their fellow countrymen,” Ghannouchi said in the statement.

The Islamist leader accused “lobbies in Europe of trying to sully Tunisia’s image and the revolution’s achievements”.

(english.alarabiya.net / 10.01.2012)

Sabbath-observant Jew named Obama’s new White House chief of staff

Jacob Lew, who last served as budget director, to replace William Daley.

WASHINGTON – A Sabbath-observant Jew was named on Monday as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, one of the most pivotal jobs in U.S. politics.

Jacob (Jack) Lew, who last served as the White House budget director, will be replacing William Daley, who resigned just one year into the job. The change will take effect at the end of the month.

Daley’s predecessor was another prominent Jewish political figure, Rahm Emanuel, who is now mayor of Chicago.

Over the past three years, Lew, whose son studied in a yeshiva in Israel, has developed a close working relationship with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, and has met several times with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

Lew, who served as budget director under President Bill Clinton and was a deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before going back to the budget job under Obama, has strong relationships with lawmakers. He was instrumental in negotiating the debt ceiling talks with Republicans last summer.

In November Daley handed over day-to-day White House management duties to another Obama aide, Pete Rouse, setting the stage for his resignation two months later.

Yet Daley was not expected to leave the job and return to Chicago, where his family has long held a political dynasty, until after the November presidential election.

Daley had been hinting at his intentions to resign for more than two months, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. But Obama’s aides said Daley’s resignation came as a surprise to the president, who urged him to reconsider. Daley said he plans on assisting Obama in the election campaign.

A former businessman and U.S. commerce secretary, Daley took over as Obama’s top aide last year with a mandate to improve relations with the corporate community and streamline White House operations. Relations with business remained rocky, however, and lawmakers complained that his outreach to Capitol Hill was minimal.

Obama chose Daley to be his White House chief of staff in January 2011, but the former banker and veteran political fighter Daley has had a somewhat rocky tenure.

At the least, the job has not seemed like the best fit.

Daley served as commerce secretary under Bill Clinton and ran Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. He is the brother of recently retired Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and the youngest son of legendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

(www.haaretz.com / 10.01.2012)

News from Syria 10.01.2012

#Damascus Midan A night demo went out in Nahr Aisha chanting and was faced by live ammunition and teargas grenades

#Damascus Noise campaign started in Basateen area in Mazzeh

Captain Muhannad Al-Abdullah with a group of soldiers defect and join Free Syria Army

#DeirEzzor Heavy gunfire in the region of Hamidiya and clashes continue in most regions of the city

#Idlib An aircraft flying over the Military Security area near Areha

#Hama Intensive shooting was heard in Masha’ south of playground

#Idlib: Saraqeb: The military shot three artillery shells on a sit-in for the fourth time, resulting in injuries. The sit-in continues.

Assad giving a speech with his hands stained with the blood of the Syrian people


Pro-Assad on opposing views is being uncivil by not letting the other guy speak. Act like an adult for fucks sake.

Barzah | #Damascus | Amazing night protests “Freedom forever”

#Daraa | Night freedom protests in Naseib

#Daraa Busr Al Harir sec forces ordered their elements on the checkpoints to arrest anyone who didn’t pay the electricity bill

#DeirEzzor A huge explosion was heard and intensive shooting afterward in Al-Harakeh area near Al-Noor hospital

#Homs death of Mahmoud Hussein Kheiro by his injuries which he got by sec forces shooting at a demo this afternoon

Kuwait funds three water projects in Palestinian Khan Yunis

GAZA, Jan 10 (KUNA) — Khan Yunis Municipality announed Tuesday the completion of several important projects, funded by donors, including Kuwait, related to improving water services in the city, aiming to improve the quantity and quality of water.
Director of water and sanitation in Khan Yunis Eng. Yousef Al-Haj Yousef affirmed the importance of such projects.
These projects included the drilling and the establishment of “Kuwait Waters” well at a cost of USD 80,000, as well as the construction of two desalination plants in the eastern region and Al-Amal town at a cost of USD 50, 000 funded by Mercy (Al-Rahma) Kuwait International Charity.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 10.01.2012)

Israeli media: Iran to test one-kiloton nuclear device in 2012

PanARMENIAN.Net – Tehran is preparing an underground test of a one-kiloton nuclear device during 2012, much like the test carried out by North Korea in 2006. Underground facilities are under construction in great secrecy behind the noise and fury raised by the start of advanced uranium enrichment at Iran’s fortified, subterranean Fordo site near Qom.

According to a scenario prepared by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University, Israel was resigned to a nuclear Iran and the US would offer Israel a defense pact while urging Israel not to retaliate.

As quoted by the London Times Monday, Jan 1, INSS experts, neither the US nor Israel will use force to stop Iran’s first nuclear test which they predicted would take place in January 2013, DEBKA Israeli news agency reported.

(www.panarmenian.net / 10.01.2012)

Medics: Toddler hit by settler car

HEBRON (Ma’an) — A Palestinian toddler was injured Tuesday after she was hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler east of Hebron, medics said.

Three-year-old Sarah Jabari was taken to the Ahli Hospital in Hebron, Red Crescent medic Nasser Qabajeh told Ma’an.

She was hit on a road near Kiryat Arba settlement, he added.

(www.maannews.net / 10.01.2012)

Israeli tanks advance 300 meters north Gaza

Israeli tanks advance 300 meters north Gaza

Gaza- Israeli occupation forces supported with military vehicles have advanced  300 meters into  north Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning.

Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli occupation forces have invaded the area under heavy gunfire at Palestinian homes and farms.

Forces accompanied bulldozers around 300 meters inside the border near Jabalia to raze lands in the area, Al Qassam correspondent reported. No casualties were reported.

Heavy gunfire was also heard in the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, with locals saying Palestinian militants exchanged fire with an Israeli military post near the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Palestinian resistance factions clashed  with the invading forces, launched number of mortars, al Qassam correspondent said.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 10.01.2012)

Torpedoing the Two State Solution: Summary of 2011 in the Settlements

Torpedoing the Two State Solution – The Strategy of the Netanyahu Government

Summary of 2011 in the Settlements, January 2012


Including: Israeli Government recognizes 11 new settlements by legalizing outposts

Main Findings

20% rise in construction starts in the settlements – at least 1,850 building starts for housing units, 35% of them (650 units) in isolated settlements east of the planned route of the Separation Barrier.

At least 3,500 units were under construction during 2011 (started to be built or continued construction from previous years).

Construction Starts in Settlements (East Jerusalem excluded)

In 142 settlements and outposts there was construction starts – including:

Carmei Zur – 56 units

Kedumim – 51 units

Oranit – 161 units

Givat Ze’ev – 80 units

Modi’in Illit – 146 units

Beitar Illit – 106 units

* The construction data is based on Peace Now’s count (aerial surveys and field visits) from Jan-Sep 2011.

1,577 units in settlements were published as tenders (and another 2,057 units in East Jerusalem) – as part of the Ministry of Housing’s official list of upcoming tenders. Among others: 317 units in Efrat, 277 in Ariel, 642 units in Beitar Illit and 42 in Karnei Shomron, more details here.

Tenders in Settlements (not including East Jerusalem)

Recognizing 11 new settlements by legalizing outposts – During 2011 the State informed the court of its intention to officially establish 11 new settlements by legalizing illegal outposts which are home to some 2,300 settlers in 680 structures. At the same time the State informed the court of additional delays of the evacuation of three outposts on private Palestinian land. See below the list of outposts in court hearings.
In addition, the State announced the promotion of plans to legalize hundreds of units of illegal construction in the settlements (119 housing units in Shilo, 86 housing units in Kiryat Netafim, 27 units in Halamish and additional hundreds in Nofim, Hemdat, Rotem and Sansana.)

The highest number in a decade of plans in East Jerusalem and the establishment of new neighborhoods – plans for 3,690 housing units were approved for validation and plans for another 2,660 housing units were deposited for objections. Among the plans that got the final validation are the new neighborhoods of Har Homa C with 983 units and Givat Hamatos (stage 1) with over 2,000 units.
In addition, at least 823 construction permits were issued by the Jerusalem Municipality. After a permit is issued the contractor can start to build, and the number of permits can be a good indication for the number of actual construction starts.


Construction of 55 new settlement units in three new complexes at the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem – In 2011 the settlements at the heart of the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem reached a new level with the beginning of the construction of new housing complexes for 55 families. 18 units in A-Suwane, 20 units in Sheikh Jarrah (the Sheperd Hotel) and 17 units in Ras El-Amud (the old police station).
Furthermore, in 2011 the construction of stage 2 of the Maale Zeitim project in Ras al-Amud was completed with 60 housing units, some of which have already been populated.


Promotion of Plans in East Jerusalem



                        Construction next to Beit Orot in a-Sawana                                   Demolition of Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah

Torpedoing the Two State Solution – The Strategy of the Netanyahu Government

The Netanyahu government is promoting several plans precisely in disputed areas which could prevent the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The formal negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as informal negotiations such as the Geneva initiative, have revealed the critical disputed areas that are threatening the viability of the Palestinian state, and in which the construction of settlements could prevent the chance for an agreement:

a. The E1 area – the area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim is critical for creating territorial contiguity of a Palestinian state from south to north and for the connection of East Jerusalem with the rest of the Palestinian state. It was recently reported that the Netanyahu government is promoting the realization of the plan to build thousands of housing units in E1 by evicting the Bedouins from the area and completing a system of roads.

b. The settlement of Efrat is adjacent to Bethlehem in the south, and is located east of the main highway (60) connecting the southern West Bank with Bethlehem. The future annexation of Efrat to Israel would sever the southern West Bank from Bethlehem. The Netanyahu government began working in recent months to advance plans that were halted for years. On December 8, 2011 a tender was issued for the construction of 40 new housing units in the Givat Hadagan neighborhood about 1 km north of the built-up area of Efrat. Another tender for additional 213 units in Givat Hazayit in Efrat was issued on December 29th. Likewise, the government intends to approve the construction of a new outpost northeast of Efrat at Givat Eitam, which would mean the beginning a new settlement. See more here.

c. The settlement of Ariel – the settlement of Ariel is 20 km from the Green Line and creates a barrier in the middle of the West Bank. CBS Figures show that in the last decade the number of people leaving Ariel was greater than the number coming to live in it and its current number of residents is less than 18,000. Nonetheless, on December 8, 2011 the government issued a tender for 277 new housing units in Ariel.

d. Givat Hamatos – during 2011 the Netanyahu government accelerated the planning of a new neighborhood in East Jerusalem meant to undermine proposals for a compromise in Jerusalem such as the Geneva Initiative and complete the barrier between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem.
In August 2011, Stage 1 of the plan (2,337 housing units) was validated and in October a detailed plan meant to allow the realization of Stage 1 and its expansion to 2,600 housing units was deposited. Objections to Stage 2 and 3 plans for 1,362 additional housing units are scheduled to be heard soon. See more here.

Meanwhile, the Har Homa C plan for 983 new housing units southeast of the disputed Har Homa neighborhood was validated. According to the housing ministry’s list of tenders, the plan is ready for immediate execution and tenders for its construction will be published shortly.

Appendix: List of Outposts in Court:




No. of mobile homes

No. of permanent homes


State response

Haresha HCJ 9051/05




Intention to legalize

Hayovel HCJ  9051/05




Intention to legalize
Sansana HCJ  3091/11




Intention to legalize
Shvut Rachel HCJ 1813/11




Intention to legalize
Rechelim HCJ  2295/09




Intention to legalize




Intention to legalize
Ma’ale Rehav’am HCJ  7891/07



Intention to legalize
Mitzpe Lachish HCJ  7891/07



Intention to legalize
Ramat Gilad HCJ  7891/07



Agreement with the settlers to move several mobile homes off private land in exchange for legalizing the outpost
Haro’e HCJ   7891/07



Intention to legalize
Mitzpe Yitzhar HCJ  7891/07



Two buildings that were on private land were demolished, implying that the other five buildings are slated to be legalized
Derech Ha’avot HCJ  8255/08




Intention to legalize
Givat Habrecha HCJ  8171/09



Jabel Artis HCJ  9080/08




Evacuation delayed to end of 2012
Amona HCJ  9949/08



Evacuation delayed to end of 2012
Givat Asaf HCJ   7891/07



Evacuation delayed until July 1, 2012
Migron HCJ  8887/06




Verdict given: evacuation by March 31, 2012



(peacenow.org.il / 10.01.2012)

Drivers protest Israeli-only roads in West Bank

A protester sits next to Israeli soldiers and border police officers as they block the way outside Jericho Jan. 10.

JERICHO (Ma’an) — Around 60 people from across the West Bank on Tuesday tried to drive from Jericho to Ramallah on an Israeli-only road to protest Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian movement.

Popular resistance committees organized the motorcade of around 50 cars to protest the network of roads in the West Bank designated for the exclusive use of Jewish settlers.

Committee spokesman Bashir Tamimi told Ma’an the protest aimed to send a message that the roads were built on Palestinian land and to protest settler attacks on Palestinians and holy places.

Protesters drove to the Jericho checkpoint with Palestinian flags on their cars, where they were met by dozens of Israeli soldiers who refused to let them pass.

Tamimi said forces detained five people, including a 15-year-old girl.

An Israeli military spokesman said the protesters were “behaving violently.” Asked to elaborate, the army official said they were “acting in a manner that they needed to be detained.”

Video footage taken by activists shows two people detained for peacefully protesting, and an Israeli soldier trying to confiscate a journalist’s camera (see on the site of Maan News Agency)

Around 43 percent of the West Bank is off-limits to Palestinians because Israel has allocated it to settlers. Israel has erected over 500 checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank, impeding Palestinians’ movement in order to ease travel for settlers, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.

In 2011, five Palestinians were killed — including two children — and 1,000 injured by settlers or security forces in incidents related to the settlements, the UN agency said in a report released Tuesday.

Settlements are illegal under international law.

(www.maannews.net / 10.01.2012)

Ashrawi: We Will Not Return to Table, Unless Israel Halts Settlements

RAMALLAH, January 10, 2012 (WAFA) – PLO Executive Committee member and Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, Tuesday stressed to Quartet representative, Tony Blair, that unless Israel refrains from all illegal settlement activities and commits to 1967 borders, the Palestinian people will not return to negotiations, said a statement released by her office.

During Ashrawi’s meeting with Blair, she emphasized that the failure to hold Israel accountable is thwarting the possibility of any future Palestinian state.

“With its stepped-up illegal settlement campaign and continued efforts to create facts on the ground, Israel is undermining any and all efforts to stimulate peace,” she said.

Ashrawi called on the Quartet to hold Israel accountable, demand that it cease and desist all settlement activities and support the Palestinian peaceful diplomatic efforts to achieve a viable, independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital

“The Quartet must learn from the mistakes of the past and change its current course of action before it is too late.  Such efforts must include terms of reference, legality and unyielding objectives,” said Ashrawi.

(english.wafa.ps /10.01.2012)