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URUK Net 24 December, 2009

Last updated: Friday, December 25, 2009 8:55

Video: Christmas under siege in Bethlehem
Aljazeera.English
December 24, 2009 – As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, owners of tourism shops in Bethlehem aren’t seeing the booming business they’d expect this time of year. Nour Odeh reports on how Israel’s illegal occupation may be keeping the West Bank’s tourism industry from thriving…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61396

US ground attacks reported in Pakistan
By Bill Van Auken
December 24, 2009 – Amid a deepening political crisis in Pakistan and growing popular unrest over US missile strikes and mercenaries, it has been revealed that over the past five years US special operations troops have conducted a number of clandestine cross-border raids into the country’s tribal areas. These raids involved “helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night, and were never declared to the Pakistani government,” according to a “former NATO officer” cited in an article published Monday by the British daily Guardian…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61401

PCHR Release New Report:
23 Days of War, 928 Days of Closure: Life One Year after Israel’s Latest Offensive on the Gaza Strip, 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009 (Full Text)
PCHR – Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
December 24, 2009 – The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) have released this report in order to highlight the reality of life in the occupied Gaza Strip, and to illustrate the dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation brought about by 928 days of continuous illegal closure,1 as well as numerous offensives, incursions, and attacks. Over the course of 42 years of occupation, Israeli occupation forces have consistently violated international law. These violations have been well documented and reported, yet despite a significant level of media and political attention, the international community has continued to grant Israel impunity, a fact recently illustrated by the international reaction to the publication of the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the ?Goldstone Report?). This impunity, which has been a consistent feature of the occupation, has resulted in continuous and escalating violations of international law, and the denial and violation of Palestinian civilians fundamental human rights. This reality was graphically underlined by Israel?s 23-day assault on the Gaza Strip – codenamed Operation Cast Lead – which lasted from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61402

Gaza: enduring normality
Eva Barlett, In Gaza
December 24, 2009 – Walking back from the Samouni neighbourhood in Zeitoun, eastern Gaza, a donkey and cart passed, bells jingling. Everything is normal. Except today the bells reminded me Christmas is tomorrow, and today the visit to Zeitoun was about remembering the Israeli massacre of Gaza last winter. Still, everything was normal, perfectly normal. Amal, the 10 year old with bits of shrapnel in her head, was astute and clever as the last time I’d seen her. She remembered my name, though I’d only briefly chatted with her once, on one visit. She has dealt with the hoards of journalists coming to hear and re-tell their story, the story of her area, the story of her killed aunts, uncles, cousins…The story of her dead father and 4 year old brother, shot point blank by the Israeli soldiers occupying the area. And for her it has become normal, reciting with impressive clarity, the events of those hellish days…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61411

Settlers attempt to destroy Christmas tree following Palestinian celebration in Sheikh Jarrah
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
December 24, 2009 – On Wednesday 23 December at 11.30pm, as every other night, settlers began to circulate in the street between the occupied Gawi house and the half-occupied al-Kurd house in Sheikh Jarrah. After about an hour of general harassment of the Palestinian families living in the neighbourhood since 1956, the settlers increased their aggression and started throwing fruit at the people who sat in front of the Kurd family house to protect it from further invasions. Two settlers started making graffiti and sprayed over Palestinian flags painted on the wall of the al-Kurd backyard, while the rest pushed and cursed the Palestinians and internationals, who verbally tried to make them stop. A solidarity activist filming the episode was spray-painted in the face numerous times. Three border policemen stood next by and watched without interfering for the whole duration of the attack…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61416

Security measures have failed to prevent violence
Iraq Christians mark Christmas under threat
AFP
December 24, 2009 – Iraq’s dwindling Christian population has little to celebrate this Christmas after a spate of attacks against their community including on Thursday killed several and put the army on alert. In the main northern city of Mosul, where the Christian minority has long been concentrated, churches have been bombed, Christians gunned down and the community is fearful. The latest victim was a Christian minibus driver who was killed Thursday in east Mosul by unknown gunmen, police said. It was the seventh attack targeting Christians in the city in the past month…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61399

Relax, Holy Father. Viva Palestina and George Galloway are doing the job for you.
Stuart Littlewood
December 24, 2009 – Dignitaries, emissaries, human rights delegations, fact-finding trippers… they come and go, but Gaza’s suffering continues and day by day gets worse, thanks to the corrupted leadership of the international community who are the scandal of our age. But here’s a spot of Christmas cheer for the starving, desolated Palestinians imprisoned in the tiny coastal enclave. Sometime in February they are likely to get a visit from none other than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. At least, that’s what his office at Lambeth Palace says. Yes, archbishops in England live in palaces and hang out in the House of Lords…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61394

Welcome to Pashtunistan: the aim of America’s secret war?
Shaukat Qadir
December 24, 2009 – Few people by now can be unaware of Blackwater, later known as Blackwater Worldwide and now as Xe. The private security agency formed in 1997 and based in North Carolina is owned by Erik Prince, a former member of the US Navy Seal special forces, and has long-standing links with both the CIA and the FBI. Its presence in Pakistan has been an open secret for some years. The investigative journalist and writer Jeremy Scahill, an authority on Blackwater and author of the bestselling Blackwater: the Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, revealed last month that it has been there since 2006…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61409

Obama pay czar OKs $4 million raise for AIG executive
By Barry Grey
December 24, 2009 – As Wall Street prepares to announce some $30 billion in year-end bonuses—a near-record—it has been handed an additional bit of Christmas cheer from Kenneth Feinberg, the “special master for compensation” appointed by the Obama administration ostensibly to rein in bankers’ pay. On Monday, Feinberg sent a letter to Robert Benmosche, the CEO of insurance giant American International Group (AIG), informing Benmosche that he had approved his request for a raise in compensation of more than $4 million for one of the firm’s top executives. Feinberg agreed that the executive should be given, over and above his base salary of $450,000, stock options with a current value of $3.26 million plus an additional annual incentive award of up to $1 million. In all, the executive will receive $4.71 million this year…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61412

REPORT~OBAMA GIVES MORE TO ISRAEL THAN BUSH
Irish4Palestine
December 24, 2009 – Newsflash, well, for some of us anyway. Now to all you “hope and change” believers will ye wake up please? According to Israel, Obama beats Bush at cooperating with Israel. And Israel says it’s true. Your “hope and change man of peace” who won the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing treats Israel better than Bush did. It’s all been just “more pretty O- words” about making peace, about a free and just Palestinian state, about pushing Israel back to 67 borders, about removing illegal settlers, all words, no action. Why? Because all the “actions” are going on behind the scenes…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61413

Interview with Jamal Juma’, Stop the Wall campaign leader arrested by Israel December 15
By Ellen Cantarow
December 24, 2009 – .. The nonviolent movement also engages in low-profile but equally urgent efforts at land-reclamation (clearing the land of stones, planting, re-planting after settler and Israeli army destruction). (See here.) Many Palestinian activists carry the movement forward, but several people stand out for their “high-profile” leadership. One is 47-year-old Jamal Juma’, the coordinator of the Palestinian-led Stop the Wall campaign which since 2002 has been the impetus for the village demonstrations and land reclamation efforts, as well as for other nonviolent activities. On December 15 Israeli authorities arrested him, placing him under administrative detention without charge (a common Israeli practice), forbidding him access to lawyers or to his family (he is married with three young children). The latest news at 4 AM Thursday December 24: Juma, already under heavy interrogation according to Israeli civil court rules, is now to be interrogated under the military court system. Such a decision almost always extends the interrogation period to the maximum, and allows “the utmost flexibility for Israeli Security officers…in the conduct of the interrogation and reduce[s] legal safeguards to the absolute minimum.” Juma has never been charged with any offenses before…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61408

Siege on Gaza makes swine flu difficult to control
Palestinenote
December 24, 2009 – The closure of the Gaza Strip is tight enough to make life difficult for residents, but fences and checkpoints don’t prevent viruses from passing through, as became apparent earlier this month. Despite predictions that the closure of Gaza might protect it from exposure to the Swine Flu, the virus was identified in the Gaza Strip two weeks ago, and already some 185 people have been diagnosed as infected, 13 of whom have died. Not only has the closure of Gaza failed to protect it from the virus, but the restrictions on the passage of equipment and fuel are making it difficult to contain the virus’s spread…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61407

For Christmas, Iraqi Chaldeans in Jordan pray for small miracles
By Taylor Luck
December 24, 2009 – Despite plates of freshly baked klecha cookies, traditional hymns and festive decorations, this Christmas is far from home for thousands of Chaldean Christians…This winter has seen renewed charity drives to collect blankets for community members in need, particularly members of a “new wave” of Chaldean Iraqis fleeing their country, he said, noting that with three church bombings last month, new families are taking up residence in the Kingdom. While Christians around the world gather with their families today, Massoulli said displaced Chaldeans, marking another year of waiting, are united in one wish. “We pray for God to find us a way home,” he said…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61405

Scores killed in Iraq blasts
Aljazeera.net
December 24, 2009 – Three bomb blasts in Iraq have killed more than 30 people and injured 75 others. Officials said that a double explosion struck near a bus station in Babil province on Thursday, killing 14 policemen and a provincal councillor. The first bomb, in a car, was said to have exploded at about 2pm (1100GMT) in Hilla, the provincial capital about 95km south of the capital Baghdad. Another blast came about 15 minutes later when police arrived…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61404

Iran protests spread in heartland
By Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi
December 24, 2009 – Large-scale protests spread in central Iranian cities Wednesday, offering the starkest evidence yet that the opposition movement that emerged from the disputed June presidential election has expanded beyond its base of mostly young, educated Tehran residents to at least some segments of the country’s pious heartland. Demonstrations took place in Esfahan, a provincial capital and Iran’s cultural center, and nearby Najafabad, the birthplace and hometown of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, whose death Saturday triggered the latest round of confrontations between the opposition movement and the government…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61403

Gaza’s Christians look to tunnels for scant holiday cheer
AFP
December 24, 2009 – This year Santa had to ditch his sleigh in Egypt and crawl through a smuggling tunnel to bring a little Christmas joy to the Gaza Strip. “Some of these gifts came from Egypt through the tunnels because the crossings were closed,” Emad Barakat, a Gaza City gift shop owner said, pointing to rows of chocolate Santas. “They’ve been selling well.”Israel and Egypt have imposed a strict blockade on Gaza since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, preventing all but vital goods from reaching the territory where the vast majority of people rely on foreign aid…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61400

THE PRINCE OF PEACE NEVER WON THE NOBEL PRIZE
Steve Amsel, Deserpeace
BUT… Barack Obama did! Where is the logic? Just ask anyone in: Afghanistan,Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Guantanamo,any US Federal Prison,any US hospital if he is worthy of such an honour. When we say “Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack ran so all our children could fly…” Do we mean that our children should be piloting bomber jets? …

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61398

Video – Gaza Children: Reem & Ameera
savethechildrenuk
December 24, 2009 – 1 year after the Israeli offensive, Operation Cast Lead, 2 sisters from Gaza whose home was destroyed in the bombing campaign talk about the lasting affect…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61417

Falk calls for economic sanctions against Israel to lift the Gaza siege
Palestinian Information Center
December 24, 2009 — Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” has called for the swift implementation of the recommendations included in Goldstone’s report. Falk in a statement on Wednesday evening on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza, said that Israel’s allies in Europe and Northern America should insist on ending the “illegal siege on the Gaza Strip”…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61406

Siege on Gaza makes swine flu difficult to control
Palestinenote
December 24, 2009 – The closure of the Gaza Strip is tight enough to make life difficult for residents, but fences and checkpoints don’t prevent viruses from passing through, as became apparent earlier this month. Despite predictions that the closure of Gaza might protect it from exposure to the Swine Flu, the virus was identified in the Gaza Strip two weeks ago, and already some 185 people have been diagnosed as infected, 13 of whom have died. Not only has the closure of Gaza failed to protect it from the virus, but the restrictions on the passage of equipment and fuel are making it difficult to contain the virus’s spread…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61407

Villages challenge occupation on human rights day
Jo Ehrlich writing from al-Tuwani, occupied West Bank
December 24, 2009 – Al-Tuwani is a Palestinian village in the south Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank. The village, home to approximately 200 residents, is more than 1,000 years old. Al-Tuwani falls under Area C (which covers some 60 percent of the occupied West Bank), an outcome of the Oslo accords which means the Israeli army has full control over all security, planning and construction in the village. There is no running water and a diesel generator provides electricity for a few hours a day. Al-Tuwani’s residents have faced repeated obstacles from the Israeli army to any type of development in the village, from halting construction of a medical clinic to confiscating electricity lines. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers in the nearby illegal settlements Ma’on and Havat Ma’on continually harass villagers and poison their livestock…

Read the full article / Leggi l’articolo completo: www.uruknet.de/?p=61414

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