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Month: March, 2016

Palestinian Global Teacher victor: ‘My students are the true prize winners’ – Harriet Sherwood/The Guardian

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$1m prize winner Hanan al-Hroub on how her family getting shot at by Israeli soldiers galvanised her to teach in an environment where violence is endemic

When Hanan al-Hroub returns to her classroom after a week’s absence on Sunday, her arms full of puppets, socks, wooden clothes pegs, toy cars and a clown’s wig, she will be additionally weighed down with a trophy inscribed with her name as this year’s winner of the $1m Global Teacher prize.

“I will carry the trophy aloft to my children,” the 43-year-old said at her home in Ramallah. “My students are the true winners of this prize. My inspiration came from these children.”

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Israel Polarized Over Soldier Who Killed Wounded Palestinian – Isabel Kershner/NewYorkTimes

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Israelis demonstrated outside a military court in Kiryat Malakhi on Tuesday to support a soldier who was suspended after being caught on video shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head. Credit Amir Cohen/Reuters

JERUSALEM — The case of the Israeli soldier who shot a Palestinian assailant in the head as he lay wounded and subdued on the ground is whipping up a public and political storm and posing a rare challenge to the military’s high command, usually the most popular body in the country.

In a letter sent to commanders and soldiers on Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of staff, underlined the predicament facing the army as it contends with an upsurge in Palestinian violence — and finds itself facing a hardened public mood fanned by some politicians who say Palestinian assailants must not be left alive.

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How The World’s Biggest Bribe Scandal Unfolded In Iraq – Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard, Daniel Quinlan /The Age and The Huffington Post

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A Monaco-based company called Unaoil cultivated an astonishing web of influence.

The Bagman

There was little about the man walking through Heathrow Airport to show he held secrets that could bring down some of the most powerful men in Iraq.

Moustached, olive skinned, hair receding, eyes sharp. His name was Basil Al Jarah. His British passport showed he lived in Hull, an unremarkable town in the north of England, but it bore the stamps of a frequent traveller: London, Baghdad, Basra, Amman, Paris, Istanbul, Kuwait.

Basil Al Jarah was an oil industry fixer. But had authorities known his true business, they might have taken a far keener interest in the man waiting for a plane to Amman in 2011. Because by that stage, Al Jarah and his employer, a Monaco-based company called Unaoil, had cultivated an astonishing web of influence in the upper echelons of Iraqi power – all based on the simple expedient of bribing the right man at the right time.

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Palestine Land Day: Here we shall stay – Lamis Andoni/Al Jazeera English

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palestine land day onevoice land

The Judaisation strategy did not only aim at confiscating lands, but also to undermine the rise of Palestinian leaders.

On March 30, 1976, Palestinians marched against an Israeli decision to expropriate 2,000 hectares of land around the Arab villages of Araba and Sakhnin as a part of a plan to “Judaise the Galilee”.

The Palestinian “Land Day” marked the first act of collective civil disobedience against the racist colonisation and dispossession of the Palestinians of their lands and rights since the creation of Israel in 1948.

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Leahy clashes with Netanyahu over Israeli rights record – Nahal Toosi/POLITICO

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Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are in a war of words over the Democrat’s request that the State Department investigate alleged human rights violations by Israeli and Egyptian security forces.

Leahy and 10 House members sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Feb. 17 that lists several examples of alleged Egyptian and Israeli “gross violations of human rights,” including extrajudicial killings, that should be examined. The letter’s contents were first reported by POLITICO on Tuesday evening.

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How narratives killed the Syrian people – Sharmine Narwani/RT

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© Majed Jaber

On March 23, 2011, at the very start of what we now call the ‘Syrian conflict,’ two young men – Sa’er Yahya Merhej and Habeel Anis Dayoub – were gunned down in the southern Syrian city of Daraa.

Merhej and Dayoub were neither civilians, nor were they in opposition to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They were two regular soldiers in the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Shot by unknown gunmen, Merhej and Dayoub were the first of eighty-eight soldiers killed throughout Syria in the first month of this conflict– in Daraa, Latakia, Douma, Banyas, Homs, Moadamiyah, Idlib, Harasta, Suweida, Talkalakh and the suburbs of Damascus.

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The Trumpinator

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Shared Values

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Striking a balance between free speech vs. bigotry on campus – Editorial/LA Times

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Regents of the University of California have wisely backed off a proposed statement that would have condemned anti-Zionism on campus on the grounds that it is comparable to anti-Semitism. Instead, the university’s overseers approved a set of “principles against intolerance” that condemn “anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism” as one of several forms of discrimination that have no place at UC.

The change in wording may seem minor, but the difference in meaning is substantial. The final version avoids conflating anti-Zionism, or opposition to the idea of a Jewish state, with hatred for Jews as a people. The earlier formulation was overly broad and suggested that those who reject the concept of Zionism are bigots. In reality, it’s perfectly possible to oppose Zionism — or advocate for a secular state in what is now Israel and the West Bank — without being anti-Jewish.

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Who’s really voting for Trump: Portraits beyond the polls – YahooPolitics

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Who are Donald Trump’s supporters? That’s the question every pollster, pundit and politico has been asking ever since the Manhattan mogul launched his candidacy, ascended to the top of the polls and kicked off the GOP primary battle as we know it.

For months, many rank-and-file Republicans admitted that they had no idea who was backing Trump.

“I’ve never met a single one of them,” a New Hampshire resident named Doug Cleveland told the New York Times in January. “Where are all these Trump supporters? Everyone we know is supporting somebody else.”

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Leahy asked State Dept. to investigate Israeli human rights ‘violations’ – Nahal Toosy/POLITICO

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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and 10 House members have asked the Obama administration to investigate claims that the Israeli and Egyptian security forces have committed “gross violations of human rights” — allegations that if proven truei could affect U.S. military aid to the countries.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry dated Feb. 17, the lawmakers list several examples of suspected human rights abuses, including reports of extrajudicial killings by Israeli and Egyptian military forces, as well as forced disappearances in Egypt. The letter also points to the 2013 massacre in Egypt’s Rab’aa Square, which left nearly 1,000 people dead as the military cracked down on protesters, as worthy of examination.

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The Salman Doctrine: the Saudi Reply to Obama’s Weakness – Nawaf Obaid/The National Interest

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saudi propaganda the-avengers

Following a thorough explication of Obama’s foreign policy doctrine in a recent Jeffrey Goldberg article, it is now clearer than ever that America and Saudi Arabia are on a collision course over strategic decisions in the Middle East. This is because the “Obama Doctrine” is diametrically opposed to the emerging “Salman Doctrine,” which the Kingdom is developing in order to restore peace and a modicum of stability to the region. And while the Saudis and their allies would benefit immensely from having the United States at their side, Washington also has much to lose by distancing itself from the Saudi agenda. Since the end of World War II, American influence and standing in the Arab world has, to a large extent, been dependent on the “special relationship” with the Kingdom.

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Trump and Clinton: Censoring the Unpalatable

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A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. Obama based his “hope” campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to lead the land of slavery. He was also “antiwar”.

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Tensions Mount In The Golan Heights Over Oil And Territory – Eric Simmons/Globalriskinsights.com

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With Israel’s continued efforts to source economical oil from the region and an ongoing civil war in nearby Syria, the Golan Heights is once again in the spotlight, leaving the international community in a renewed debate over the acknowledgment of Israel’s territorial claims and their geopolitical impact.

Following the resolution of a permit issue, Afek Oil & Gas, a subsidiary of American company Genie Energy, has resumed efforts to verify whether or not commercially viable options for oil extraction exist within the Golan Heights region. These drillings are anything but routine, as years of conflict and contestation over the plateau – which was seized by Israel in 1967 – have led to profound disagreement over the territory’s sovereignty.

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Israel-Arab Debate at AIPAC

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You can’t make it up. UN names democratic Israel as world’s top human rights violator – Anne Bayefsky/Fox News

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According to the United Nations, the most evil country in the world today is Israel.

On March 24, 2016, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) wrapped up its annual meeting in New York by condemning only one country for violating women’s rights anywhere on the planet –Israel, for violating the rights of Palestinian women.

On the same day, the U.N. Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session in Geneva by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states.

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What They Said – Philip Giraldi/The Unz Review

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Candidates double down on Israel at AIPAC

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might just have a solution for dealing with the recent bombing attacks in Western Europe. The countries involved should follow Israeli practice and demolish the homes of those accused of carrying out terrorist acts, thereby punishing whole families and making the consequences of misbehavior more severe. He might have also suggested that Arabs should be shot in the head when they are incapacitated and lying on the ground. That saves the trouble of having to go through a trial and also sends an even stronger message.

Some American presidential wannabes also agree that tougher is always better. Donald Trump has again spoken up in favor of torture while Ted Cruz is advocating using police “to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in the United States.

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It Cometh from the Pit:And Hath a Knout – Fred Reed/FredOnEverything

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Once upon a time there was a fairy kingdom that lived inside a place called The Beltway, and was surrounded on all four sides by a land called America. The Beltway was aligned with another kingdom called Manhattan, inhabited by disembodied heads that spoke from the walls of bars, and with yet another closed kingdom called Hollywood, the abode of half-educated narcissists. These kingdoms were in eternal political syzygy, and spoke not with the people of the surrounding lands, of whom they knew nothing. The following is a chronicle of what befell them, and why.

After years of peace, the Kingdoms were taken greatly aback by the rise of the Trump Monster, their surprise being proof that they knew nothing of the surrounding lands. They knew nothing for good reasons, of which there were two. The first was that they passed their lives with each other and among each other and talking to each other and writing about each other and reading about each other behind the high walls of their kingdoms. In organs like National Review and The Weekly Standard they endlessly wrote stories of the form “A soothsayer in Manhattan replies to what some other sayer of sooths said about yet another’s attack on someone else.”

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How The Palmyra Victory Changes the Narrative – Moon Of Alabama

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A Syrian chessboard 2559

The liberation of Palmyra is a decisive turning point in the war on Syria. While there were earlier military successes by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies, the publicity value of securing the valued Roman ruins of Palmyra is much higher than any earlier victory. It will change some of the false narratives of the conflict.

The Syrian government is no longer “the Assad regime” and the Syrian Arab Army no longer the “Assad forces”. Ban Ki Moon, the head of the United Nations, congratulated the Syrian government to its success:

In a news conference in Jordan, Ban said he was “encouraged” that the UNESCO world heritage site is out of extremist hands and that the Syrian government “is now able to preserve and protect this human common cultural asset”.

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West Haven I-95 billboard on USS Liberty is anti-Israel, critics charge – James Walker/New Haven Register

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WEST HAVEN  – A billboard on Interstate 95 is sparking outrage from a local lawyer and criticism from the Anti-Defamation League for what they say is its anti-Israel message.

But the veterans organization and its supporters that sponsored the billboard say it depicts one of the most controversial mysteries in U.S. Navy history and they are still demanding answers.

The message on the billboard, in capital letters, reads: “Help the USS Liberty Survivors.” Underneath, in smaller letters, also all capped, the message continues: “Attacked by Israel.” The red, white and blue colors of the American flag are faded and serve as the background of the large sign. The billboard depicts a ship on one side and a wounded sailor on the other. The bottom of the billboard lists the website www.honorlibertyvets.org.

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The Debate: Terrorists facing defeat in Syria & Iraq

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Does The United States Still Exist? – Paul Craig Roberts/The Unz Review

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An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida

To answer the question that is the title, we have to know of what the US consists. Is it an ethnic group, a collection of buildings and resources, a land mass with boundaries, or is it the Constitution. Clearly what differentiates the US from other countries is the US Constitution. The Constitution defines us as a people. Without the Constitution we would be a different country. Therefore, to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.

Does the Constitution still exist? Let us examine the document and come to a conclusion.

The Constitution consists of a description of a republic with three independent branches, legislative, executive, and judicial, each with its own powers, and the Bill of Rights incorporated as constitutional amendments. The Bill of Rights describes the civil liberties of citizens that cannot be violated by the government.

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Students want Ohio State, other universities to boycott Israel – Mary Mogan Edward/The Columbus Dispatch

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Image result for bds on american campus posters

The Israel-Palestine conflict, never absent from most U.S. college campuses, is fueling especially passionate debate in central Ohio this spring.

Much of the argument centers on the nationwide “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement, which aims to punish Israel economically as a way to pressure it to change its treatment of Palestinians. In recent years, the movement has attracted powerful pushback from pro-Israel organizations.

As student governments at Capital and Ohio State universities considered resolutions on opposite sides of the issue last week, all three central Ohio Congress members and two state representatives entered the debate at Ohio State. Republican Reps. Steve Stivers and Pat Tiberi joined with Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty in a letter urging the Undergraduate Student Government to reject a measure calling for university divestment from three companies deemed to be involved in Israeli punishment and isolation of Palestinians in the West Bank.

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Civil unrest coming to America – Henry S. Dent Jr/Business Insider

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I made a confession to our Boom & Bust subscribers last month. While I generally advise against owning most real estate, I have a secluded property in the Caribbean. It’s the only property I own (I rent my home in Tampa) and I know for a fact that its value will likely depreciate in the great real estate shakeout I see ahead, although likely by half as much as a high-end property in Florida.

The reason I own this property is because I see rising chances for civil unrest in the inevitable downturn ahead, especially in the U.S. I want a place to go if things get really bad, and it looks increasingly likely that they will.

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Saudi Arabia Uncovered – ITV(UK) Documentary

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Syrian army, allies fully Liberate Palmyra

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A report on archeological Palmyra follows:

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Does President Obama encourages BDS in his legacy year – Dr. Josef Olmert/HuffPo

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israel obama fist obama_plot_against_israel

President Obama is currently engaged in his legacy year time, and the visit in Cuba , which may defy nearly all rules of conventional International Relations wisdom may be the best evidence of that. Statements like how the US can learn from Cuba on human rights. Also, that ‘’personally I don’t disagree ‘’[with Raoul Castro] are unusual, to say the very least. Then came two more interesting statements in Buenos Aires. First, the President acknowledged, that in the remaining nine months of his
presidency, there will not be an Israeli-Palestinian peace. That is clearly a sober , though unfortunate realization of the situation. But then the President explained why it is impossible. He stated, that the Israelis are too successful economically , so they feel themselves to be in a position of strength, devoid of a real incentive to make concessions.

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READERS REACT: Anti-Zionism vs. anti-Semitism: UC should not decided what’s hate speech – LA Times

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israel censorship agreement-on-monitoring-anti-israeli-videos-denied-by-google

To the editor: UCLA professor Saree Makdisi and UC Berkeley professor Judith Butler are right to oppose a University of California policy against both anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, but they are deceptive in their arguments. (“Suppressing criticism of Zionism on campus is catastrophic censorship,” Opinion, March 23)

They disingenuously characterize anti-Zionism as opposing Israeli policies rather than what it actually is: opposition to the very existence of a Jewish state. They know that while many people in the U.S. are opposed to the Israeli position regarding settlements, most Americans support the existence of a Jewish state. That’s why they try to paint lipstick on the pig of anti-Zionism.

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Israel’s next steps in the West Bank – Geoffrey Aronson/Al Jazeera English

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Palestine end_the_occupation

Israel is charting a future in which the tattered Oslo deal with the PLO is viewed as long-outdated.

US Vice-President Joe Biden was not revealing a secret when, during a recent speech to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC, he observed that there is “no political will at this moment among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward with serious negotiations”.

Washington has no expectations. It sees no opportunities, and it has exhausted its energy or interest to create them. The Obama White House simply hopes that it can put the conflict on autopilot, and pray that nothing happens to force it to pay Palestine serious attention.

Palestinian institutions too are immobilised. The Palestinian Authority has been debilitated by endemic conflict between Fatah and Hamas; the PA’s president has remained in office well past his “sell-by” date and the institutions he leads have been enervated by the endless and losing battle with Israel’s military occupation.

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In Donald Trump’s Worldview, America Comes First, and Everybody Else Pays – David E. Sanger, Maggie HabermanThe New York Times

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Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, said that if elected, he might halt purchases of oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies unless they commit ground troops to the fight against the Islamic State or “substantially reimburse” the United States for combating the militant group, which threatens their stability.

“If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection,” Mr. Trump said during a 100-minute interview on foreign policy, spread over two phone calls on Friday, “I don’t think it would be around.”

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