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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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WATCH: IDF Fires Tear Gas At Olive Harvesters In West Bank

By Alon Aviram

It’s that time of the year again and the olive trees are ripe and ready for harvest. I found myself last Saturday picking olives alongside Palestinian families and Israeli activists from Ta’ayush in the Judean Hills in Tarqumiya, northwest of Hebron.

As the morning light crept over us, the only sounds to be heard were those of intermittent conversations, of hands sifting through coarse olive branches as they plucked the fruit, and then of the olives dropping like scattered rain drops on the nylon sheets below. The annual olive harvest is a family affair. Toddlers gather olives which have strayed from the sheets below the branches, men and women work on separate trees, each in their own conversations. Up until midday, sweet tea had been the only interruption to this monotonous but somewhat therapeutic work.

At around 11:30 a.m.., heads turned and we saw an army jeep with some soldiers standing outside peering down at the harvesters from the other side of the olive grove. A few Israeli activists meandered through the shrubs, trees and boulders, finally arriving at a fence which separated us from the four or so soldiers and security guards who had come from the neighboring Adora settlement. As we arrived, a squat young-looking soldier was already directing another one of the men to fire a tear gas canister into the center of the valley. His justification: that some Palestinians had allegedly come too close to the fence, which in itself was deemed to be a security hazard. Within the space of a few minutes, two tear gas canisters and two tear gas grenades had been randomly fired into the valley among the families. People scattered and fell, and those who were fortunate enough to avoid the clouds of chemicals continued harvesting with evermore determined intensity.



Iraq Sends Crucial Fuel Oil To Syria

Source: Financial Times

By Lina Saigol in London and Michael Peel, Middle East correspondent

Iraq is quietly shipping vital supplies of fuel oil to Syria in a deal that has triggered concern in Washington and exposes Damascus’s difficulties keeping its economy afloat in the face of a growing civil war and economic sanctions.

Nouri al-Maliki’s Baghdad government agreed in June to supply 720,000 tons of fuel oil to Syria in monthly shipments as part of a one-year, renewable supply contract, according to commercial documents seen by the Financial Times.

In June and July, Baghdad’s oil ministry delivered two shipments of fuel oil, which is used for power generation, worth US$14m in total, to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Syria paid in cash, the documents show.

While the figures to date are relatively small, the deal highlights the ad hoc efforts Mr Assad’s embattled regime is having to make to keep shortages at bay as the war spreads. It also underlines the more active role Iraq is now playing in the region.

Read more: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/58b9de0e-1143-11e2-8d5f-00144feabdc0.html

Supreme Court Lets Stand Telecom Immunity In Wiretap Case

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is leaving in place a federal law that gives telecommunications companies legal immunity for helping the government with its email and telephone eavesdropping program.

The justices said Tuesday they will not review a court ruling that upheld the 2008 law against challenges brought by privacy and civil liberties advocates on behalf of the companies' customers. The companies include AT&T, Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation accused the companies of violating the law and customers' privacy through collaboration with the National Security Agency on intelligence gathering.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_WARRANTLESS_WIRETAPPING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-10-09-09-58-20

High Court Won't Hear Case Against Halliburton

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has ruled out reviving lawsuits against Halliburton Corp. over insurgent ambushes that killed civilian truck drivers in Iraq.

In its order Tuesday, the court said it will not review a federal appeals court ruling that threw out suits filed by truckers and their families claiming that Halliburton and its former KBR Inc. subsidiary knowingly sent military supply convoys into danger on roads in the Baghdad area.

The attacks killed seven KBR drivers and injured at least 10 others in April 2004.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_TRUCKERS_KILLED?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-10-09-09-45-15

Church Leaders Call for Congress to Investigate aid to Israel, not Palestinians

Leaders from the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC (United Church of Christ) churches signed a letter to Congress requesting that U.S. military aid to Israel be contingent on “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.”

The letter’s 15 signatories noted that they have “witnessed widespread Israeli human rights violations committed against Palestinians, including killing of civilians, home demolitions and forced displacement, and restrictions on Palestinian movement, among others.” They expressed their “grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories which threaten to lead the region further away from the realization of a just peace.”



Federal Government Investigates Claims of Anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley

Published October 07, 2012.

The civil rights office of the U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism at the University of California, Berkeley.

The investigation stems from a complaint filed by two recent graduates of the university, who charge that campus officials allowed a hostile campus environment for Jewish students to continue unabated by not stopping anti-Israel protests on campus, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The complaint alleges that the campus officials have violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says that recipients of federal funds are barred from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education extended Title VI to include the protection of Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campuses.

The charges filed in July refer specifically to the annual February “Apartheid Week,” saying that the campus event led to an increase in anti-Semitic hate speech, the newspaper reported on Oct. 3.



Netanyahu Meets With Barak Over 'Uncoordinated' U.S. Meetings

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday in order to reprimand him over the "uncoordinated" meetings he held with U.S. officials.

The meeting ended at 11 P.M. on Saturday. Before the meeting, it was reported that Netanyahu was expected to ask Barak to explain his uncoordinated meetings with officials from the Obama administration, in which he apparently said statements without the prime minister's consent.

"Full cooperation between the prime minister and the defense minister is necessary for the security of the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu will tell Barak, sources close to the prime minister's said before the meeting. Netanyahu, they added, will also request of Barak that such remarks will not reoccur during Barak's term as minister in his cabinet.

In response, a source close to Barak said that "no one reprimands the defense minister, not even the prime minister."



We Are Being Marked

Haaretz Editorial | Oct.07, 2012 | 1:59 AM

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu basks in the worldwide interest he aroused when he marked the red line on his Iranian bomb drawing, the international community is displaying growing interest in marking the Green Line between Israel and the occupied territories.

A few weeks after South Africa's government decided to label products made in the territories Israel conquered in June 1967, the European Union is preparing legislation to oblige stores to designate products coming from Jewish settlements in the West Bank. This is to make it easier for consumers who wish to avoid the purchase of merchandise produced in occupied territory.

At the same time, an inquiry committee appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council has begun, despite Israel's protests, to examine the settlements' impact on the Palestinian population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The foreign ministers of the donor states to the Palestinian Authority expressed profound displeasure at a recent meeting over steps to drive the Palestinians off area C with the intention of keeping it for the settlers' exclusive use. The area, which is under full Israeli security control, encompasses some 60 percent of the West Bank.



Outgoing IDF Technology Directorate: "When The Missiles Fall, We'll Be On The Ropes"

"In a total war scenario that includes missile strikes, it will be hard for use to realize our logistical capabilities. We're not as bunkered as we should be, we don’t have storage based on an underground infrastructure, and our supplies are not sufficiently protected," outgoing IDF Technology and Logistics Directorate chief Brig.-Gen. Ofer Wolf warns "Globes" in an interview. He is retiring from the army after 27 years.

Wolf says, "In time of war, some of the supplies available for the army will used up within days. We'll have to produce what we'll need in real time, during the fighting, but we cannot manufacture underground. At the same time, I am also talking about the storage of munitions, fuel, and other critical items for waging war. As far as I'm concerned, there's a lot of frustration, and the situation is worrying."

"Globes": What is delaying the move underground?

Wolf: "The bunker plan has been shelved for budget reasons. Storing munitions underground is expensive, costing hundreds of millions of shekels. You have to dig, install advanced climate control systems, and protection and back-up systems in case of an internal explosion. We don’t have this now, at least not enough. Our munitions and storage bases are aboveground, some are known to the enemy and they are targeted. Hitting them during wartime will hurt us. If we add to this that, during a war, traffic arteries are closed for security reasons, our operational ability will be on the ropes. There are countries far less threatened than us which have seen fit to invest in this direction.



Ex-Defense Chief (Robert Gates) Says Hit On Iran Would Be Disastrous

By Bill Sizemore
The Virginian-Pilot
© October 4, 2012


Painting a picture of internal political dysfunction in a dangerous world, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Wednesday night that a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences.

Neither the United States nor Israel is capable of wiping out Iran's nuclear capability, he said, and "such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert."

Iran could respond by disrupting world oil traffic and launching a wave of terrorism across the region, Gates said.

"The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world."


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