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Artists thank Gil Scott-Heron for heeding boycott call

The following press release was issued by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel on 5 May 2010:

More than 50 organizations and artists from eight countries have written to legendary political singer and poet Gil Scott-Heron to thank him for his decision to drop Israel from his current tour. The letter, facilitated by Adalah-NY, highlighted the parallels between the South African apartheid that Scott-Heron crusaded against decades ago and the Israeli system that currently subjugates Palestinians.

Palestinian civil society has called for grassroots pressure on Israel to end its oppressive behavior through a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), including cultural events. “To salvage its deteriorating image abroad, Israel has launched a ‘rebranding’ campaign which uses arts and culture to whitewash its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights,” said Randa Wahbe of Adalah-NY. Gil Scott-Heron is the latest in a list of notable artists, including Sting, Bono, Snoop Dogg and Carlos Santana, who have recently declined to play Israel. Distinguished artists, writers and peace activists — among them John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Adrienne Rich, Ken Loach, Naomi Klein, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Alice Walker — have declared support for the BDS movement.

The signatories told Scott-Heron: “As you recognized in your iconic anti-Apartheid anthem “Johannesburg,” when “brothers over there are defyin’ the man … they need to know we’re on their side.” They added “[I]n refusing to do business as usual with Israel, you join ranks with the growing number of international artists, intellectuals and cultural workers who have rejected Israel’s cynical use of the arts to whitewash its Apartheid and colonial policies.”

Haidar Eid, of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) praised the singer’s action: “Gil Scott-Heron’s decision to cancel his concert in Tel Aviv is warmly welcomed by all of us here in Gaza and Palestinian civil society at large. This does not come as a surprise to us due to his luminous heritage in support of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Once again, we wholeheartedly thank him for heeding our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, until it complies with its obligations under international law and fully respects Palestinian rights.”

Since the 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza, in which 1,400 Palestinians were killed, there has been rapid growth in the BDS movement worldwide. Wahbe also noted that “The outpouring of anguish from Scott-Heron’s fans on his website when he was scheduled to perform in Israel, and the more than 50 artists and organizations that have joined together to communicate the importance of Scott-Heron’s decision, represent a new phase in this growing movement.”

The concert, first announced in Haaretz on 15 April, was to be held 25 May. After a torrent of postings on the Internet expressing shock and dismay, the singer announced his cancellation during his 24 April London concert, at which activists protested. Within days, the Tel Aviv show was removed from his website and tickets were no longer available.

In the wake of the cancellation, Facebook groups have sprung up calling on Elvis Costello, Joan Armatrading and Bob Dylan to cancel their planned concerts in Israel. On 5 May, PACBI issued its own call to Armatrading.

The BDS campaign has the backing hundreds of Palestinian civil society groups and is coordinated through the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign National Committee (bdsmovement.net) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (pacbi.org).

To view the thank you letter and list of signatories, click here.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | 2 Comments

Mystery Disease Linked to Missing Israeli Scientist

By H.P. Albarelli Jr. | t r u t h o u t | 07 May 2010

Media outlets across the Northwest United States began reporting on April 24 that a strange, previously unknown strain of virulent airborne fungi that has already killed at least six people in Oregon, Washington and Idaho is spreading throughout the region. The fungus, according to expert microbiologists, who have expressed alarm about the emergence of the strain, is a new genotype of Cryptococcus gatti fungi. Cryptococcus gatti is normally found in tropical and subtropical locations in India, South America, Africa and Australia. Microbiologists in the United States are reporting that the strain found here, for reasons not yet fully understood, is far deadlier than any found overseas.

Physicians in the Pacific Northwest are reporting that an undetermined number of people in the region are ill from the effects of the strange strain. Physicians also say that the virulent strain can infect domestic animals as well as humans, and symptoms do not appear until anywhere from two to four months after exposure. Symptoms in humans include a lingering cough, sharp chest pains, fever, night-sweats, weight-loss, headaches and shortness of breath. The strain can be treated successfully, if detected early enough, with oral doses of antifungal medication, but it cannot be prevented, and there is no preventative vaccine. Undiagnosed, the fungus works its way into the spinal fluid and central nervous system and causes fatal meningitis.

The estimated mortality rate is about 25 percent of 21 cases analyzed. Several newspapers and media outlets in the US and overseas quote a researcher at Duke University’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Edmond Byrnes, as stating: “This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people. Typically, we see this fungal disease associated with transplant recipients and HIV-infected patients, but that is not what we are seeing.”

Microbiologists and epidemiologists studying the strain say the mystery fungus came from an earlier fatal fungus that was first found on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island in the fall of 2001, and perhaps as early as 1999. There the fungus infected and killed dogs, cats, horses, sheep, porpoises and at least 26 people. The disease spreads through spores carried by breezes and wind and when people and animals encounter infected ground where the fungus is present. A number of microbiologists say that the disease has “the potential to essentially travel anywhere the wind or people can carry it.” Reads an alarming study authored in part by Duke University’s Edmond Byrnes: “The continued expansion of C. gatti in the United States is ongoing, and the diversity of hosts increasing.”

Several researchers in California also note that the Cryptococcus gatti fungus has been researched for decades, extending back to the 1950’s, at the US Army’s biological warfare center, Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Maryland. One microbiologist at the University of California at Los Angeles recounted that the fungus was first brought to the attention of Fort Detrick researchers by British scientists experimenting with the bark of eucalyptus trees from Australia. Army biological warfare reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that beginning around 1952 the Army mounted a huge research program involving numerous plant and fungi products, and that well over 300 long-term contracts and sub-contracts were let with over 35 US colleges and universities to carry out this multifaceted research. Examples of this early research in California included experiments and projects at Camp Cooke; Port Huemene; Harpers Lake; Oceanside, and extensive experimentation with wheat stem rust and “various spores” including “several from tropical locations” and cereal rust spores and dyed Lycopodium spores. Several Army reports reveal that private-sector corporations that participated or assisted in these projects were the American Institute of Crop Ecology; the American Type Culture Collection Inc.; University of California; Bioferm Inc. and the Kulijian Corporation.

The same microbiologist, who declined to speak on the record and who recounted extensive fungus work at Fort Detrick, also stated that researchers at Israel’s Institute for Biological Research, located in Ness-Ziona about 20 km from Tel Aviv, have worked with the Cryptococcus gatti fungus. They also report that mysterious Israeli-American scientist Joseph Moshe, 56 years old, may have conducted covert studies with the fungus while he was recently living in California. This report concerning Moshe is especially interesting because Moshe was briefly in the international spotlight in 2009 when he was the subject of a spectacular chase and arrest by the LA police department and SWAT team, assisted by the FBI, Secret Service, CIA, US Army and several other unidentified federal officials. That highly unusual arrest has never been fully explained to the media, and the whereabouts of Moshe has remained unknown since its occurrence. Compounding the mystery surrounding the Moshe case is that there is another scientist named Moshe Bar-Joseph who works in Israel and who looks remarkably like Joseph Moshe, except that he is about 20 years older.

Why Moshe was pursued and apprehended by the police is a largely unanswered question. According to the Los Angeles media, which recorded the entire incident by helicopter and ground cameras, Moshe claimed to be “a former Mossad microbiologist” who had telephoned a police dispatch number before his pursuit and had made “threatening statements about the White House and the president.” Reportedly, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed this when he spoke with several Los Angeles reporters.

On August 14, 2009, several Los Angeles police cruisers and an unmarked armored vehicle pursued Joseph Moshe as he drove his red VW automobile several miles through downtown Los Angeles before his car’s engine was reportedly knocked out by an electromagnetic pulse. Moshe refused to exit his car when ordered several times by the police, and after the driver’s window of his VW was smashed out by a robotic arm and several rounds of tear gas and pepper gas were fired into the vehicle, he still remained behind the wheel, refusing to move. At the time, police officers on the scene were stunned that Moshe was able to withstand three tear gas shells and hosing with pepper spray without moving. Later that day, a Los Angeles law enforcement official said: “I can’t explain that; there’s no way to explain that.”

After his apprehension, Moshe was taken to the Patton State Mental Hospital and then to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles. Sometime about 60 days later, Moshe was quietly released and his current whereabouts are unknown. Since his arrest became public, reports about Moshe’s activities in the US have spread like wildfire, especially across the Internet. Many of these reports are unconfirmed, but a few come from credible sources and have linked Moshe to the grossly underreported outbreak of flu in the Ukraine.

Other reliable sources, including two former Fort Detrick biochemists, have also linked Moshe to a mysterious disease that is becoming alarmingly common in Vermont and other states, including California. The disease is known to have killed or incapacitated at least 10 to 20 rural dwellers and farmers. This disease is said to be Morgellons disease or “a rare, mutated form of Morgellons disease.” Former Fort Detrick scientists, speaking off the record, say that the disease is one that was “experimented with intensely” in the late 1960’s at several “test sites in New England.” Morgellons causes patients to suffer horrible skin problems as well as fatigue, confusion and serious memory problems, as well as joint pain and the strange sensation that pins and needles are piercing the body or that something is crawling beneath one’s flesh. Some researchers and physicians believe that Morgellons is actually a psychiatric condition called “delusional parasitosis.” Other physicians, who are familiar with treating the disease, say it may be caused by “an airborne, unidentified spore” and that it was developed in the laboratory from an affliction that was first identified in the 1700’s. Regardless of its origin, some researchers say that Morgellons is becoming “a very real medical problem in some parts of the country.”

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 3 Comments

Interior Department Exempted BP Drilling From Environmental Review

In Rush to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling, Interior Secretary Salazar Abandoned Pledge to Reform
Industry-dominated Mineral Management Service

Center for Biological Diversity | May 5, 2010

TUCSON, Ariz.— Ken Salazar’s first pledge as secretary of the interior was to reform the scandal plagued Mineral Management Service (MMS), which had been found by the U.S. inspector general to have traded sex, drugs, and financial favors with oil-company executives. In a January 29, 2009 press release on the scandal, Salazar stated:

“President Obama’s and my goal is to restore the public’s trust, to enact meaningful reform…to uphold the law, and to ensure that all of us — career public servants and political appointees — do our jobs with the highest level of integrity.”

Yet just three months later, Secretary Salazar allowed the MMS to approve — with no environmental review — the BP drilling operation that exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and pouring millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster will soon be, if it is not already, the worst oil spill in American history.

BP submitted its drilling plan to the MMS on March 10, 2009. Rather than subject the plan to a detailed environmental review before approving it as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the agency declared the plan to be “categorically excluded” from environmental analysis because it posed virtually no chance of harming the environment. As BP itself pointed out in its April 9, 2010, letter to the Council on Environmental Quality, categorical exclusions are only to be used when a project will have “minimal or nonexistent” environmental impacts.

MMS issued its one-page approval letter to BP on April 6, 2009.

“Secretary Salazar has utterly failed to reform the Mineral Management Service,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of protecting the public interest by conducting environmental reviews, his agency rubber stamped BP’s drilling plan, just as it does hundreds of others every year in the Gulf of Mexico. The Minerals Management Service has gotten worse, not better, under Salazar’s watch.”

As a senator, Salazar sponsored the “Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006,” which opened up large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil drilling and criticized the MMS for not issuing enough offshore oil leases. As interior secretary, he has pushed the agency to speed offshore oil drilling and was the architect of the White House’s March, 2010, proposal to expand offshore oil drilling in Alaska, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Coast from Maryland to Florida.

After meeting with Gulf oil executives early this week, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) told the Washington Post: “I’m of the opinion that boosterism breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster. That, in my opinion, is what happened.” The boosterism started at the top, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Excerpts from the BP drilling plan that was categorically excluded from
environmental review by the Department of the Interior:

2.7 Blowout Scenario – A scenario for a potential blowout of the well from which BP would expect to have the highest volume of liquid hydrocarbons is not required for the operations proposed in this EP.”

14.5 Alternatives - No alternatives to the proposed activities were considered to reduce environmental impacts.”

14.6 Mitigation Measures - No mitigation measures other than those required by regulation and BP policy will be employed to avoid, diminish or eliminate potential impacts on environmental resources.”

14.7 Consultation - No agencies or persons were consulted regarding potential impacts associated with the proposed activities.”

14.3 Impacts on Proposed Activities – The site-specific environmental conditions have been taken into account for the proposed activities and no impacts are expected as a result of these conditions.”

14.2.3.2 Wetlands – An accidental oil spill from the proposed activities could cause impacts to wetlands. However, due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.” (p. 45)

14.2.2.1 Essential Fish Habitat - …In the event of an unanticipated blowout resulting in an oil spill, it is unlikely to have an impact based on the industry wide standards for using proven equipment and technology for such responses, implementation of BP’s Regional Oil Spill Response Plan which address available equipment and removal of the oil spill.”

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism | Leave a comment

DOE’s Nuclear Loan Guarantee Bailout Program In Question Due To Negative Court Ruling in Georgia

Other U.S. Nuclear Reactor Projects In Line for Loan Guarantees Also Pose Major Risks to Taxpayers

Press Release* | May 6, 2010

WASHINGTON, PRNewswire-USNewswire – The only taxpayer-backed loan guarantee bailout to be offered for new nuclear reactors – $8.3 billion for two reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia – should be rescinded now that the project was dealt a setback in a decision by a Georgia judge that state officials illegally certified the project, according to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Public Citizen.

The groups also noted that, despite the push in Congress for more controversial loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors, the other two leading contenders for such bailouts – the South Texas Project at Bay City on the Gulf Coast (114 miles from San Antonio and 90 miles from Houston) and Calvert Cliffs in Maryland – are more unsettled than ever and now pose an even greater risk to U.S. taxpayers.

As such, the groups also said that Department of Energy (DOE) should refrain from offering any new loan guarantees to nuclear projects before overhauling its evaluation process.

DOE has stated that the $10 billion remaining in loan guarantee authority is only sufficient for one of the two projects and has requested another $9 billion in the appropriations supplemental to cover the second project. In its FY2011 budget request, the Obama Administration has already requested $36 billion in loan guarantee authority, a tripling of the nuclear loan guarantee program.

The groups detailed the setbacks at the Georgia project and other two federal bailout candidates as follows:

VOGTLE

Last Friday, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy won its lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court that aimed to protect Georgians from unfair utility costs in connection with the proposed construction of two new nuclear reactors at Vogtle near Waynesboro, Georgia. The Court found that the Georgia Public Service Commission acted illegally in violation of Georgia state law. The Commission’s approval last year during the certification process for the proposed new Vogtle reactors was put into question.

At Friday’s hearing, Judge Wendy Shoob heard SACE’s allegation that the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) erred as a matter of law by failing to make findings of fact and conclusions of law as required. Specifically, the group alleged that the PSC did not provide the required written justifications for its findings that would “afford an intelligent review” by the courts. The PSC instead relied on statements void of any reasoning. The Court ruled in favor of SACE and found that the PSC acted illegally in violation of Georgia state law by failing to make all appropriate findings and to support those findings with a concise and explicit statement of the facts. Just prior to the decision, Southern Company had yet to accept the conditional guarantee and had requested another month to decide. On Wednesday, the Court issued the final order, remanding the case back to the PSC. (Pdf)

Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said: “This ruling raises further concerns over the Obama Administration’s controversial decision in February to award an $8.3 billion taxpayer-financed conditional loan guarantee for Southern Company’s proposed Vogtle project, the first to be offered one in the country. Given this decision and the economic risks to U.S. taxpayers of this project, DOE should rescind its offer of a loan guarantee. DOE needs to re-evaluate its ‘due-diligence’ procedures before offering any other loan guarantees. For example, how can a loan guarantee be offered before a reactor design is even certified as safe by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission?”

SOUTH TEXAS PROJECT

The estimated cost for two NRG proposed reactors in Texas has risen from $5.8 billion in 2006 to a reported $18.2 billion at the end of 2009. As a result, the City of San Antonio pulled out of 85 percent of its investment in the project, leaving a void of as much as 33 percent of the project without investors.

Karen Hadden, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) coalition, said: “The South Texas nuclear reactor is an economic disaster waiting to happen. The costs have trebled since the plant was proposed, NRG’s credit is just one notch above a junk bond rating, NRG’s partner sued them for fraud and no one wants to buy shares due to the fast-rising costs. The federal government may foolishly put taxpayer money behind the South Texas Project, but it can’t force anyone to buy the resulting overpriced power. Since Texas is deregulated, this plant will have to sell excess energy into the market. Expensive nuclear power must compete against cheaper and plentiful efficiency, wind and natural gas. As a result, the power it produces won’t be too cheap to meter — instead it will be too expensive to sell. If we give this turkey loan guarantees — taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.”

CALVERT CLIFFS

In 2007, the cost estimate for the proposed new reactor at Calvert Cliffs was $5 billion. Since then, UniStar has been reluctant to provide any public cost estimates for construction of the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 reactor, but in August 2008 hearings before the Maryland Public Service Commission, CEO George Vanderheyden acknowledged that the company’s estimates are on the “upper end” of the $4,500 – $6,000 per kilowatt (kWh) level. For a 1600 megawatt reactor such as Calvert Cliffs-3, that would mean construction costs of about $9.6 billion. Even that high figure is likely to be low, since the Pennsylvania utility PPL has posted an estimate of $13-15 billion for precisely the same reactor design at Bell Bend in PA.

Additionally, the original drive for Calvert Cliffs preceded the recent decline in demand for power in the region. Power purchase agreements have yet to be established for Calvert Cliffs. Though “demand for power” does not need to be demonstrated by the reactor owner, demand for power in the region has dropped off due to the market downturn, obviating most or all of the need for Calvert Cliffs.

Allison Fisher, organizer for Public Citizen’s Energy Program, Public Citizen said: “Taxpayers should be outraged that they are being put on the hook for a reactor design that has been plagued with huge delays and cost overrun. The same reactor is currently under construction in Finland and France. Both projects have been plagued with delays and cost overruns. The Finnish project is three and a half years behind schedule with a 75 percent cost overrun thus far.”

*SOURCE Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, and Public Citizen

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Nuclear Power | Leave a comment

Florida nuclear project will take longer, cost more

By Fred Hiers |Ocala.com | May 6, 2010

There is good news and bad for Progress Energy Florida customers.

The utility company is asking Florida regulators for permission to cut its customers’ nuclear recovery costs next year by 21 percent, reducing the average nuclear cost of $6.99 per month on customer monthly bills down to $5.53. The reduction is part of Progress Energy’s decision to postpone major construction on its proposed Levy County nuclear plant.

The bad news is that postponing the project will likely mean construction costs will only increase when the utility decides to build the facility.

Company spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said the company predicts the project, once slated to be on line by 2016 and cost about $17 billion, will now be operational no sooner than 2021 at a cost ranging between $17.2 billion to $22.5 billion.

The utility has about 65,000 customers in Marion County and more than 1.6 million throughout Florida.

The company’s new plan is to postpone rate hikes for the project until after its federal licensing is complete, rather than continue with construction at the scale and timetable it has been following until now.

Jacobs said several factors were considered when deciding to slow the project, including the Florida’s Public Service Commission’s recent decision to deny the utility a $500 million base rate hike request, and the agency’s recommendation to avoid any increases during the recession.

Another factor, Jacobs said, was recent credit rating agencies’ moves to downgrade the financial outlook of the utility because of the PSC’s rate decision. Florida’s economic downturn also played a role.

Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings all downgraded the utility’s ratings following the PSC’s decision not to approve rate hikes. Previously, the PSC had routinely approved most of the utility’s requests for more money.

Jacobs also said the uncertainty of the federal government’s energy plans, including carbon regulation, also made the future of how to proceed with the proposed Levy County nuclear plant unclear.

Jacobs said as the utility comes closer to when it needs to start construction of the plant, it will then decide whether to go forward with the project or scratch it.

The process of collecting money from customers for the project is allowed through Florida’s nuclear recovery cost legislation. The rule allows utilities to collect money for nuclear plant construction in advance of facility completion. The rule doesn’t place the utility under any obligation to complete the nuclear plant – or return customer money if the project fails.

The company has spent $600 million toward the project through 2009, $200 million of which came from customers, Jacobs said… Full article

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Nuclear Power | Leave a comment

Israel’s tightening grip on the Jordan Valley

International Solidarity Movement | 7 May 2010

“Israel will never cede the Jordan Valley”
- Benjamin Netanyahu, March 2010

Settler and Palestinian tents in Al Maleh

Settler and Palestinian tents in Al Maleh

The Jordan Valley is an area under urgent threat of annexation, and during the last few weeks Israel has considerably tightened its grip on the indigenous Palestinian population. On the 11th of April the Israeli military shut off the main water source to Bardala -jeopardising the village’s viability as a farming community-, on the 12th of April they declared Al Maleh a closed military zone, which prevented shepherds from pasturing their animals, and on the 15th of April the Israeli military raided Al Farisiya and stole four water pumps in a further attempt to control all water resources in the area. On the 25th of April the harassment of Palestinians increased significantly as armed settlers from the strongly Zionist Maskiot settlement erected a tent only ten meters from the the Al Maleh Bedouin community.

The Maskiot settlers, who have resettled in the valley after being evacuated from the settlement of Gush Katif during the Israeli “withdrawal” from Gaza in 2005, are ideological settlers aiming to expand the Jewish presence in the area. An estimated 20-30 settlers arrived in Al Maleh at 4 pm on Sunday afternoon and the erection of their outpost was facilitated by the Israeli army and settler security. The settlers then proceeded to intimidate the community, which has lived in the area for 25 years, by circling their community carrying guns and taking photographs and video of its inhabitants. During the first night the Maskiot tent brought in a generator and played loud music until four am -around the time when the people of Al Maleh normally rise in order to herd their sheep. By Monday evening the settler tent had already expanded to three times its original size, and lines which could not be crossed by Palestinians had been established. People from Maskiot were doing shifts in the tent, with around 10-20 settlers present at any one time. In a strong show of collective defiance, Palestinians from areas close by came to show their support with Al Maleh , and on Tuesday evening a Palestinian party with singing and dancing managed to drown out the settlers’ amplified music. Al Maleh, as an area C community, are not allowed electricity by the Israeli occupation forces.

Soldier draws his gun in Al Maleh

Soldier draws his gun in Al Maleh

Throughout the next few days army and police presence by the tent increased, with soldiers frequently seen having a laugh with the settlers and enforcing the illegal “border line” drawn by them. When Palestinians attempted to cross this border and reclaim their land they were met by force from both the settlers and the army. Early on Thursday morning (29th of April), in the presence of the army, police and border police, the area was declared a closed military zone and, in a move that essentially rewarded the settlers for their illegal actions, an army official instructed that both tents be dismantled. This was done voluntarily, meaning that Al Maleh now have one less tent for their community.

Although the immediate physical threat of settler outposts have now decreased, the repression in the valley continues. In the early hours of Friday the 30th, just one day after the Al Maleh eviction, a large amount of Israeli soldiers raided a house in Al Jiftlik, arresting  several people. Army, police and border police were present as they then proceeded to dig up the family’s front yard for “security reasons”. Needless to say, nothing was found on the scene. Cameras used by activists to film the event were confiscated by the police, after the army made it clear that there were people involved in this operation who could not be seen on film. The Israeli military are still refusing to release information about the location of Palestinians arrested on the day.

The communities in the valley, many of whom are Bedouin, are used to the slow and systematic ethic cleansing carried out by the Israeli state in the area. Nonetheless, these new developments are deeply worrying. It is high time for the international community to come and stand in solidarity with the Jordan Valley and to recognise the urgency of this battle.

For an article on the general situation in the Jordan Valley, including the establishment of Maskiot, see

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/71348

For a report from inside Maskiot, see http://www.brightonpalestine.org/node/611

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Leave a comment

Hebron–Dhahiriya road closed by army, locals say

Ma’an – 07/05/2010

Hebron – Israeli forces piled earth at the northern entrance of Adh-Dhahiriya, closing off the main road to Hebron on Thursday morning, in what town residents said was an attempt to restrict access to roads near settlements.

The Hebron-Dhahiriya road bypasses the Otni’el settlement, established on 150 dunums of privte Palestinian land in 1983, and Adh-Dhahiriya Mayor Sami Eshtanyur said the road overlays the water network of the town.

Eshtanyur told Ma’an the earth piled on the road came from lands adjacent to the major throughway, saying that in the process of the digging forces destroyed pipes to the town, cutting off its water supply.

The mayor said he worried that it would take days to get Israeli permission to bring equipment into the area, zoned Area C under the Oslo accords, and feared the town would be out of water until at least Sunday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she had no knowledge of the incident.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Leave a comment

Jewish settler assaults 10 year old girl, flees scene

Ma’an – 07/05/2010

Jerusalem – A Jewish settler assaulted a 30-year-old Jerusalemite woman and her daughter in front of their Old City home in the Aqbat Al-Khaledia neighborhood on Thursday night, the family reported.

Abu Ammar Abu Asab told Ma’an that his wife and two of his daughters were on their way home when a Jewish man, identified by Abu Asab as a settler, hit his youngest daughter Hazar, 10, and fled the scene.

“This is not the first time it has happened,” the father noted, explaining that he “did not bother calling the police, since whenever there is an attack they arrest my family and not the settlers.”

A similar incident was reported in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Thursday evening, when two children playing in the street were reportedly slapped by an Israeli settler squatting in one of the area’s homes.

The Al-Ghawi family said police arrived at the scene, took statements but did not make any arrests, then demanded that the boy’s father accompany officers to the police station for hours.

Israeli police representatives were not immediately available by phone Thursday night for comment.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 2 Comments

   

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