Tag Archives | Israel

A Challenge to Occupation? Pope Francis to Visit Palestinian Refugees in West Bank

589px-Israeli_and_Palestinian_FlagsLauren McCauley writes at Common Dreams:

On an upcoming trip to the Middle East, Pope Francis is expected to prioritize his visit with Palestinians, including a refugee camp, in a move interpreted by many as a ‘recognition’ of a future Palestinian state.

The papal “pilgrimage of prayer” is set to begin in Jordan next Saturday. From there, Francis is expected to take a helicopter directly to Bethlehem before heading to east Jerusalem, both recognized by the international community as part of Palestine.

According to Father Jamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem, the decision to visit Palestine before Israel is “a kind of sign of recognizing Palestine.”

While in Bethlehem, the Pope will meet with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmud Abbas, and then celebrate mass in front of the Church of the Nativity, before visiting a nearby refugee camp, AFP reports.

“He will have a lunch with Palestinians, with families suffering from the occupation… then he will visit Dheishe refugee camp to witness the suffering of Palestinian refugees,” Ziyyad Bandak, Abbas’s adviser for Christian affairs, told Voice of Palestine radio.

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How the US Funds Global Torture | Brainwash Update

Abby goes over a new Amnesty International report that finds that 141 countries in the world practice torture methods, including everything from severe beatings to waterboarding, while the top ten recipients of US foreign aid are all members of that list.

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Did the CIA Possess Djinn-Infested Jewellery?

Every thing I’ve ever read (fiction) about Djinn indicates that it’s never a good idea to make wishes with them. Either way, this article makes for an interesting read.

Djinn 4 - Marid

Djinn 4 – Marid (Photo credit: TheoJunior)

via Mysterious Universe

We’re all familiar with the idea of the genie (the bastardized Western version of the Djinn) appearing out of bottles to make sketchy deals with all too eager humans, but the use of jewellery and other worn accessories for magick and religious purposes dates back as far as 100,000 years ago, with artifacts appearing in places like Israel and Northern Africa.

Later on the Celts – whose recognizable design flourished across Europe through the Bronze and Iron ages beginning around 3,000 years ago – made it fashionable to wear designs like pentagrams and other pagan artwork to ward off evil spirits, or bring a good harvest to one’s village. Witches, during those pesky years where they were burned at the stake, undoubtedly hid most of their best stuff in the top drawer, similar to today’s traveling salesman leaving the wedding ring in the hotel before hitting the hotel bar.

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The Line to Kiss Sheldon Adelson’s Boots

Sheldon Adelson cropSheldon Adelson. Do you know that name? Remember it because he’s the gambling business billionaire bankrolling the Republican Party’s furthest-right elected politicians. David Firestone outlines how the latter are prostrating themselves before the Israel-uber-alles Adelson in an op-ed for the New York Times:

It’s hard to imagine a political spectacle more loathsome than the parade of Republican presidential candidates who spent the last few days bowing and scraping before the mighty bank account of the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. One by one, they stood at a microphone in Mr. Adelson’s Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition (also a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr. Adelson), hoping to sound sufficiently pro-Israel and pro-interventionist and philo-Semitic to win a portion of Mr. Adelson’s billions for their campaigns.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio made an unusually bold venture into foreign policy by calling for greater sanctions on Iran and Russia, and by announcing that the United States should not pressure Israel into a peace process.

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Nine new Dead Sea Scrolls found

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Teh...

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Tehilim) from Qumran Cave 11. The Tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew can be clearly seen six times in this portion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What else is gathering dust in storage?

via The Times of Israel

An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has been tasked with unraveling and preserving the new discoveries — an acutely sensitive process and one which the IAA says it will conduct painstakingly, and only after conducting considerable preparatory research.

Phylacteries, known in Judaism by the Hebrew term tefillin, are pairs of leather cases containing biblical passages from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

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Mistreatment of Palestinian Children Continues

Pic: "Stone Cold justice" (C)

Pic: “Stone Cold justice” (C)

César Chelala writes at Common Dreams:

An Australian documentary just released titled “Stone Cold Justice” alleges that some Palestinian children were being physically abused and forced into false confessions by the Israeli military to gather intelligence on Palestinian activists. Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, states in the documentary, “The natural reaction is that this is intolerable – these are intolerable cases, and that I would like my authorities to do their utmost to make sure that this will not be repeated and that this will change. And I believe that this is precisely what we are doing.”

Jewish leaders in Australia issue a blistering rebuke on what they call a “quasi-documentary”. They claim the documentary was a “blanket demonization” of Israel, “laced with sensationalism, inadequate skepticism and fact-checking.” An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) official debunked the allegations of torture contained in the documentary, and branded its director’s portrayal of the Israeli court system as “fictitious, blatant and malicious.”

The documentary comes after a 2013 UNICEF report entitled “Children in Israeli Military Detention (pdf),” which was sharply critical of Israel’s treatment of detained Palestinian children and youths.

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Ariel Sharon (RIP): Hero or Butcher?

Ariel Sharon, by Jim Wallace (Smithsonian Institution)Israeli politician Ariel Sharon has died. CNN asks what his legacy should be: hero or butcher?

Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who died Saturday at age 85, made a name for himself as a military and political leader who put Israel’s security above all else.

It was a position that earned the controversial figure the nickname “the bulldozer” as a fearless leader who got things done.

To many Israelis, he was a hero. To some in the Arab world, he was a killer.

Here are five things to know about Sharon:

Some saw him as a war hero: Sharon, who rose through the ranks of the Israeli Defense Forces, first gained hero status among Israelis during the 1967 Six-Day War that saw Israel attack Egypt, Jordan and Syria to counter what they saw as an impending attack by the Arab nations.

Under Sharon’s command, Israeli troops routed Egyptian forces during a nighttime battle to capture Um Cataf, a crucial crossroads in the Sinai.

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How Zionist Extremists Helped Create Britain’s Surveillance State

Flag of the Lehi movement (blue on white)A provocative title to say the least, but it’s Foreign Policy‘s not ours:

The years after World War II were not kind to Britain’s intelligence services — especially MI5, its domestic counterintelligence and security agency. In the name of austerity, funding of the nation’s intelligence services was slashed, their emergency wartime powers removed, and their staff numbers drastically reduced. MI5’s ranks were reduced from 350 officers at its height in 1943, to just a hundred in 1946. Its administrative records reveal that it was forced to start buying cheaper ink and paper, and its officers were instructed to type reports on both sides of paper to save money. And there were some serious discussions within the government, as there had been after World War I, about shutting MI5 down altogether. Unfortunately for MI5, in the post-war years it faced the worst possible combination of circumstances: reduced resources, but increased responsibilities.

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