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    When "drones" circle Syria's skies

    Estimates of the number of fighters in the Islamist Al-Nusra Front are numerous and no one can be sure of the correct figure. Perhaps ten to twenty thousand fighters are spread across battalions and brigades in the rural areas of Aleppo and Idlib. They arrived recently from eastern parts...
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    Obama visit and Israeli penchant for conflict...

    President Barack Obama's visit to the Middle East has coincided with the 10th anniversary of the killing of American peace activist Rachel Corrie. She was murdered by an American-made and financed Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003. It is unlikely the President or any in his entourage will remember...
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    Demonisation of Palestinians continues in Egypt thanks to the old regime

    The past week has seen a lot of media speculation about seven Palestinians who were taken into custody as they tried to enter Egypt and their subsequent release. Was their treatment merely coincidental or the last shout of a phase of Egyptian history that the nation rejected and revolted...
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    Government of settlements first and last

    Benjamin Netanyahu's third government (and Israel's thirty third) does not offer Palestinians anything new: it will be more of the same; the expansion of illegal settlements, aggression and the confiscation of lands, rights and sanctities. For the first time, illegal Jewish settlers themselves sit in the government and Knesset...
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    Dismantling the myth of peace in Obama's discourse

    Obama's speech at the Jerusalem Convention Centre was the culmination of an attempt to further humiliate Palestinians. The affirmation of US support to Israel was imparted in selective rhetoric focusing on the necessity of Jews to struggle for the right to a national homeland. Israel is portrayed as an...
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    Obama, the Israel sycophant

    Never in my life have I seen a president that fawns over the Israelis, begs for their approval, sings their praises and lauds their achievements and history like the American President, Barack Obama. Obama set a historic record in his country by becoming the first elected non-white president. However,...
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    Just where does Israel's legitimacy stem from anyway?

    All of the major pro-Israel Lobbyists, including Barack Obama just a few days ago, have used the word "delegitimisation" to condemn critics of the State of Israel and its policies. Earlier this month, the British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband affirmed his status as a Zionist in a speech...
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    The Arab Spring: What did it do for women?

    Earlier this year year London played host to the highest ranking female politician in the Arab world, her position made possible by the advent of the Arab Spring – and specifically the Jasmine Revolution which catalysed it in her home country of Tunisia. Mehrezia Labidi came to hold the...
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    The naked truth about Tunisia's topless protester

    Tunisian feminist Amina Tyler says that she set out to highlight the issue of women's rights when she posted topless pictures of herself on the Femen website. Since you can see topless girls on Page 3 in Britain's largest selling newspaper and similar full frontals across other European print...
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    So why did Netanyahu apologise to Turkey now?

    Under normal circumstances, when one country apologises to another it usually passes without comment. When the country doing the apologising is Israel people sit up and take notice. Israel is not accustomed to apologising to anyone; in fact, it is more often on the receiving end of apologies, deserved...
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    Herzliya Conference outlines Israeli concerns

    This year's Herzliya Conference in Israel was held amid the state's fears of the rapid political changes in the region. This prompted the organisers to invite many Israeli officials and international figures to attend, including European prime ministers and senior officials in international economic institutions and organisations. Herzliya is...
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    Israel's impunity and its culture of torture

    The recognition of torture in Israeli prisons is subject to a host of narratives, entrenching it within a distinct, yet hidden realm. Since the start of Israel's illegal occupation, thousands of Palestinians have been tortured in a manner reminiscent of the macabre extravagance now associated with Guantanamo and Abu...
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    The proxy war destroying Syria

    Writing about Syria is emotionally draining and intellectually overwhelming. Evident by the level of destruction and killing, the mutual hatred between President Bashar Al Assad's regime and the armed opposition surpasses their love of country. More than 70,000 have been killed and, not counting internally displaced Syrians, there are...
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    This year's Land Day serves as a reminder of the on-going ethnic cleansing

    On 30 March, Palestinians around the world will commemorate Land Day. It marks a day in 1976, when Israeli security forces shot dead six Palestinians and injured around 100 more, as they protested against Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country's north. Israel had announced plans to expropriate...
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    The Arab-Israeli conflict needs to retake centre stage

    There is an ongoing discussion in the media and social media about the Arab-Israeli conflict going back to centre stage in the Arab world. What's new is that the belief is being voiced louder following national revolutions in Arab countries since December 2010 even though Arab individuals are more...
  • Palestinians commemorate Land Day in Gaza on 30 March 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
    Article

    The significance of Land Day

    Exactly thirty-seven years ago, on 30th March 1976, the people of Palestine rose up against Israel's occupation of their land. After 28 years of living under curfews and restrictions on movement; oppression, terror and racism; impoverishment; seeing their land stolen from them and villages demolished inside the Zionist state...
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    A profession in danger

    A group of young journalists, men and women, visited me recently to complain about the pressure that is exerted on them by their editors, particularly in the privately-owned newspapers. They say that they have been asked to favour one party over another in their coverage of events in Egypt....
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    Ideological rigidity and political realism

    I attended two meetings this week in Gaza which were also attended by Wadah Khanfar, the former director general of Al-Jazeera, Basheer Nafi, of Al-Jazeera Centre for Studies and a group of academics and youth, most of whom would be classed as Islamists. My attendance was unexpected but provided...
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    What is Abbas cooking up with Jordan?

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas surprised us by flying to Amman and signing an agreement that stipulates that Jordan's King Abdullah is the protector of the holy sites in Jerusalem and has the right to take all necessary legal measures to preserve them, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was a surprise...
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    Why are so many Israelis rushing to leave the "promised land"?

    The average annual income for an Israeli citizen is $19,000, which is 17 times greater than that of Palestinian in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel is one of the few states which have survived the current global financial crisis relatively unscathed and the security situation...
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    A critical look at Zionist education and racism

    Zionist narrative expects Israeli children to be imbued with a false sense of nationalism which is instrumental to the preservation of its illegally-acquired land. This abstract narrative, incorporating the unification of Jewish identity contrasted with the orientalist image of Palestinians, forms the basis of a culture based upon indoctrination...
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    How do we explain US policies in the Middle East?

    Barak Obama's visit to the Middle East did nothing to revive the moribund peace process; nor did he try to halt Israel's illegal settlement programme. In fact, the US president's visit concentrated on two things: confirming the special and strong relationship between the United States and Israel, despite Obama's...
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    US aid: an opiate for Palestinians

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed a $3.9 billion national budget for the 2013 fiscal year just one day before the March 31 deadline. The budget was approved without the required constitutional review and endorsement of the Palestine National Council. The state's projected revenue for this year is $2.6bn, leaving...
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    Freedom of expression has limits in a responsible society

    The media has played a vital role in the Arab Spring, from social networks to TV stations. It would be foolish to think otherwise, but if the media was not available the old regimes would have found it much easier to suppress the wishes of the people. Commentators have...
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    Hamas needs to build a broader political future in Egypt

    It is no secret that Hamas was happy for Dr. Mohammad Morsi to win the Egyptian presidential elections. The source of most of its regional strength lies in Cairo, allowing the Islamic Resistance Movement to live through a "honeymoon" period after the fall of the Mubarak regime, which was...
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    Hamas needs to build a broader political future in Egypt

    It is no secret that Hamas was happy for Dr. Mohammad Morsi to win the Egyptian presidential elections. The source of most of its regional strength lies in Cairo, allowing the Islamic Resistance Movement to live through a "honeymoon" period after the fall of the Mubarak regime, which was...
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    Deir Yassin remembered

    Today is the 65th anniversary of the massacre at Deir Yassin, a village near West Jerusalem. Early in the morning of 9 April 1948, around 120 members of the underground Jewish militia groups, the Irgun (also known as the IZL), and the Stern Gang, entered the Palestinian Arab village...
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    Counting the cost of war

    On October 10, 2002 I was driving the family during a short vacation at Yosemite National Park. Indifferent to the family's holiday disposition, I scanned the radio for the best AM reception in the middle of the sparsely populated California valley trying to follow the US House of Representatives'...
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    Little change on Iran's nuclear merry-go-round

    For months – even years – Iran and the West have been engaged in circular talks about Tehran's nuclear programme. Last week's talks, in the capital of Kazakhstan, were no different. Iran met with representatives from the US, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France. According to US officials, the...
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    Human rights: An American weapon

    The US has sought to impose its philosophy, lifestyle and culture on the world ever since it became a "superpower" politically, economically, militarily and technologically after World War Two. It still claims to represent "the free world" due to its liberal values which glorify freedom, individualism and the market....
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    Another Spring: The Middle East between history of revolts and future geopolitics

    Spring is a time for optimism, with the green shoots of summer pushing through after a long winter. Alas, things in the Middle East are now very different. With every new spring that comes, people will recall the outbreak of the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia 2011 and...
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    No more sacred cows

    Is a British newspaper report of violations against protesters in a military hospital in Cairo defamatory of the Egyptian Armed Forces, justifying hostile official statements? Does it play down the role of the Armed Forces and their role in protecting the revolution in Egypt? I have more questions of...
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    Factional sedition and the challenges of Egyptian national security

    Egypt is falling victim to various incidents perceived to be the results of tension between Muslims and Christians which are sometimes targeting Christians and churches. Such incidents began in the 70s and a committee was formed to investigate the facts, but it did nothing. Assaults against Christians and their...
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    Salam Fayyad: the rise and fall... and rise again?

    Yasser Arafat's attempt to support the Aqsa Intifada in order to rebel against the terms of the Oslo Accords backfired. Far from ending the Palestinian Authority's role as a lackey of the Israeli occupation, it strengthened it, not least because Salam Fayyad was parachuted in from the halls of...
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    Dissolve the Palestinian Authority to be debt-free

    If Ismail Pasha brought foreign occupation onto Egypt after drowning it in debt, then what will Salam Fayyad and Mahmoud Abbas bring onto the Palestinians who are already under direct occupation, after they have drowned them with a $4 billion debt? Ismail Pasha was sure he could count on...
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    The revival of the old regime and the crisis of the revolution

    Surprising things happened in Egypt this week, reminding us that we were on the verge of forgetting about the revolution and opening our eyes to one or two things. At the beginning of the week, former president Hosni Mubarak resurfaced to attend his retrial. He looked as if he...
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    Lebanon: Even coffee is political

    LEBANON commemorated the 38th anniversary of its Civil War last week. In the days leading up to April 13, 1975 the country was virtually divided across sectarian lines. The military presence of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its perceived alliance with the Lebanese left and Muslims against the right...
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    Israel and the electronic war

    Despite the wide scale reaction caused by recent electronic attacks on Israel which targeted ministry websites and government facilities on the internet, it may be asserted that this attack is far from being electronic warfare of significant concern to the government and its strategic think tanks which work around...
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    So we don't shift from 'caretaker' to 'de facto' government

    Dr Salam Fayyad resigned after Palestinians had had enough of the blatant and bold international interventions in their internal affairs; and after attempts to impose a high commissioner on them reached boiling point. This became evident from the stances and statements of US Secretary of State, John Kerry. However,...
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    Is intervention in Syria closer to becoming a reality?

    On 16 April, it emerged that the US was sending 200 troops to Jordan, to establish a small headquarters near the border with Syria. While these troops will initially be helping to deliver humanitarian supplies for the huge and growing number of refugees, they will also plan for possible...
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    The question of the hour

    Opposition newspapers in Egypt insist that the Muslim Brotherhood were the ones who opened fire with shotguns during recent protests (yesterday, one newspaper mentioned what it called "The Brotherhood's shotguns"). Meanwhile, the Brotherhood insists that members of the Black Bloc and thugs attacked them during Friday's protest with shotguns...
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    Why is Israel pursuing released prisoners in the West Bank?

    If Israel could go back in time to October 2011, it wouldn't have gone through with the exchange agreement with Hamas and released 1,000 of their detained senior members, returned 111 detainees to their homes in the West Bank (45 of which are in Jerusalem), and exiled 163 others...
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    UNICEF's translation of torture to 'ill-treatment'

    UNICEF's report, Children in Israeli Military Detention, Observations and Recommendations, detailing the condition of Palestinian children detained in Israel's military jails fails to address torture as a modus operandi, relying instead on euphemisms such as "ill treatment" or "duress" to describe solitary confinement, beatings and threats of sexual violence....
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    Cloning the South Lebanon Army in the Golan Heights under Jordanian sponsorship

    Things have become clearer and there are indications that an Arab-American (Israeli) agreement regarding the Syrian issue has begun to manifest. What is important to us is the focus on the weight of Israel's security and strategic concerns within this manifesting agreement. According to what is being proposed in...
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    The odd question: Is the liberation of Palestine still possible?

    Yes. This question seems odd and the answer even odder. Nowadays, some people ask if the liberation of Palestine is necessary, as people are preoccupied with their internal wars; Sunni vs. Shi'ite, Islamists vs. Secularists. Some are busy with economic development and making a living. Despite the danger of...
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    Cairo...Doha...Tunisia... What's going on?

    It is strange that some of our brothers in Egypt and Tunisia, appearing in television, radio, or print media, have talked negatively about Qatar's authority, people and resources. What is even stranger is watching a handful of street children in Egypt being incited by new would-be politicians and the...
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    Gaza has a date with bullets and smoke

    Israel is, once again, beating the war drums against Gaza. This time it is on the grounds of the missiles from Sinai that hit Israel, which it claims came from Gaza (or rather its launchers). However, it knows with certainty that Hamas, or any other known Palestinian group, have...
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    Chuck Hagel's first visit to Israel appeases his opponents

    Chuck Hagel, the newly appointed US defense secretary, did not get off to a good start with Israel. Indeed, his appointment earlier this year was nearly derailed altogether by pro-Israel groups who claimed he was insufficiently supportive of the Jewish state. Criticisms centred on his use of the term...
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    The Islamic Bloc and university elections

    Now that student body elections season in the West Bank has come to end, there is no doubt that the Islamic Bloc needs to carefully assess its experience in light of its extended boycott, and alongside its past circumstances; to adjust its strategy and to examine the personal and...
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    Diplomacy on the firing lines

    In a comprehensive strategic sense, Jordan has a number of interests that need to be taken into account as Syria engages in an open civil-sectarian war; first of which is the unity of the Syrian state, society, and land. Otherwise, Jordan will not be isolated from the repercussions of...