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Egyptian Prime Minister on rare Gaza visit amid continued fire

Hisham Qandil
© The Associated Press
Hisham Qandil
Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil arrived in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip Friday morning for a solidarity visit to the territory, which Israel has been bombing for a third day.

Sources said Qandil crossed into Gaza through Rafah crossing on Gaza's southern border with Egypt.

Ziad al-Zaza, deputy of the de facto Hamas government's Prime Minister Ismail Haneya, received the Egyptian delegation. Haneya and other senior Hamas leaders have gone underground since the beginning of the Israeli military operation.

Israeli media reported earlier Friday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to halt airstrikes on the Gaza Strip for three hours during Qandil's visit, on condition that no rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel.

However, Israeli media reported at least 10 rockets fired at Israel's Eshkol region soon after Qandil's entry, with no injuries reported. Meanwhile, Israeli jets are also heard hovering over Gaza.

Penis Pump

How sexy is Benghazi?

The Love Pentagon - as in the Petraeus-Broadwell-Kelley-Allen-FBI shirtless torso guy - is the farce that keeps on giving. But this should really not be about sex, lies and emails. This should be about Benghazi.

Scandal or not, General David Petraeus finally accepted to testify, at a still unspecified date, to the Senate Intelligence Committee, about the 9/11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in Libya in which ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed; he may eventually be asked about what the CIA had been up to before, during and after the attack.

As for President Obama, in his first press conference after re-election he has warned Republicans - who have been trying to twist Benghazi to their own purposes for weeks now - to "go after me"; for them to go after UN ambassador Susan Rice, "who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received", and to "besmirch her reputation", that's "outrageous."


Palace Revolution

First Petraeus, then Allen - who's next?

The political class is aghast at the spectacle of one after another of their holy icons falling: first it was David Petraeus, outed by a lone FBI agent in Tampa who took the discovery of his affair with Paula Broadwell to the House Republican leadership and effectively dynamited the CIA chieftain's career. Now it's Gen. John Allen, commander of US forces in Afghanistan: the discovery of his "thousands of pages of emails" to Jill Kelley - a 37-year-old looker whose complaints of email "harassment" garnered the full attention of the FBI and led to the downfall of Petraeus - has him in the dock.

Who's next?

One could easily succumb to the temptation to simply cackle, like Madame Defarge, and attend to one's knitting as heads roll. Rather than give in to such pure indulgence, however, this writer would much prefer to pursue the answer to a puzzling question: what is going on here? Is this just about the rutting habits of the lords and ladies of Washington, the national security realm's version of Days of Our Lives - or is what we're witnessing the equivalent of a palace revolution?

Star of David

Israel would have us believe that these children are terrorists

Pictures of children killed and injured during the Israeli air strikes on Gazan civilians on November 14, 2012

"A time comes when silence is betrayal." - Rev. Martin Luther King


Comment: Israel Encourages Palestinian Rocket Attacks

Star of David

Excuse Me While I Vomit

© Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Jihad al-Masharawi, a Palestinian employee of BBC Arabic in Gaza, carries the body of his 11-month-old son Omar, who according to hospital officials was killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City 15 November, 2012.
I imagine I am not the only one who feels the need to vomit (dictionary definition - "to throw up the contents of the stomach through the mouth") when Israel's Goebbels justifies the Zionist state's ferocious and monstrously disproportionate attacks by air and sea on the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, the prison camp which is home to 1.5 million besieged and mainly impoverished Palestinians. The Israeli to whom I am referring is, of course, Australian-born Mark Regev, the prime minister's spokesman, for which read spin doctor. The more I see and hear him in action, the more it seems to me that he makes Nazi Germany's propaganda chief look like an amateur.

In a piece for The Observer on 6 June 2010, Ruth Sutherland wrote the following. "If the men from Mars ever wanted to manufacture a PR man, they would model their robot on Regev. No matter how formidable the interviewer, or how aggressive the questioning, he never buckles under pressure. His disarming Aussie accent and unfailing politeness - he calls interviewers 'Sir' and uses phrases like 'I beg to disagree' - almost lulls listeners into overlooking his aggression. He is always regretful about death and horror - he regrets that the non-Israeli victims brought their fate on themselves. Viewers are reduced to a trance of slack-jawed amazement at what he is prepared to say with a straight face. He is unlikely to win sceptics to Israel's cause, but as a PR performer he is horribly compelling."

Star of David

Finkelstein: Israel bombing civilians in Gaza to restore its 'deterrent capacity'

The Israeli military is converging on Gaza, as it continues to pummel the Palestinians from air, sea and land.

The Operation, dubbed "Pillars of Defence" - is on the verge of turning into a new invasion, as Tel Aviv says it's prepared to go all the way - under the pretext of self-defence.

3 Israelis and at least 15 Palestinians - including children and a pregnant woman - have already been killed.

Political scientist, activist and author Norman Finkelstein doubts that the current crisis in Gaza will further escalate.

Heart - Black

Israel kills teacher working with UN agency

© Latuff
A UN agency working for Palestinian refugees said that one of its teachers was killed in northern Gaza on Thursday by an Israeli airstrike, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here.

"The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) says that one of its teachers was killed on Thursday by an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza," Nesirky said at a daily news briefing here.

"Marwan Abu El Qumsan, an Arabic teacher at the Agency's Preparatory Boys School in Jabalia, was killed, while his brother was severely injured," Nesirky said.

The Relief and Works Agency expressed its condolences to Marwan 's family on their tragic loss and reiterated its concern about the escalation of violence, which puts civilians on both sides of the conflict at risk, he said.


New U.S. commander in Afghanistan pledges to stay past Obama's deadline

General Joseph F. Dunford
© Agence France-Presse/Brendan Smialowski
US Marine General Joseph F. Dunford
The incoming top commander in charge of the United States' military efforts in Afghanistan made remarks to Congress on Thursday that suggest he sees a US presence extending overseas well past US President Barack Obama's deadline of 2014.

Gen. Joseph Dunford told members of the Senate this week that he envisions the US continuing its operations in Afghanistan indefinitely, dismissing the president's long-standing promise to end America's lengthiest war during the next two years.

"[W]e'll be there beyond 2014 to secure our objectives," Gen. Dunford told lawmakers on the Hill early Thursday as he fielded questioning from Congress before they agree with Pres. Obama's decision to make him the new commander of the Afghanistan war.

Most recently the four-star officer has been tasked with serving as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, a role that has made him responsible for directing combat forces in the now-defunct Iraq war.

Despite pleas to soon end the war from Pres. Obama delivered throughout his first term in office, on the campaign trail while vying for a second term and, most recently, during his re-election victory speech, the likely next commander of US troops in Afghanistan sees the US staying overseas for the unforeseeable future. Speaking to the the Senate Armed Services Committee, the general suggested that the US cannot retire from its war overseas until the Afghan National Security Forces are properly trained to battle the insurgents that led then-President George W. Bush to send Americans into war after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Star of David

Israel Encourages Palestinian Rocket Attacks

When a people that have been dispossessed of their land, livelihoods and homes, periodically murdered and regularly terrorized, take action to resist and defend themselves, they are guilty of nothing but standing up for their human rights and their rights under international law.


BBC Arabic Photo Journalist, Jihad Masharawi, weeps as he holds his baby son who was murdered by the Israeli army today
Yesterday, Wed. 14th Nov. 2012 Israel launched the latest in a long line of "Operations" that stretch back over 60 years aimed at terrorizing the people of Palestine. By naming the attack 'Operation 'pillar of cloud" the Israeli military was unambiguous about its intent: to blow up as much of Gaza and as many Palestinians as they saw fit.

Why do Palestinians fire rockets into Israel? The vast majority of them, and I mean the VAST majority either miss their target or make a small hole in the ground far from their intended target. The rocket attacks appear to serve only as justification for the Israeli military to attack Gaza and murder Palestinians. So what's the point?

The point is that the rocket attacks are the Palestinians ONLY way of protesting against the 60 year long occupation of their land responding to unprovoked Israeli attacks against and murder of Palestinian civilians. Think about that. The Palestinians have no option to appeal to the international community because no one listens. They have zero chance of the Western media applying pressure to halt Israeli aggression and redress Palestinian grievances because the Western media is unashamedly biased towards Israel.

The Palestinians have two choices: they can sit quietly by and allow the IDF to arbitrarily and summarily murder them, or they can fire primitive rockets at the closest targets inside Israel and hope that they make the Israeli government think twice. But even here the Palestinians have a problem: the Israeli government welcomes the firing of Palestinian rockets into Israel, and they periodically provoke it.

War Whore

Israel ignores international law with Gaza bombing, enjoys U.S. and UK support

© Reuters / Baz Ratner
An Israeli soldier watches as an Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Beersheba November 15, 2012.
The latest attacks by Israel against Gaza have been condemned as a violation of international law. However the US and UK have given their unwavering support to the new strikes on Gaza.

US President Barack Obama "reiterated US support for Israel's right to self-defense in light of rocket attacks from Gaza" in a phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Meanwhile UK Foreign Secretary William Hague also stepped forward in Israel's defense, claiming that Hamas "bears principle responsibility" for the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Comment: Israel has the right to self-defense? Anyone else need a sick bag?
sick bag
© Signs of the Times

Israel has now reportedly hit over 200 "targets" in Gaza, killing 13 and injuring over 120 people.

The unwavering support by the US and the UK is astounding, considering Israel has yet to comply with to any of the resolutions passed (see list) by the United Nations in relation to the Middle East conflict

Hamas and the Palestinians have to share some of the responsibility. Ever since Israel was accused of breaking the 10 year truce in 2006, when an explosion killed eight Palestinian civilians, Hamas have launched a number of rocket strikes into Israel. However their retaliations and attacks are severely outweighed and outmuscled by Israel's military power.