Friday, August 2, 2013

On Ramadan, seeing Israel for the first time | The Times of Israel

    • Jallad was one of nearly 180,000 Palestinians who received special permits to enter Israel throughout the month of Ramadan this year.
    • According to Israel’s office for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which issues the entry permits, some 800,000 Palestinians crossed into Israel from the West Bank last Ramadan “for family visits, prayers, and pilgrimage to holy Muslim sites.” The number this year is expected to surpass 1 million.
    • The change in Israeli policy includes exempting all Palestinians over the age of 60 from entry permits to Israel and allowing all men over 40 to attend Friday prayers in Jerusalem with no need for a permit. Extended family members of Israelis are also allowed to enter, as well as children under the age of 12 accompanied by their parents.


      ‘The moment I entered Israel I was surprised; I felt like I was in Europe. There’s a total difference between the West Bank and Israel’


      COGAT has issued 6,000 daily prayer permits this year; 23,500 permits for Friday prayers; and some 150,000 family visitation permits.

    • “It is our right to be here just as much as it’s the Jews’ right,” said Atef, 17, who makes his living cutting potatoes into french fries for West Bank restaurants. “Our permit says ‘Israel’ on it. This isn’t Israel, it’s our land. Why should you enjoy yourselves while we can’t?”
    • Back at the Sheraton beach, Jallad of Tulkarem said that, although his permit required him to return home before 10 p.m. and forbade him to work in Israel, he would like to spend another day or two in Tel Aviv trying to earn some money for the upcoming holiday. As a laborer in Tulkarem, he makes NIS 60 a day ($17), of which he gives NIS 50 ($14) to his family. A friend working as a construction worker in Tel Aviv told him that salaries in “the city that never sleeps” could reach NIS 400 ($113) a day.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mini-Guide on Different Groups’ Responses to Obama’s Trip to Israel

Mini-Guide on Different Groups’ Responses to Obama’s Trip to Israel:
Since President Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East was such a turning point for U.S. policy, I thought it should be summarized by showing characteristic responses of different groups. These are, of course, generalizations, and there are many variations.
The Far Leftist: Why has Obama been so nice to Israel? He’s sold out and become just another typical president who backs Israel. How infuriating!
The Left-Liberal: Did you see how Obama told off the Israelis and demanded they make peace? Of course, the people love him and it is only the reactionary leaders who oppose a truly great president who is doing a great job. He hasn’t changed at all; he’s just found a clearer way to articulate his position.
The “Mainstream” Liberal (Current Version): We told you so! Of course Obama loves Israel despite all of that propaganda against him, and he really showed it this time. I’m so glad I voted for him twice.
The Moderate to Conservative: Oh, no! Obama has pulled it off again! Now the Israelis love him and we’ll never get American Jews to oppose him. How depressing!
The Militant Conservative: Ha! Did you hear what he said in this speech and that speech? Insulting Israel and just attacking it while apologizing for the Palestinian side! This is just one more proof of his enmity! How infuriating!
The Palestinian View:  Obama been so nice to Israel! He’s sold out and become just another typical president who back Israel. How infuriating! Well, we expected this, so we won’t negotiate and will try either to engage in struggle or parlay our recognition as a state into getting the 1967 borders with no concessions.
The Islamists: Of course he’s just another Christian crusader as we’ve always known. He’s never helped us but just retreated out of weakness because he’s afraid of us!  This has removed the illusions that diplomacy might work. Only armed struggle will ultimately wipe Israel off the map!
The Serious Israeli Observer: Thank goodness! After more than four years of hard work and with the help of the other side’s intransigence, we got Obama to see reality in policy if not in rhetoric, which is far less important.  Perhaps a narrow escape from what would have been the most anti-Israel president in history by far. Look, the American people elect the president and then we have to deal with whomever they choose. Sure hope he wakes up about the Islamists and stays tough on Iran.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Singapore’s Lessons for an Unequal America -

  • Editorial by Stiglitz where he highlights Singapore as a role model of economic equality. Stiglitz has stated and written elsewhere many times that he believes in government wealth redistribution. He gives lip service to Singapore's non-democratic, authoritarian government that does have any First Amendment freedoms. He fails to mention that Singapore's economy is almost completely based on exports. He also fails to mention that the huge labor force of foreign worker are non-citizens who make much less money and have even fewer rights than citizens. For example, if they dare unionize, they are subject to expulsion. I find it strange and hypocritical that Stiglitz, a supporter of strong unions and labor rights, deliberately omits this. He is a bizarre and bitter person, who apparently hates America. He has the strange had of interjecting inappropriate forced smiles into his conversation.

    tags: stiglitz economics

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

String of bombings kill 101, injure 200 in Pakistan | Reuters

  • An unusually relatively honest article by Reuters about the terror war between Sunni and Shia in Pakistan. In Pakistan, the Shia comprise about 20%, so they get the brunt of it. If they were the majority, it would be the other way around. Surprising, the article is honest in pointing out that the Saudis are behind the funding of Sunni terrorist groups.

    My Diigo highlights in article:

    • (Reuters) - At least 101 people were killed in bombings in two Pakistani cities on Thursday in one of the country's bloodiest days in recent years, officials said, with most casualties caused by sectarian attacks in Quetta.
    • The bombings underscored the myriad threats Pakistani security forces face from homegrown Sunni extremist groups, the Taliban insurgency in the northwest and the less well-known Baloch insurgency in the southwest.
    • The attacks happened in a predominately Shia neighborhood and banned sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility. The extremist Sunni group targets Shias, who make up about 20 percent of Pakistani's population.
    • Targeted killings and bombings of Shia communities are common in Pakistan, and rights groups say hundreds of Shia were killed last year. Militant groups in Balochistan frequently bomb or shoot Shia passengers on buses travelling to neighboring Iran.
      The killers are rarely caught and some Shia activists say militants work alongside elements of Pakistan's security forces, who see them as a potential bulwark against neighboring India.
    • Many Pakistanis fear their nation could become the site of a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia, source of funding for Sunni extremist groups, and Iran, which is largely Shia.
    • A Taliban spokesman said they were not responsible for Thursday's bombing.
Posted from Diigo.