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Bahraini protesters condemn violent regime crackdown
Bahraini protesters hold a massive anti-regime demonstration in the village of Muqsha, west of the capital Manama, December 24, 2011.
Bahraini anti-regime protesters have gathered in a village near the capital Manama to press for their demands and condemn the violent crackdown by security forces, Press TV reports.


Thousands of demonstrators gathered for the second day in the northern village of Muqsha, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Manama.

The Bahraini opposition groups that organized the demonstration said the protest would continue until February 14, the first anniversary of the popular uprising in Bahrain.

The protesters also demanded the release of political prisoners.

A massive anti-regime demonstration was also held in Muqsha in December 2011.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested or fired from their jobs since the beginning of the popular uprising in Bahrain in mid-February 2011.

On February 1, two elderly Bahraini protesters died after inhaling poisonous tear gas fired by regime forces during attacks on protesters in the village of Ma"ameer and the Naim neighborhood in Manama.

The Amnesty International called on Bahraini authorities on January 26 to “investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use.”

The organization also called on the US government to “suspend transfers of tear gas and other riot control equipment to the Bahraini authorities.”

  
US-made bomb killed Iran expert: Report
This file photo shows the funeral ceremony of assassinated Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan.
The United States provided an anti-Iran terrorist group with the bomb used to assassinate Iranian scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan last month, a report has revealed.


Two bombs were handed over to the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) in the Iraqi city of Arbil by the Americans, the Resalat daily reported on Monday.

The first bomb killed Ahmadi Roshan, but the second one was discovered by intelligence and security personnel around Resalat Square in the capital Tehran, the report said.

On January 11, Ahmadi Roshan was killed after a motorcyclist attached a magnetic bomb to his car in Tehran. Ahmadi Roshan was a chemical engineer and served as the deputy director of marketing at Iran"s Natanz nuclear facility.

The slain scientist was not the first Iranian nuclear expert targeted by a terrorist attack.

In November 2010, Majid Shahriari, was killed in a terrorist attack and Fereydoun Abbasi, the current head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, sustained injuries in another attack.

Professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, a scholar at Tehran University, was also assassinated by a booby-trapped motorbike in the Iranian capital in January 2010.

The US and its allies have resorted to various terrorist tactics to stop Iran"s peaceful nuclear program, which is under full observation of the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.


  
The Islamic Awakening is "at its very beginning" and not simply limited to Arabs but influencing uprisings across the globe, an international lawyer tells Press TV.



“This standing up, this uprising is broader than just Arabs for example and I think we"re just at the very beginning of it,” said Franklin Lamb in a Friday interview.

The American lawyer said he thought “the Islamic Awakening is so broad and so deep that it is influencing the American public and the world generally,” and the West should "be encouraged" by the Islamic Awakening and "respond" to it.

Lamb further said that the West is going to learn a lot from the uprisings in Islamic countries, mentioning that they will "learn a lot about Islam" and "respect it increasingly."

Since January, revolutions have swept through the Middle East and North Africa unseating dictators such as the Tunisian Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Egyptian Hosni Mubarak, and the Libyan Muammar Gaddafi.

Despite violent crackdowns, countries such as Yemen and Bahrain are also currently engaged in massive near-daily demonstrations against their despotic US-backed rulers.

Protests have also spread to the US and Europe, where demonstrators are braving police brutality to participate in rallies against capitalism, corporatism, and austerity cuts.

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The Israeli regime has compensated the British government for restoring a British cemetery in Gaza despite being responsible for the death of tens of British troops.


After the British government accused the Israeli regime of damaging headstones at a Gaza cemetery in which British soldiers are buried, Israeli officials paid Britain nearly $63,000 for the restoration of the cemetery.

The Commonwealth War Graves cemetery is where over 35,000 soldiers, mostly British soldiers, who died during World War I are buried. The amount paid by the Israeli regime was half the sum the Commonwealth War Graves Commission had asked for, as Israel refused allegations made by the commission.

“The Gaza War Cemetery was damaged in 2009 when shells fell in the cemetery. Some structures were hit, turf was gouged and scorched and more than 350 headstones were damaged, some of them beyond repair,” said Peter Francis, a spokesman for the commission.

The Israeli regime"s decision takes the lid off its hypocritical nature in dealings with even its own staunch allies.

On 22 July 1946, a bomb exploded at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where the central offices of the British Mandatory authorities of Palestine were located, killing 91 and injuring 46.

The attack, which was organized by a right-wing Zionist organization Irgun, was considered the deadliest directed at the British during the British rule over Palestine from 1923 to 1948.

The Zionist organization placed a bomb in the basement of the hotel which housed offices of the British military headquarters.

The attack was a response to British security forces" raid on the Jewish Agency during which they made thousands of arrests and confiscated many documents.

Moreover, the British-Zionist conflict led to the death of the British minister of state in Cairo at the hands of Zionist rebels determined to forcibly evict the British authorities from Palestine.

Furthermore, in 1947, in response to the execution of three of its members, Irgun killed two British Sergeants.

The hypocritical nature of British-Israeli ties becomes more obvious as they are engaged in talks over damage to a cemetery while Israel"s war crimes led to the death of over 1,400 Palestinian civilians and Israel"s use of white phosphorus and toxic metals has resulted in an increase in the number of babies born with birth defects and a 30% increase in cancer cases.


  
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Thousands of Palestinians and pilgrims celebrated Christmas Eve of 2011 in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, where Jesus is said to be born. A large segment of Palestine"s Christian population, as well as


Muslim Palestinians, pilgrims and tourists filled the streets of Bethlehem to participate in the Christmas Eve activities organized by the Bethlehem Municipality.

The Christmas decorations in Bethlehem, the huge turnout, as well as the marching bands and live performances in Nativity square, located in front of the Church of Nativity could have been more festive, if not for the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement.

According to experts, the Bethlehem district has lost 87% of its lands to Israel"s apartheid wall, and the remaining 13% of Palestinian land is surrounded by the wall. Regardless of the apartheid wall, and various other Israeli violations and restrictions, thousands of Palestinians and tourists attended the Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem.

Most observers agree that the celebration of Christmas by Palestinian Christians and Muslims together only attributes the historical relationship of unity in Palestine.

Despite the usual travel restrictions and despite the apartheid wall that surrounds this city, Palestinian Christians from the West Bank, Gaza, and other cities celebrated Christmas in the city.


  

Palestinian protestors march toward Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh, July 2010.
The Israeli Palestinian conflict is often the story of Palestinians killed in defense of their lands occupied by Israel, whose blood is leading the oppressed nation to a gradual but final victory.


Mustafa Tamimi was a 28-year-old resident of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. His meticulously trimmed beard served as the centerpiece of his handsome face.

In December 2009, when an Israeli soldier shot him from a short distance with a tear gas canister, half of Mustafa"s face went missing. More soldiers laughed as his horrified family tried to accompany him to a nearby hospital, according to activists present at the scene. Only the mother was finally able to obtain a special permit from the Israeli military, which allowed her to be with her son.

Mustafa"s crime? He, along with Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists, protested the besiegement of Nabi Saleh by the illegal Jewish settlement of Halamish.

Halamish has existed since 1977 and drastically grown in size and population ever since, taking over privately-owned Palestinian land.

Nabi Saleh, on the other hand, has been struggling for mere survival as its fresh water spring has also been seized by settlers under the watchful eye of the Israeli army.

Mustafa died so that the village of Nabi Saleh could live. The struggle will continue for years.

A young man may now be gone, but he also left behind a legacy which has become the cornerstone of the augmenting international solidarity with Palestinians around the globe.

The struggle for justice in Palestine is ultimately between a Palestinian - protesting, with a rock or rifle in hand - and an Israeli, often equipped with the latest killing technology the arms industry has to offer. The former fights for basic rights - land, water, freedom, equality and such - while the latter is determined to intimidate, silence, imprison, and, when compelled, commit murder or even large scale massacres to prolong Israeli occupation and military dominance over Palestinians.

Things are not always so clear-cut, of course. Some Palestinians have learned with time the benefits of co-existing with the occupation. Some Israelis have jointly struggled with Palestinians against the inhumanity of the occupation, the brutality of the military and the illegality of the land seizure.

One such Israeli is Tamar Fleishman, of Machsom Watch. She is simply indefatigable. Her mission is to document the daily violations committed by the Israeli army at a series of checkpoints extending between Ramallah (in the West Bank) and Jerusalem.

Showing a complete disregard for international law, and even the official foreign policy of the United States, Israel has insisted that the entirety of Jerusalem is Israel"s eternal capital. But illegally occupied East Jerusalem - or al-Quds - has been the beating heart of Palestinian national, religious and even intellectual identity for many generations.

To split the heart from the body, Israel has been choking occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, encircling it with illegal Jewish settlements, Jewish-only bypass roads, and a dizzying checkpoint structure intended to create a permanent divorce between the West Bank and a city that Palestinians see as their future capital.

Armed with a camera and her own willpower, Tamar is relentless. She knows by name all the tired-looking children who sell tea in plastic cups, newspapers and gum at all the checkpoints. She narrates their stories of humiliation, pain and struggle. She tells of the people crammed between glass walls, barbed wire and blocks of cement. As long as these women and men keep the checkpoints populated, Jerusalem will maintain its historic attachment with the rest of Palestine.

And Tamar, the habitual visitor of these very spots, will resume her daily toil to convey the stories that capture the essence of this enduring conflict.

But without the numerous media outlets that challenge the inherent pro-Israeli bias, censorship and apathy of mainstream media, Mustafa"s story and Tamar"s photos would have remained confined to Nabi Saleh, or some checkpoint manned by cruel soldiers.

In fact, the story of Palestine is getting more than a good share of coverage in old and new alternative media outlets. 2011 has concluded on a positive note as far as media coverage of this conflict is concerned.

In an article entitled "The media consensus on Israel is collapsing", Jordan Michael Smith reveals that “slowly but unmistakably, space is opening up among the commentariat for new, critical ideas about Israel and its relationship to the United States” (salon.com, December 21).

While Smith rightly credits the academics Tony Judt, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer for “expanding the permissible,” the pressure on mainstream media has been obstinately championed by numerous individuals from all walks of life. It is they, who, for many years, refused to subscribe to the convenient narrative that venerates and vindicates Israel - not only at the expense of Palestinians, but also at the expense of the United States" foreign policy.

The popular solidarity movement continues to score new victories with each passing day. Israel"s attempt at countering its gains seems to achieve little more than inviting controversy, which actually recruits more support for Palestinian rights.

One platform that has become very successful in recent years, and particularity so in 2011, was the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“The BDS movement is growing relentless,” wrote Eric Walberg, author and editor at al-Ahram Weekly. His "BDS Updates" regularly highlight the overwhelming success of the worldwide initiative that is partly modeled on the triumphant anti-Apartheid movement of South Africa.
His year-ender updates for 2011 included the cancelation of an Israel tour by the famous musician Natacha Atlas (though sadly, not all artists were so principled).

Walberg also reported that “in a wonderfully shocking divestment move, Israeli powers-that-be are furious at BNP Paribas for shutting down its operations in Israel. (They) believe the bank"s board of directors caved to pressure groups, in the first case in years of a foreign bank leaving Israel…” Such reports are now stable items crowding social media channels on a regular basis.

True, 2011 had its share of tragedy. Human lives were lost in Palestine. But hope was also sustained by the sacrifices of numerous "ordinary" people who collectively managed to achieve many hard-earned feats.

It is these numerous small victories that will make it difficult for Israel to continue with its futile campaign to occupy and dominate a people so determinately entrenched in their land - from the small village of Nabi Saleh to the proud Palestinian city of al-Quds.



  
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