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JFP 12/22: Afghanistan Divides Illinois Senate Primary

Just Foreign Policy News
December 22, 2009


Egypt Says It Will Block International Gaza Freedom Marchers
The Egyptian government has announced that it will not allow internationals to enter Gaza for the Gaza Freedom March (in which Just Foreign Policy is participating.) Write the Egyptian Embassy in Washington and ask them to reverse the decision.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gaza-march

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JFP 12/21: Egypt Says It Will Block International Gaza Freedom Marchers

Just Foreign Policy News
December 21, 2009


Egypt Says It Will Block International Gaza Freedom Marchers
The Egyptian government has announced that it will not allow internationals to enter Gaza for the Gaza Freedom March (in which Just Foreign Policy is participating.) Write the Egyptian Embassy in Washington and ask them to reverse the decision.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/436

Quixote Center: Contact State on Escalating Human Rights Abuses in Honduras

There has been a spike in targeted murders and abductions following the November 29th "electoral event" in Honduras, the Quixote Center reports. Call Secretary of State Clinton and register your alarm at the escalation of human rights violations in Honduras.
http://www.quixote.org/urgent-action-alert-honduras

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1) The U.S. military launched cruise missiles early Thursday against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen, ABC News reports. Until Friday, U.S. officials had "hedged" about any U.S. role in the strikes against Yemen and news reports from Yemen attributed the attacks to the Yemen Air Force, ABC says.

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Egypt Says It Will Block International Gaza Freedom Marchers

On December 31, together with more than 1000 peace advocates from around the world, I'm planning to join tens of thousands of Palestinians in a march in Gaza to the Erez border crossing to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and to demand international action to relieve Gaza's humanitarian crisis.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Egyptian government has just announced that it will not allow the internationals to enter Gaza as planned. If so, that would be a shame.

But this apparent decision could be reversed with sufficient public pressure, in Egypt and around the world. Concerned individuals can write to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington and to the Foreign Ministry in Cairo. There is also contact information for the Egyptian consulates in Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco here.

The aim of the march is to call on Israel and the international community to lift the siege, and to respond to Gaza's humanitarian crisis. The international participants will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza. Dec. 27 will mark the first anniversary of the Israeli invasion, from which Gaza has not recovered, in large measure because of the ongoing Israeli blockade, which has prevented Gaza from rebuilding.

Of course, if the Egyptian government decision stands, and the international participants are not allowed to enter Gaza, then much less international attention will be drawn to the ongoing blockade, and that would be an unfortunate setback for peace efforts, because the need for international attention is great.

JFP 12/18: US Accused on Palestinian Torture

Just Foreign Policy News
December 18, 2009


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1) Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian reports. Human rights activists say the abuses would end promptly if US pressure was brought to bear on the Palestinian authorities. A diplomat in the region said "at the very least" US intelligence officers were aware of the torture and not doing enough to stop it.

2) A leaked UN document indicated deceit on the part of rich country governments concerning the effects of promised carbon emission cuts, the Guardian reports.

3) President Obama's speech in Copenhagen prompted widespread criticism from environmental and development activists, the Guardian reports. A spokesman for the World Development Movement said: "The president said he came to act, but showed little evidence of doing so." The World Wildlife Fund said Obama had let down the international community by failing to commit to pushing for action in Congress.

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JFP 12/17: WaPo Changes its "AfPak" News Header...

Just Foreign Policy News
December 17, 2009


WaPo Changes its "AfPak" News Header
In November, members of Just Foreign Policy asked the Washington Post to change its "AfPak" news header. Stories about the US war in Afghanistan were preceded by the header, "The AfPak War: Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Just Foreign Policy noted that this news header editorialized in news stories, promoting the claims that 1) the US is "combating extremism" in Afghanistan and Pakistan and 2) Afghanistan and Pakistan are "one theater" of conflict. The Washington Post has now changed its news header, taking on board the second criticism but not the first. It now reads: "Obama's War: Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/433

Two Candles in Congress Against the Siege of Gaza
This week Members of the House are considering two actions that could have a real impact in improving living conditions for Palestinians on the ground. Reps. McDermott and Ellison are circulating a letter that calls on President Obama to press for an easing in the Israeli blockade of Gaza by making it easier for Palestinians, aid workers, and journalists to enter and leave Gaza, and by improving the access of Palestinian civilians to necessities such as clean water, food, fuel and medicine. Reps. Moran and Inglis are circulating a letter that focuses on the right of university students from Gaza to complete their studies. Urge your Rep. to sign these letters. The deadline is Friday.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gaza

Borev: WSJ Claims Venezuelan Christian Arabs Evidence of Iranian Conspiracy

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WaPo Changes "AfPak" News Header

In November, members of Just Foreign Policy wrote to the Washington Post, asking it to change its "AfPak" news header: stories about the US war in Afghanistan were preceded by the news header:

"The AfPak War: Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan"

Just Foreign Policy noted that this news header editorialized in news stories, promoting the claims that 1) the US is "combating extremism" in Afghanistan and Pakistan and 2) Afghanistan and Pakistan are "one theater" of conflict.

The Washington Post has now changed its news header, taking on board the second criticism but not the first. It now reads:

"Obama's War: Combating Extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan"

See, for example, the news story on Matthew Hoh's resignation, which is now preceded by this header.

U.S. official resigns over Afghan war
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/26/AR200910...

Of course, one consequence of Hoh's critique of the war is that the United States is not, in fact, "combating extremism," but rather promoting it.

JFP News 11/16: Two Candles in Congress Against the Siege of Gaza

Just Foreign Policy News
December 16, 2009


Two Candles in Congress Against the Siege of Gaza
This week Members of the House are considering two actions that could have a real impact in improving living conditions for Palestinians on the ground. Reps. McDermott and Ellison are circulating a letter that calls on President Obama to press for an easing in the Israeli blockade of Gaza by making it easier for Palestinians, aid workers, and journalists to enter and leave Gaza, and by improving the access of Palestinian civilians to necessities such as clean water, food, fuel and medicine. Reps. Moran and Inglis are circulating a letter that focuses on the right of university students from Gaza to complete their studies.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/431
Action link:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gaza

Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side the US Government is On With Regard to the Coup in Honduras
Mark Weisbrot reviews the timeline of a coup praised with faint damnation by the US government.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/12/16

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Two Candles in Congress Against the Siege of Gaza

Many Americans don't realize that although it might be true that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee can get seventy Senators to sign a napkin, that doesn't mean AIPAC can stop Members of Congress from taking actions to improve U.S. policy towards the Palestinians - actions that could have a real impact in improving living conditions for Palestinians on the ground. This week two such measures are being considered by Members of the House.

Representatives Jim McDermott [D-WA-7] and Keith Ellison [D-MN-5] are circulating a letter that calls on President Obama to press for an easing in the Israeli blockade of Gaza by making it easier for Palestinians, aid workers, and journalists to enter and leave Gaza and by improving the access of Palestinian civilians to necessities such as clean water, food, fuel and medicine.

The McDermott-Ellison letter asks for "immediate improvement" in the following areas:

- Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza;
- Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials,
- Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials;
- Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers;
- Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials;
- Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding;
- Access to fuel;
- Access to spare parts;
- Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and
- Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.

Two "Dear Colleague" Letters on Gaza Siege

Two "Dear Colleague" letters are being circulated in the House this week concerning the siege in Gaza. Just Foreign Policy is asking constituents to email their Representatives and ask them to sign on to both of these letters. Below is a summary and full text of both:

The McDermott/Ellison letter calls on President Obama to press for an easing in the Israeli blockade of Gaza by making it easier for Palestinians to leave Gaza and improving their access to necessities such as clean water, food, fuel and medicine. The letter notes that the siege has “devastated livelihoods, entrenched a poverty rate of over 70%, increased dependence on erratic international aid, allowed the deterioration of public infrastructure, and led to the marked decline of the accessibility of essential services.”

Moran/Inglis letter, calls on Secretary of State Clinton to put pressure on the Israeli government to allow Gazan students to travel to study at West Bank universities. The letter notes that the Israeli government has banned such travel since 2000 despite the recommendation of the Bertini report, which was incorporated in the “Road Map”, that Israel should ensure Palestinian access “to schools and universities throughout the West Bank and Gaza,” and a ruling of the Israeli High Court that allowing Gazans to study in the West Bank would likely have “positive humane implications.”

McDermott/Ellision Letter
"Support Improvements in Gaza Humanitarian Conditions"

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

JFP 12/11: Can Arlen Specter End the War in Afghanistan?

Just Foreign Policy News
December 11, 2009


Can Arlen Specter End the War in Afghanistan?
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has emerged as one of the most vocal opponents in the Senate of the President's military escalation in Afghanistan. His Democratic primary opponent, Joe Sestak, supports the war and supports the escalation. If peace advocates turn the Pennsylvania primary into a referendum on the war, it could have national impact, like the 2006 showdown between Lamont and Lieberman over Iraq.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/428

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1) U.S. groups that raise money for extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank continue to enjoy tax-exempt status in the United States, even though their actions violate international law and contradict U.S. government policy, write Andrew Kadi and Aaron Levitt in the Guardian.

2) A recent article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reports that appointees to the U.S. government have to pass a "pro-Israel litmus test" - even if their government posts don't concern U.S. policy in the Middle East, notes Stephen Walt at his blog at Foreign Policy.

3) Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan warned Israel not to use its airspace to attack Iran, Al Bawaba reports. "If Israel were to violate Turkish airspace in order to conduct reconnaissance operations on Iran, Ankara's reaction would resemble an 'earthquake'," Erdogan told an Egyptian newspaper.

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