Noam Chomsky speaks after Israel denies him entry to the West Bank

Richard Silverstein has posted on his blog, Tikkun Olam, here, a youtube video of an Al-Jazeera TV interview with a tired but fit Noam Chomsky in Amman on Sunday evening, after both he and his daughter were denied entry into the West Bank earlier in the day:

In the interview, Chomsky tells Al-Jazeera that he is “not angry, but disappointed and surprised”.

Asked to comment on the Israeli Ministry of Interior spokesperson’s remark that it was a “misunderstanding, Chomsky said “I can’t see anything to misunderstand”.

Continue reading Noam Chomsky speaks after Israel denies him entry to the West Bank

The People of the Book

There are several holy books in this region (and more in other parts of the world). Here, Pope Benedict XVI holds up the Gospels in Amman this weekend.

Pope Benedict XVI holds up the Gospels in Amman

As he greets the faithful and others in Jordan — including Christians from other Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq) who will not be able to join the Pope in his visit to the Holy Land, he appears to be reflecting on the tests that lie ahead.  Is he up to it?

The Pope in Amman

This graphic from AFP shows the Pope’s itinerary during his Holy Land trip:

The Pope's Itinerary - graphic by AFP

The Pope and the Promised Land

Pope Benedict XVI landed in Jordan on Friday, and donned a traditional Jordanian red-and-white kuffiyeh.

The Pope in a Jordanian Kuffiyeh being greeted by one of the faithful in Amman

The Pope in his Jordanian Kuffiyeh

Today, the Pope went to Mount Nebo, the site in Jordan from where Moses is believed to have seen the Promised Land that he would never enter after years of wandering in the desert.

Vatican photo of Pope Benedict XVI in Jordan on 9 May 2009

The Pope expressed deep respect for Islam on Friday, and on Saturday he said there was an “inseparable bond” between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.

Israeli government condemns "attempts to cast aspersions" on IDF – promises "operational investigations"

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has announced that “a Jordanian military field hospital has been coordinated between Israel and the Jordanian authorities and is scheduled to arrive tomorrow at the Gaza Strip. Some 33 trucks, with approximately 210 medical staff and equipment, will access the region at Allenby Bridge and make their way to the Gaza Strip via Erez Crossing”.

At its weekly cabinet meeting, the Israeli government adopted a statement saying that “As a moral army without peer, the IDF took care to act in accordance with international law and did its utmost to prevent harming civilians who were not involved in the fighting, including their property, and to this end, inter alia, distributed very many flyers and also used the local media and the local telephone network in order to deliver timely general and detailed warnings to the civilian population. The IDF also acted to provide for the humanitarian needs of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip during the fighting …”

The Israeli cabinet statement added that:
As in any operation, the IDF will undertake operational investigations, and draw lessons and the necessary conclusions therefrom. The Government expresses its full confidence in this serious process and ascribes national importance to them. The Government condemns and rejects the attempts to cast aspersions on the character of the IDF, its soldiers and commanders, and expresses its confidence in its norms and values” …

On January 10, Human Rights Watch posted a statement on their website saying it believed the IDF is using White Phosphorous in Gaza. See post here.
Continue reading Israeli government condemns "attempts to cast aspersions" on IDF – promises "operational investigations"

Israeli revised plan for rebuilding Mughrabi Gate ramp may be approved soon

Green door of Mughrabi Gate to Haram as-Sharif - 12 June 2008

“Tensions may be heating up again about Israeli reconstruction plans for a damaged ramp leading from the Western Wall Plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem, where Jewish worshippers pray at Judaism’s most sacred and revered site, up to the Mughrabi Gate entrance to the Haram as-Sharif mosque esplanade, the third holiest site of Islam. A revised Israeli design to rebuild the ramp is expected to receive Israeli government approval imminently…”

Ramp under repair leading from Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem up to Mughrabi Gate entrance to Haram as-Sharif - 12 June 2008

Read the full post here .