U.S. "supports investigation" into death of Egyptian blogger Khaled Said

The U.S. State Department Acting Deputy Department Spokesman, Mark Toner, told journalists at a regular briefing in Washington on Friday that “We have called for – and I believe there is an ongoing investigation in that case, so we support — that investigation” [into the brutal death of Khaled Said soon after being detained by Egyptian police — see our earlier report published here].

It had to be coaxed, and it was in response to a journalist’s question, but there it is.

Here is the full transcript of the brief exchange:

Continue reading U.S. "supports investigation" into death of Egyptian blogger Khaled Said

U.S. State Department wants to limit reaction to Goldstone report on Gaza war

The U.S. State Department spokesman very deliberately made a statement on Friday about the 574-page report delivered on Tuesday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by a team led by South Africa’s Justice Richard Goldstone. For the past two and a half days, the U.S. has been studying the report, but the U.S. statements all pointed in this direction.

What the State Department spokesman said was:
“MR. KELLY: Okay. So I have a reaction to the report of the fact-finding mission of Justice Goldstone. As President Obama made clear at the time of the events covered by the report, we are deeply concerned about the loss of life and humanitarian suffering in both Israel and Gaza. As we’ve said previously, prior to U.S. membership, the UN’s Human Rights Council set forth a one-sided and unacceptable mandate for this fact-finding investigation. Although the report addresses all sides of the conflict, its overwhelming focus is on the actions of Israel… Continue reading U.S. State Department wants to limit reaction to Goldstone report on Gaza war

Maher Hanoun in East Jerusalem: "We do not want any tent – we want our home"

In the early morning hours on Sunday, Israeli Border Police broke into the homes of the Hanoun and Ghawi families in Sheikh Jarrah, north of the Old City but still part of downtown East Jerusalem, and forcibly expelled at gunpoint three families from one building (only one of them was under court expulsion order) and four from another (there, only one was under court expulsion order).

Over 50 Palestinian refugees (from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war) immediately became homeless, with nowhere to go. No provisions were made to care for their household possessions or to shelter them by the Israeli authorities who have administered the area since their conquest in the June 1967 war, and who had ordered the expulsions to be carried out.

Sunday night, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were out on the streets. “The Red Cross came and offered us tents”, said Maher Hanoun, “But we do not want any tent. We do not want rations of rice and sugar. We want to return to our home”.

Just after the eviction operation, settlers moved in, protected by the Israeli Border Police.

Israeli settlers move into Hanoun home in Sheikh Jarrah - 2 August 2009

Continue reading Maher Hanoun in East Jerusalem: "We do not want any tent – we want our home"

After Beit Hanoun report, Archbishop Desmond Tutu to receive Fulbright Prize for International Understanding at U.S. State Department

There is a message here.

Just about a month after delivering his final report — from the heart — to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza that killed 19 Palestinian civilians in November 2006, an announcement has come from the U.S. State Department saying that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is to receive the 2008 Fulbright Prize in a ceremony in Washington on Friday.

The totally unedited announcement says:
“Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Goli Ameri and the Fulbright Association will co-host a ceremony honoring Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Friday, November 21, 2008, at 11 a.m. in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State. The 2008 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding will be awarded to Archbishop Tutu for his work for peace in South Africa and elsewhere. The prize carries a $50,000 award provided by The Coca-Cola Foundation. In addition to Archbishop Tutu, other speakers will include poet Maya Angelou; Coca-Cola Company Chairman of the Board Neville Isdell; Goucher College Professor Kelly Brown Douglas; and Fulbright Association President Suzanne E. Siskel. The J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding was created by the Fulbright Association in 1993 to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, and nations to greater understanding of others. Past Fulbright Prize recipients include Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Václav Havel, Jimmy Carter, and Nelson Mandela.”