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New Palestinian Town in West Bank
Awaits Israel’s Approval for Water

Rawabi, a heralded enterprise in the West Bank, lacks residents more than a year after its first 600 apartments were sold, becoming a cautionary tale about investing in the area.

The scenes from Gaza are indescribable. Whole families killed inside their homes. Hospitals attacked with the wounded still inside. Those trying to flee have nowhere to go, due to Israel’s and Egypt’s long-standing closure of Gaza’s borders. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights described this weekend’s Israeli military attack in the Shuja’iyah neighborhood as a “massacre.” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called it an “atrocious action.”

Collective punishment and targeting civilians are prohibited under international law. Further, the U.S. Leahy Law bars the U.S. from funding foreign military units and individuals where there is credible evidence that they took part in gross violations of human rights.

Please contact the White House and your representatives to protest the U.S. government’s continued support for Israel during an onslaught that has already killed hundreds of civilians, and to which there is no end in sight. Demand immediate enforcement of the Leahy Law in response to all reports of human rights violations, including war crimes, by the Israeli military in Gaza.

Thank you for taking action.
 Tim Flanagan, Associate editor at The Alliance

Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike hits the Gaza Strip. 7 July 2014

Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike hits the Gaza Strip.
7 July 2014

Besieged Gaza – Occupied Palestine: Since June 12, 2014, Israel has launched a heinous attack against both Gaza and the West Bank. It has so far conducted more than 100 airstrikes against civilian targets in Gaza. Nine Palestinian civilians, including three women and two children, were wounded by shrapnel, and three civilians, including two children, were injured by the flying glass.  Moreover, three civilians sustained bruises. Besides, a chicken barn, greenhouses, a country house, two barracks for fodders and sheep were destroyed, and 3000 chicks died. Israeli naval forces continue to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza waters. Therefore, Israel further aggravates the situation for Palestinians in Gaza, which has been under a brutal military siege for more than seven years and still going on.

South Park Brings Peace to the Middle East… For 10 Minutes

"…And a small penised child shall lead them.

I have a confession. For all my self-proclaimed desire to rise above the profane, I absolutely love South Park. While the majority of this last season has been a bit of a disappointment for me, the creators of South Park offered up a true gem recently with the episode, “Ginger Cow. “ For most, I suspect this episode made little sense, but for those who are “in the know” this episode felt like an inside joke between the writers and its religious viewership.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the ginger cow is a real thing, although in more proper circles its called a red heifer. While I can’t speak for other religions, in Judaism the red heifer is a special sacrifice meant to purify the whole of Israel. The process for the cow’s sacrifice is complex, and to our modern sensibilities strange.The laws of the red heifer are often used as an example of laws that can’t be explained, and anyone that reads these laws can’t help but shake their head, laugh, and/or cry. To make things a bit odder, ginger cows don’t exist (maybe we sacrificed them all?) meaning we can’t become purified. Because of this, in order for the Temple to be rebuilt, or for the messianic era to arrive, a ginger cow would need to be born. And yes, there are people out there working on genetically producing one.

South Park’s usage of the red heifer was ingenious. It had enough truth in it to be offensive, but the topic is one that allows us to laugh at ourselves alongside the rest of the world. While the red heifer was an inside joke, the episode also featured a theme that many can appreciate. The coming of the ginger cow brings with it a never-before-seen peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, when the different faiths learn that the prophecy they wanted was false, the peace crumbles. Here, the writers are making very interesting statements about the situation in the Middle East.  South Park has the violence end because of the fulfillment of a prophecy that on its own doesn’t change anything, then when the prophecy is found to be false the fighting begins again. They are essentially calling out all the different parties in the Middle East conflict, saying that since something as simple as a ginger cow could solve the problems between them, their fighting is unnecessary, yet this idea is either reinforced or countered by their warring again by the end of the episode. On a simple level, this shows that the parties are fighting for no reason. Yet, it could be making a different statement—one that I am more prone to agree with—in that it shows that there really isn’t a simple solution to the situation, that putting a Band-Aid on the problems would only result in a temporary peace.

Of course, I might just be reading my own ideas into the episode. Either way, “Ginger Cow” was an excellent episode, and a classic example of what makes South Park so great. And it has Van Halen."

The right to rebellion is the right to seek a higher rule... GEORGE ELIOT

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The two officers who had been disciplined in the brutal
beating death of James Chasse, Jr. were ordered to have their records
expunged and back payments made for the 80 hours each was suspended.
As long as we continue to have little police accountability in Portland,
avoidable killings of innocent people will continue.

For all we can know

The Universe begins and ends

in each of us,

in the reach of our own hands.

     ~From Time on Our Hands, by Max Linden Levy

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