I Gaze Upon Angels

No more curses you can't undo left by fathers you never knew

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Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land - Diplomacy and Defense

Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot.

The announcement follows the cabinet’s decision last week to take over the land in response to the June kidnapping and killing of three teenage Jewish boys by Hamas militants in the area.

Peace Now, which monitors settlement construction, said it was the largest Israeli appropriation of West Bank land in 30 years.

David Perl, head of the Gush Etzion local council, said the “declaration of some 4,000 dunams as state land paves the way for the establishment of Gvaot, a new city in Gush Etzion. I want to congratulate the prime minister and the government of Israel on their promotion of the initiative, and the defense minister and head of the civil administration on getting the decision approved.”

The appropriated land belongs to five Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem area: Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin.

The move is the latest of a series of plans designed to attach the Etzion settlement bloc to Jerusalem and its environs. Construction of a major settlement, known as Gvaot, at the location has been mooted by Israel since the year 2000. Last year, the government invited bids for the building of 1,000 housing units at the site, and 523 are currently under construction. Ten families now live on the site, which is adjacent to a yeshiva.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told IDF Radio last night that the timing of the announcement was inappropriate. “Israel now needs to be recruiting the world to prevent steps being taken against it, and to work together with those moderate forces” she said. “Anything that can turn attention toward us and arouse criticism against us hurts the very things we are trying to achieve.”

Palestinian officials did not seem very surprised last night by the Israeli cabinet decision. Immediately after last week’s cease-fire, Haaretz reported that senior officials in the Palestinian Authority were turning to the United Nations and the European Union warning that Israel was taking steps whose goal was to strengthen its hold on territories beyond the Green Line.

“It’s been proven that this government has no intention of moving forward with the peace process,” one senior PA official told Haaretz.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called on Israel yesterday to cancel the takeover. “This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,” Abu Rudeineh said.

Israel maintains that construction at Gvaot would not constitute a new settlement because the area is officially designated a neighborhood of a long-standing settlement, Alon Shvut. However, the area of Gvaot lies several miles away from Alon Shvut.

Filed under Israel Israeli settlements Gush Etzion West Bank Bethlehem Gvaot

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Islamic State siege on Iraq town ends | Toronto Star

Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen on Sunday broke a six-week siege imposed by the Islamic State extremist group on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, as a suicide bombing killed 14 people in Anbar western province, officials said.

Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday.

Speaking live on state TV, al-Moussawi said the forces suffered “some causalities,” but did not give a specific number. He said fighting was “still ongoing to clear the surrounding villages.”

Breaking the siege was a “big achievement and an important victory” he said, for all involved: the Iraqi army, elite troops, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias.

Turkmen lawmaker Fawzi Akram al-Tarzi said they entered the town from two directions and were distributing aid to residents.

About 15,000 Shiite Turkmens were stranded in the farming community, some 105 miles (170 kilometres) north of Baghdad. Instead of fleeing in the face of the Islamic State group’s rampage across northern Iraq in June, the Shiite Turkmens stayed and fortified their town with trenches and armed positions.

Residents succeeded in fending off the initial attack in June, but Amirli has been surrounded by the militants since mid-July. Many residents said the Iraqi military’s efforts to fly in food, water and other aid had not been enough, as they endured the oppressive August heat with virtually no electricity or running water.

Nihad al-Bayati, who had taken up arms with fellow residents to defend the town, said some army units had already entered while the Shiite militiamen were stationed in the outskirts. He said residents had fired into the air to celebrate the arrival of the troops.

“We thank God for this victory over terrorists,” al-Bayati told the Associated Press by phone from the outskirts of Amirli. “The people of Amirli are very happy to see that their ordeal is over and that the terrorists are being defeated by Iraqi forces. It is a great day in our life.”

State TV stopped regular programs and started airing patriotic songs following the victory announcement, praising the country’s security forces. They have been fighting the militants for weeks without achieving significant progress on the ground.

On Saturday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against the Sunni militants and air-dropped humanitarian aid to residents. Aircraft from Australia, France and Britain joined the U.S. in the aid drop, which came after a request from the Iraqi government.

The Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said military operations would be limited in scope and duration as needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Amirli and protect the civilians trapped in the town.

The Islamic State extremist group has seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land in northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It views Shiites as apostates and has carried out a number of massacres and beheadings — often posting grisly videos and photos of the atrocities online.

The U.S. started launching airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group earlier this month to prevent the insurgents from advancing on the Kurdish regional capital Irbil and to help protect members of the Yazidi religious minority stranded on Mount Sinjar, in Iraq’s northwest, U.S. planes also dropped humanitarian aid.

The U.S. also launched airstrikes near Mosul Dam — the largest in Iraq — allowing Iraqi and Kurdish forces to retake the facility, which had been captured by Islamic State fighters.

Earlier Saturday, the U.S. Central Command said five more airstrikes had targeted Islamic State militants near Mosul Dam. Those attacks, carried out by fighter aircraft and unmanned drones, brought to 115 the total number of airstrikes across Iraq since Aug. 8.

On Sunday night, police officials said a suicide driver rammed an explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint in Ramadi city, killing 14 people, including nine policemen. About 27 people were also wounded in the attack.

Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province, is 115 kilometres (70 miles) west of Baghdad.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Filed under Iraq Islamic State Amirli Islamic State of Iraq and Syria violence

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An attempt to reconstruct the apperance of a high-status mycenaean woman.

It’s possible that mycenaean women of high social status, noblewomen and priestesses, painted their faces for ceremonial occasions, using white lead. Such make-up would give their face mask-like appearance, letting temporarily remove the individual behind said mask and play a certain role instead.

The Ancient Worlds with Bettany Hughes: Helen of Troy

(via konguloarkonan)

Filed under ancient Greece eee

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Gigantic Viking Post, Part I - Historical Background/What Are Vikings/Oh Dear God I Wasted So Much Time On This


Hello, Tumblr.

I notice you’re getting some things wrong about history. Specifically, I notice you are getting some things wrong about Vikings. I don’t necessarily blame you! There’s a lot of misinformation out on the websternets, and on Tumblr, and in pop culture as a whole, and unless you take an actual deep interest in early medieval European history there’s no reason for you to be informed about a period of history that fizzled out almost a thousand years ago! Don’t feel bad about not knowing this junk.

However. I am making it my career to know this junk! And I would like to share what I know with you, so we can know things together!

Qualifications/disclaimer: I am an undergraduate history major focusing on the early medieval period in western and northern Europe. I have some basic knowledge of Latin, Old Norse, and Anglo-Saxon. I am writing from a Western perspective. This is not meant to be a Scholarly Thing; this has been researched, but this is not exhaustive or a PhD thesis or the summit of All Human Endeavor. This is simply me being simultaneously a huge excited nerd and a huge arrogant jackass. Please feel free to angrily correct me on anything and everything – put it in an ask rather than a reblog. I’m not going to cite in-text but I will have a list of resources at the end of every post. 

Tentative Posts:

Part I - What Are Vikings? (Hint: You Aren’t One)

Part II - A Brief History of Pillaging (Or, An Excuse For Me To Post Pictures Of Early Medieval Metalwork)

Part III - Myth Conceptions: Religion And Culture and Sources of Both, Which I Will Totally Not Illustrate With Pictures from Thor 2 (Also I’m Going to Talk About Seiðr And Ergi And Ladies And Stuff, How Exciting)

Part IV - Iceland, Greenland, Vinland, Serkland, And Why You Need To Stop Treating The Sagas As Infallible, Good God

Part IV - Origins of the Modern Image of Vikings (Aka The Post Where I Talk A Lot About Fascism And Nationalism And Metal And Victorian Romanticism of the Middle Ages And Get Really Mad About Idiot Fucking White Supremacists)

Got that? Kay cool let’s go.

Genesis: A Strange Burning Sensation In The Watery Bits

Imagine you’re a monk.


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Filed under medieval history vikings