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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
28 March, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Erekat: "Olmert obstructed a peace deal with the Palestinians"
28 Mar 2009 - Dr. Saeb Erekat, head of the Negotiations Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), denied the statements of Israel’s outgoing Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, in which he claimed that he offered president Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas a full peace settlement and that he still awaits a response. ...

Hamas denies it agreed on the deportation of detainees
27 Mar 2009 - In an interview with the Arabs48 news website, Fawzi Barhoum, media spokesperson of the Hamas movement, said that Hamas did not agree on the Israeli condition to deport some of the detainees who would be freed in the framework of a prisoner exchange deal. ... 

EU presses Netanyahu to commit to a two-state solution
27 Mar 2009 - The European Union told the Israeli Prime Minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Friday that relations between the European Union and Israel could be at odds if he does not accept a two-state solution. ...

Bardaweel: "Hamas will not be committed to previously signed peace deals"
27 Mar 2009 - Salah Bardaweel, one of the political leaders of Hamas movement, stated on Friday that the movement will not recognize peace agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). ...

Settlers who attacked Israeli policemen freed
27 Mar 2009 - Five violent Israeli settlers of an illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank were released by a court decision on Friday after they were remanded for attacking under-cover Israeli policemen and vandalizing their vehicle. ... 

Palestinian FM: "New round of talks next Friday"
27 Mar 2009 - Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyadh Al Maliky, stated on Friday evening that the Palestinian factions will be holding a new round of internal talks in Cairo next Friday, April 2nd. ...

Four injured in Bil'in's weekly demonstration
27 Mar 2009 - The residents of Bil'in village, located near the central west Bank city of Ramallah, marched towards the wall today after Friday prayers. The protest was joined by Israeli and international activists. ...

13 injured at Nil'in village weekly protest
27 Mar 2009 - Scores of villagers from Nil'in, located near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, held their weekly protest on Friday midday against the illegal Israeli wall being built on village land. ...

Four injured at peaceful protest near Bethlehem
27 Mar 2009 - On Friday, more than one hundred Palestinian, Israeli and international demonstrators gathered at al-Ma'sara, a village near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. ...

Israel announces successfully testing new 'Iron Dome' interception system
27 Mar 2009 - The Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Thursday that over the last few days it has concluded a series of tests on the new “Iron Dome” interception system that can detect and intercept shells fired from the Gaza Strip. ...

Ha'aretz Defense page

Report: Israel carried out 3 attacks on Sudan arms smugglers
28 Mar 2009 - U.S. broadcaster ABC: U.S. official confirms attack on two truck convoys, sinking of ship in Red Sea.

Arab MK: IDF soldiers attacked me in Hebron
28 Mar 2009 - IDF says according to video of West Bank incident, it is clear MK Mohammad Barakeh was not attacked.

Hamas frees Fatah's Gaza officials hours after arrest
28 Mar 2009 - Fatah spokesman: Hamas launches new crackdown on Abbas loyalists in bid to prevent regrouping.

Sudan strike targeted weapons believed capable of hitting Tel Aviv
28 Mar 2009 - Air attack in January reportedly hit Iran arms convoy en route to Gaza; Olmert: Israel can operate everywhere.

Israel denies compromise with Hamas in Shalit deal
28 Mar 2009 - PMO counters Hamas claim that Israel had rescinded from initial demands and made new offer for prisoner swap.

Cast Lead expose / What did the IDF think would happen in Gaza?
28 Mar 2009 - Soldiers' testimonies about improper behavior forces IDF Spokeman's Office to confront a new reality.

Gaza witness: IDF troops told us 'Go south or you'll get shot'
28 Mar 2009 - Palestinian accounts given to AP support allegations of IDF misconduct during the war in Gaza.

Sudan says Israel 'most probably' behind attack
28 Mar 2009 - Official says struck convoy transported goods, not weapons smuggled from Iran as claimed by U.S.

Can Egypt-Israel peace survive after Mubarak leaves office?
28 Mar 2009 - Israel fears rise of Islamic regime which would transform Egypt from tranquil neighbor to threatening monster.

'Egypt boosts Sudan border troops over Gaza smuggling'
28 Mar 2009 - Egyptian reinforcement comes amid international pressure in wake of Gaza offensive, intelligences sources say.

Ex-pilots split on what Sudan strike means for Iran
28 Mar 2009 - Ex-Defense Ministry weapons chief: Operation proves Israel can hit moving targets from great distance.

ANALYSIS / Sudan has become playground for terror groups
28 Mar 2009 - Arab sources report that Sudan allows Hezbollah to operate in its territory, purchase weapons for Hamas.

Hamas: No Gaza-bound arms on Sudan convoy
28 Mar 2009 - Hamas official al-Bardawil calls reports pretext to attack Sudan; Sudan Minister: U.S. planes hit convoys.

Hamas: Israel has made new proposal for Shalit deal
28 Mar 2009 - Gaza official says Israel has dropped some demands; Mubarak to Peres: Egypt is working to free Shalit.

Ma'an News

Human rights group offers course for lawyers
28 Mar 2009 - 

Morocco to reconstruct agronomy faculty, hospital in Gaza
28 Mar 2009 - 

Report: Israel has bombed Sudan three times since January
28 Mar 2009 - 

Israeli army invades Tulkarem city and refugee camp
28 Mar 2009 - 

PA cop wounded near entrance of Ramallah refugee camp
28 Mar 2009 - 

EU donates waste collection equipment to West Bank authorities
28 Mar 2009 - 

Al-Quds University president touts Arab Peace Initiative
28 Mar 2009 - 

Gaza crisis slows move toward upgraded EU-Israel relations
28 Mar 2009 - 

Israeli military court sentences Palestinian to life, plus ten years
28 Mar 2009 - 

Israeli army arrests young man from Beit Sahour
28 Mar 2009 - 

Five injured at Al-Ma’sara anti-wall rally near Bethlehem
28 Mar 2009 - 

Report: Following airstrike, Egypt strengthens Sudan border
28 Mar 2009 - 

EU reiterates concern over Gaza, support for two states
28 Mar 2009 - 

Administrative detentions ordered for seized Hamas leaders
28 Mar 2009 -

Palestine Telegraph

Israeli blockade sinks fish industry
28 Mar 2009 - Gaza City: Marwan Abu Juma, a 43-year-old father of 10, hasn't made enough money from fishing since 2000, but his life has been particularly difficult for the past several months. "I can barely cover the expenses of fishing and save some money...

Report: IOF troops carried out 36 incursions in W. Bank during one week
28 Mar 2009 - NABLUS - The Palestinian center for human rights revealed in its weekly report that the IOF troops carried out during a one-week period at least 36 incursions in most of the West Bank cities, villages and refugee camps during which they kidnapped...

PA Welcomes EU Strong Stance on Two-State Solution
28 Mar 2009 - Rammalh, March 28, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) – The Palestinian Presidency welcomed on Saturday the EU stance not to upgrade ties with Israel if Israel abandoned the two-state solution. Nabil Abu Rudeina, the Palestinian Presidency spokesman, said that linking the development of the EU-Israeli...

Students of Gaza: Suffering like others 
28 Mar 2009 - Many university students who lost relatives or whose homes were destroyed during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive are finding it difficult to cope, according to university officials and students. Some have been unable to register for the new semester due to lack...

PLO: Olmert Sabotages Peace Process with Palestinians
27 Mar 2009 - Gaza, March 26, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) – Chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, denied the Israeli Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu statements about presenting a new proposal to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to compromise all the final status issues.

Fatah Official: Syria to involve inter-Arab conciliation, dialogue next Tuesday
27 Mar 2009 - Gaza, March 27, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) – A senior official of Fatah movement said that an Egyptian delegation headed by Omer El Qenawi, deputy head of Egypt's intelligence, had been to Damascus for conversations with Syrian officials over the inter-Arab conciliation and...

EU Urges Israel not to Abandon Two-State Solution
27 Mar 2009 - Reuters - Gaza, March 27, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) – European Union officials urged the Israeli Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu on Friday to accept the two-state solution, as the goal of the Middle East peace process. German Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier said: "We Europeans...

Zahhar: Cairo dialogue won't give way to repeat previous disavowals 
27 Mar 2009 - DAMASCUS - Senior Hamas political leader MP Dr. Mahmud Al-Zahhar has revealed on Thursday that his Movement wants the Cairo dialogue to be clear in order avoid repeating previous "bad" experiences, including disavowing certain parties obligations.

Arab League Urges Israel to Lift Blockade on Gaza
26 Mar 2009 - Gaza, March 26, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) – On Thursday, The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Mousa, stressed the importance of lifting the oppressive Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.


Mubarak absence mars Arab summit
28 Mar 2009 - Egypt's president among nine leaders absent from meeting aimed at healing divisions.

Israeli military in anthrax row
27 Mar 2009 - Experts find "grave ethical failures" in 1990s' experimental anthrax tests on soldiers.

Sudan suspects Israel of attacks
27 Mar 2009 - Two separate attacks in remote desert area killed up to 40 people, officials say.

Israel phosphorus inquiry demanded
26 Mar 2009 - Human rights group says munition was used "deliberately or recklessly" in Gaza.

Children killed in Baghdad blast
26 Mar 2009 - Women and children among 16 dead in attack in Iraqi capital's Shaab district, police say.

Netanyahu to be 'partner for peace'
25 Mar 2009 - Israeli PM-designate says he will negotiate peace with Palestinian Authority.

Israel and Egypt mark peace treaty
25 Mar 2009 - Officials cautious about the future of the "cold peace" between the two neighbours.

Palestinians mourn slain PLO leader
25 Mar 2009 - Members of Palestinian rival factions Fatah and Hamas attend Beirut funeral.

US Iraq nominee issues Iran warning
25 Mar 2009 - Obama's pick for ambassador says Tehran remains "real problem" for Iraq in the region.

Yemen arrests six al-Qaeda suspects
25 Mar 2009 - Interior ministry says the detainees were plotting 10 attacks against Western targets. 

Lebanon accepts Syrian ambassador
24 Mar 2009 - Move comes after Beirut appointed its envoy to Damascus last week and normalises ties.


OPT: Tough times for university students in Gaza 
26 Mar 2009 - GAZA CITY Thursday, March 26, 2009 (IRIN) - Many university students who lost relatives or whose homes were destroyed during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive are finding it difficult to cope, according to university officials and students. 

OPT: UN tracks rising violence against women in Gaza 
26 Mar 2009 - GAZA CITY Tuesday, March 24, 2009 (IRIN) - The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Gaza, local Palestinian NGOs and mental health professionals are reporting increased incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault against women in Gaza since the beginning of 2009. 

MIDDLE EAST: Water treatment kit for household grey water 
26 Mar 2009 - ISTANBUL Monday, March 23, 2009 (IRIN) - A kit designed to treat household waste water for reuse could be one of the ways to tackle water scarcity in rural areas of the Middle East and North Africa, according to a Canadian organisation. 

Stop The Wall

List of Actions in Palestine for March 30 - Land Day and Global BDS Day
28 Mar 2009 - March 28th, 2009 --, The people in Palestine are mobilizing for the 32nd annual commemoration of Land Day, March 30. Land Day marks the date of the Palestinian demonstration in the Galilee against a wide-scale land confiscation, when Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians, injured 96 and arrested 300. See the full list of actions here. [

Al-Ezariya house demolitions
28 Mar 2009 - March 27th, 2009 --, Earlier this month, Occupation machinery demolished a house in al-Ezariya as well as several Bedouin tents and animal pens. A total of 39 people lost their homes. These demolitions, however, only represent a small fraction of the targeted structures in Jerusalem. Collectively, hundreds of structures housing thousands of people face demolition threats in Palestinian communities across the city.

PCHR Latest

PCHR Contests Distortion of Gaza Strip Death Toll
28 Mar 2009 - 

PCHR Appeals for Action to Save Lives of Gaza Strip Patients
28 Mar 2009 - 

PCHR Demands Investigation into Death of a Civilian Tortured by Members of the Intelligence Services in Gaza
28 Mar 2009 - 

PCHR Warns of Gaza Patients’ Being Denied Treatment Abroad
28 Mar 2009 - 

PCHR Weekly Report

(19- 25 March  2008)
28 Mar 2009 - During the reporting period, IOF wounded 10 Palestinian civilians, including one child and two journalists, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

U.S. judge: Iran must pay $25 million for murder of IDF soldier
27 Mar 2009 - A U.S. judge on Friday ordered Iran to pay $25 million plus interest to the family of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman, who was kidnapped and executed by Hamas in 1994. ...

Egypt skips key Arab League summit on unity
27 Mar 2009 - Egypt's president will not be attending a key Arab League summit aimed at ending inter-Arab divisions, sending a minor Cabinet official instead, his foreign minister said Saturday. ...

PA: Netanyahu peace plan will prolong occupation
27 Mar 2009 - Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's plan for "economic peace" will only prolong Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, the chief Palestinian negotiator wrote in an opinion piece published Saturday. ...

Report: U.S. mulling Obama-Assad meeting
27 Mar 2009 - The United States is considering arranging a meeting between President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar Assad, a United Arab Emirates-based newspaper reported on Saturday. ...

Greek court clears far-rightist of Holocaust denial
27 Mar 2009 - Greek court officials said judges overturned Friday a far-rightist's conviction for inciting racial hatred with a book that denies the Holocaust took place. ...

The Guardian

Seth Freedman: Bayit Echad's campaign for settlers to return to Israel proper could be the start of peace in the West Bank
27 Mar 2009 - Bayit Echad's risky campaign for settlers to return to Israel proper could be the start of peace in the West Bank Benny Raz is a formidable man, both in appearance and in attitude: an ex- Mossad...

Letters: I did not advocate attacks on Jews
26 Mar 2009 - Hazel Blears, secretary of state for communities and local government, claims I signed a declaration "advocating attacks on Jewish communities all around the world" and attacks on British military forces (Letters, 26 March). Both of these...

Pope Benedict to visit Ramallah during first trip to Israel
26 Mar 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Ramallah during his inaugural trip to Jerusalem, where he will meet the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and pay a visit to the Aida refugee camp. The...

Daphna Baram: The Knesset has many parties, but they are all of one mind
26 Mar 2009 - Intransigence, expansionism, racism and warmongering now seem to be the consensus across Israeli politics Ehud Barak's move to join Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition and rub shoulders around the cabinet table with arch racist Avigdor Lieberman should not...

Rory McCarthy on a Human Rights Watch report accusing Israel of war crime
27 Mar 2009 - Rory McCarthy on a Human Rights Watch report accusing Israel of war crime

Binyamin Netanyahu says his government will talk peace
25 Mar 2009 - Israel's incoming prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, offered a more moderate tone yesterday, promising he would negotiate with the Palestinians and saying he represented a "partner for peace." His comments, in a speech at an economic conference...

Seumas Milne: This counter-terror plan is in ruins. Try one that works
27 Mar 2009 - Ministers want Muslims to accept shared values. Luckily they already do, including opposition to wars of aggression The British government's brand new counter-terrorism strategy is already in disarray - and ministers have only themselves to blame....

Letters: The aftermath of Gaza
25 Mar 2009 - Thank you for your extensive investigation of the horrendous facts of the Israeli attack on Gaza (Reports, 24 March). No doubt these facts will be disputed once again by apologists for Israel. However, the most chilling...

Danish T-shirt sellers convicted of financing terrorism
25 Mar 2009 - Activists planned to send share of profits to Farc in Colombia and Palestinian movement Six Danish activists who sold T-shirts bearing the logos of two groups classified by the EU as terrorist organisations have been found...

Binyamin Netanyahu pledges to negotiate with the Palestinians
25 Mar 2009 - • Remark seen as attempt to ally fears about rightwing coalition • Israeli media report his secret deal over E1 Jewish settlement Binyamin Netanyahu, who is set to become Israel's next prime minister, promised today he...

Seth Freedman: To focus on Israeli soldiers' puerile T-shirts is to miss the point
25 Mar 2009 - Black humour and tasteless digs at the enemy are not unique to Israel's soldiers – to focus on puerile T-shirts is to miss the point When walking around Jenin and Nablus , one of the most striking...

Geoffrey Alderman: Hazel Blears's standoff with the MCB over the views of Daud Abdullah is not only misguided but sets a dangerous precedent
25 Mar 2009 - Hazel Blears's standoff with the MCB over the views of Daud Abdullah is not only misguided but sets a dangerous precedent The extraordinary action taken against the Muslim Council of Britain by communities minister Hazel Blears...

Steve Bell on Israel's war on Gaza
27 Mar 2009 - The landmark deal Egypt and Israel signed 30 years ago offers lessons for today's peacemakers

Ian Black: The promise of the past
24 Mar 2009 - The landmark deal Egypt and Israel signed 30 years ago offers lessons for today's peacemakers 'Pyramids in his eyes and peace in his pipe," went the lyrics of an Israeli pop song released after President Anwar...

Ha'aretz National page

Actor Assi Dayan arrested on suspicion of domestic violence
27 Mar 2009 - The award-winning actor and film director Assi Dayan was arrested on Saturday on suspicion he had repeatedly assaulted his partner and threatened to kill her. ...

Top Labor MK: Barak trying to turn party into Yisrael Beiteinu
27 Mar 2009 - Labor's secretary general on Friday accused party leader Ehud Barak of trying to turn Labor into the rightist Yisrael Beiteinu after the controversial suspension of its legal advisor. ...

Violent settlers freed over 'improper' police conduct
27 Mar 2009 - The Kfar Sava Magistrates Court freed on Friday five settlers a day after they had been arrested by police who had masqueraded as Palestinians. ...

Body of woman found in Ashdod; police suspect partner of murder
27 Mar 2009 - The body of a 35-year-old woman was found Friday in an Ashdod apartment with signs of violence on the corpse. ...

How Polish-Israelis' nostalgia for the Old Country ended in lawsuit
26 Mar 2009 - Lukasz Piotrowski's luck was about to change. Back in May 2005, the 34-year-old Warsaw attorney, an expert in civil law who ran a firm with a few employees and not many more clients, had a visit from Ilan Charsky, an Israeli lawyer. Charsky made him an offer that was hard to refuse: Work with me, he said, and you will have a guaranteed income for life. What's the deal? Piotrowski asked. To arrange Polish citizenship for Israelis of Polish origin, Charsky told him. ... 

Relief Web

Activities of Secretary-General, Washington, D.C., 10-11 Mar
28 Mar 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

OPT: Gaza's children need your help
27 Mar 2009 - Source: Save the Children

ACTED newsletter No 53 - Mar 2009
27 Mar 2009 - Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development

OPT: Morocco to reconstruct agronomy faculty, Al Quds hospital in Gaza
27 Mar 2009 - Source: Government of Morocco

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 251, 16 - 29 Mar 2009
27 Mar 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

Morocco to reconstruct agronomy faculty, Al Quds hospital in Gaza
27 Mar 2009 - Source: Maghreb Arabe Presse

EU Presidency Statement - UN SC: Situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question
26 Mar 2009 - Source: European Union

When information saves lives: Engaging local media in humanitarian crises
26 Mar 2009 - Source: Internews Network

YNet News

American Language Center to reopen in Syria
28 Mar 2009 - In latest sign of improving relations, school closed by Syria after deadly US, (17:24 , 03.28.09 )

Rightist MK demands more restrictions on Hamas prisoners
28 Mar 2009 - Designated internal security minister Aharonovitch says 'if it was up to me,, (15:21 , 03.28.09 )

Hamas arrests 3 Fatah officials in Gaza
28 Mar 2009 - Fatah leader in Gaza says Islamic movement's security service detained three, (14:37 , 03.28.09 )

Obama, Medvedev to sign declaration on nuclear arms reduction
28 Mar 2009 - Kremlin says Russian president and US counterpart to sign declaration on new, (13:36 , 03.28.09 )

Egypt skips key Arab summit on unity
28 Mar 2009 - Mubarak won't attend Doha conference on Palestinian discord, international, (12:32 , 03.28.09 )

Sudan says no proof for now Israel behind raids
28 Mar 2009 - (Video) Foreign Ministry spokesman says there is no indication Israel behind, (10:41 , 03.28.09 ), 

Israel's commitment to peace in doubt, Erekat says
28 Mar 2009 - In op-ed published by Washington Post, chief Palestinian negotiator says 'peace, (10:14 , 03.28.09 )

Congressmen call out against nuclear Iran
28 Mar 2009 - In letter to President Obama, representatives offer sanctions to be imposed on, (23:24 , 03.27.09 )

US judge orders Iran to compensate Wachsman family
28 Mar 2009 - Court orders Iran to pay over $25 million to family of soldier kidnapped and, (22:16 , 03.27.09 )

EU urges Netanyahu to employ 2-state solution
28 Mar 2009 - PM-designate warned that 'relations will become very difficult' unless he, (21:51 , 03.27.09 )

Controversy in Labor over legal advisor's suspension
28 Mar 2009 - MK Cabel says Barak, who led suspension move, is attempting to turn Labor into, (21:30 , 03.27.09 )

Court: Cops endangered lives at outpost
28 Mar 2009 - Police should not have dressed as Arabs to provoke settlers at Gilad Farm, (18:45 , 03.27.09 )

Terrorist to compensate victims' family
28 Mar 2009 - Kamil Said Hassan Hneish, the terrorist who planned the 2002 attack in Itamar in which Rachel Sabo was murdered along with her three children, has been ordered by Jerusalem's District Court to compensate the family ... 

Iranian ex-minister slams Germany's dealings with Tehran
28 Mar 2009 - An Iranian expatriate criticized the German government's dealings with Tehran Saturday, saying it preferred economic interests to the halting of Iran's nuclear program. The German ambassador refuted his claims. ... 


Sharp rise in beating of Palestinians by security forces
23 Mar 2009 - The 3 months since Operation “Cast Lead” have seen a sharp rise in reports of violence by security forces toward Palestinians in the West Bank. B'Tselem has documented 24 cases in which Palestinians reported that police and soldiers had beaten them.

Daily Star

Suicide bomber kills 50 people in Pakistan mosque 
27 Mar 2009 - A suicide bomber blew himself up during Friday prayers at a packed Pakistan mosque, leaving around 50 dead and scores wounded in one of the bloodiest recent attacks in the nation. It came as US President Barack Obama vowed to wipe out terrorists from Pakistani safe havens, as he unveiled a sweeping new Afghan war strategy.

Obama steps up Afghanistan effort, wins allies' help 
27 Mar 2009 - President Barack Obama Friday escalated war efforts in Afghanistan, thrusting more troops and billions of dollars into the campaign, as US allies pledged fresh help to quell the country's deadly insurgency. Obama vowed to win the conflict being waged by Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

European Commission presses Israel to accept Palestinian state 
27 Mar 2009 - The European Commission pledged Friday to support the new Israeli government as long as it accepts certain benchmarks, including the principle of an autonomous Palestinian state. "The European Commission is looking forward to working with the new Israeli government in pursuit of a common agenda," the EU executive's head Jose Manuel Barroso said.

Foreign jihadists join local fighters in lawless Somalia 
27 Mar 2009 - Egged on by Osama bin Laden and drawn in by Ethiopia's pullout, foreign jihadists have flocked to Somalia in recent months, joining forces with local fighters to turn the country into an Al-Qaeda haven. Somalia now shelters an estimated 450 foreign fighters who are working with the Shebab, a home-grown hardline Islamist group.

Elderly porn king works his mojo on ageing Japan 
27 Mar 2009 - Shigeo Tokuda, 74, might look like an average Japanese grandfather but appearances can be deceptive - he is the country's king of elderly porn, a fast growing niche market in this graying society. A former travel agent who quit his job just four years ago, Tokuda has stretched the limits of eroticism among the silver-haired.

Japan authorizes plans to strike North Korean missile 
27 Mar 2009 - Japan gave its military the green light on Friday to shoot down any incoming North Korean rocket, with tensions high ahead of a planned launch that the US and allies say will be an illegal missile test. Japanese and US warships have already deployed ahead of the April 4-8 window, when the North has said it would launch a communications satellite.

Vote impasse reopens race to head IAEA 
27 Mar 2009 - The UN atomic watchdog reopened the race for its new director general on Friday after neither of the two previous candidates won sufficient votes for victory. "The slate of candidates is considered to have been wiped clean," the chairwoman of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-member board.

US official cites Afghanistan as 'very productive' arena for engaging Iran 
27 Mar 2009 - Afghanistan is a "very productive area" for engagement between Washington and arch foe Tehran, a US official said Friday at a meeting in Moscow aimed at curbing rising violence in the conflict-riven nation. The meeting, led by the Shanghai Group grouping China, Russia and Central Asian states.

Palestinian Information Center

Baraka: Qinawi's meeting with Mishaal to discuss pending dialog issues
28 Mar 2009 - Egyptian intelligence official Omar Al-Qinawi's meeting with Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, comes in the context of following up the file of the inter-Palestinian dialog.

Rizqa: The least that can be done by the Arab summit is to break the siege
28 Mar 2009 - Dr. Yousef Rizqa, the political advisor to premier Ismail Haneyya, stated Saturday that the least that the Arab summit can do for the Palestinian people is to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.

IOF troops assault Palestinian lawmakers
28 Mar 2009 - Israeli occupation forcers on Saturday assaulted Mohammed Baraka, the Arab member of the Israeli parliament, and Sahar Al-Qawasme, a member of the Palestinian parliament.

Hamas calls on Arab summit to help Palestinians restore their usurped rights
28 Mar 2009 - Hamas called on the Arab summit to be held in Doha to stand by the Palestinian people to restore their usurped rights and establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

EU warns Netanyahu: Accept two-state solution or relations would suffer
28 Mar 2009 - EU Foreign ministers have warned Israeli premier-designate Benjamin Netanyahu that relations between the two parties would suffer a setback if he did not declare support to the two-state solution.

Report: IOF troops carried out 36 incursions in W. Bank during one week
28 Mar 2009 - The Palestinian center for human rights revealed in its weekly report that the IOF troops carried out during a one-week period at least 36 incursions in most of the West Bank areas.

Hamas PLC bloc: Israeli detention of MPs illegal
28 Mar 2009 - The change and reform parliamentary bloc has described the Israeli occupation authority's detention of legitimately elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council as "illegal".

Arab popular assemblies urge Arab summit to confront attempts to judaize J'lem
28 Mar 2009 - The Arab national congress, the general conference of Arab parties, and the national-Islamic conference have called on the Arab summit to counter Israel's attempts to judaize occupied Jerusalem.

Gov't anti-siege committee asks Doha summit to expedite Gaza reconstruction
28 Mar 2009 - The PA government committee against the siege in the Gaza Strip has called on the Arab summiteers convening in Doha, Qatar, on Monday to break the siege on Gaza and to expedite its reconstruction.

Turkish media expose Mossad plan to assassinate Erdogan
28 Mar 2009 - Turkish media revealed on Friday that an electronic mail was found at the personal computer of one of the members of the secret Ergenekon organization.

Los Angeles Times

Israel suspected in Sudan airstrikes 
27 Mar 2009 - Sudanese officials say hundreds were killed early this year when bombs hit smuggling convoys moving migrants headed for Israel and Europe as well as arms possibly meant for Gaza. A Sudanese official said Thursday that hundreds of people were killed early this year when foreign warplanes bombed three convoys smuggling African migrants through Sudan along with weapons that apparently were destined for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. 

New York Times

Sectarian Tension Takes Volatile Form in Bahrain
27 Mar 2009 - Protesters’ clashes with the police reflect the Shiite majority’s resentment of Sunni rule.

Israel Disputes Soldiers’ Accounts of Gaza Abuses
27 Mar 2009 - Officers are stepping forward, some at the urging of the top command, others on their own, to dispute accusations.

Britons, Held for 2 Years, May Be Freed in Exchange
27 Mar 2009 - Five British men would be traded for detainees held in U.S. military detention, an Arabic news site reported.

Memo From Damascus: With Isolation Over, Syria Is Happy to Talk
27 Mar 2009 - Diplomatic openings have raised hopes in the West and in the region, but it remains difficult to say where this new dialogue will lead.

16 Killed by Bomb in Baghdad
26 Mar 2009 - The car bomb attack in Baghdad’s Shaab district on Thursday was the second major attack in the Baghdad area this week.

U.S. Officials Say Israel Struck in Sudan
26 Mar 2009 - Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy of trucks in Sudan in January that was believed to be carrying arms to be smuggled into Gaza, according to American officials.

World Briefing | Europe: The Vatican: Pope’s Mideast Plans
27 Mar 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem and a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem in May. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Israel: One Fewer Olmert Inquiry
27 Mar 2009 - The Israeli police said Thursday that they had dropped a criminal investigation into a real estate deal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, citing lack of evidence. 

Holon Journal: Palestinians Serenade Survivors in Israel
25 Mar 2009 - A group of Palestinian musicians 12 to 17 years old from the Jenin refugee camp performed at a Tel Aviv club for elderly Holocaust survivors.

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Disparages Obama’s Video Overture
25 Mar 2009 - Ali Larijani characterized President Obama’s videotaped message as inadequate to address the issues between the two countries.


Electronic Intifada
Tough times for university students in Gaza
27 Mar 2009 - GAZA CITY (IRIN) - Many university students who lost relatives or whose homes were destroyed during the recent 22-day Israeli offensive are finding it difficult to cope, according to university officials and students. Some have been unable to register for the new semester due to lack of funds; others are still traumatized. 

Rights orgs: Infighting jeopardizes our cause and our rights
27 Mar 2009 - Based on our faith in our national, moral, and legal responsibility and recognizing our duty to work towards building and strengthening the democratic edifice of the prospective Palestinian state, we, the undersigned Palestinian human rights organizations, hereby and articulate our demands of the Palestinian political authorities for measures to be taken in order to overcome the pains and agonies of the crisis generated by internal fragmentation and conflict. 

Australian academics call for boycott of Israel
26 Mar 2009 - As educators and scholars of conscience in Australia, we fully support this call. We urge our colleagues, nationally, regionally, and internationally, to stand up against Israel's ongoing attacks on the rights of Palestinians to education, land, and human dignity, and to support the nonviolent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions. 

Demand Israel release child held without charge or trial
26 Mar 2009 - Hamdi al-Ta'mari was arrested for the first time from the family home in Bethlehem at 4:00am, on 25 July 2008. He was woken by the sound of Israeli soldiers banging on the front door. Hamdi's hands and feet were immediately tied and he was ordered to lie on the floor, as soldiers pointed their assault rifles and flashlights at him. While on the ground, a number of soldiers slapped, kicked and beat him with their assault rifles. His hands were tied so tightly that they began to swell. After 15 minutes, Hamdi was blindfolded and placed on the floor of a military vehicle. 

Tales To Tell
March 26: Dancing in the Ruins
26 Mar 2009 - Dubke dancing in the ruins of the Red Crescent theatre, Telal Howa, The building in the shelled Telal Howa Red Crescent complex (which includes Al Quds Hospital, burned with phosphorous) that was worst hit during the attacks was the Red Crescent Theatre, which I believe also had a music school in it. It pretty much burnt down, and its ruins will be demolished. But this afternoon the Palestinian Brotherhood of Tunisia sponsored cultural groups, including the Watar Band, in a performance “at the scene of the broken Red Crescent“, and it was inspiring. Read the rest of this post », The building in the shelled, Telal Howa , Red Crescent complex (which includes, Al Quds Hospital, burned with phosphorous , ) that was worst hit during the attacks was the Red Crescent Theatre, which I believe also had a music school in it. It pretty much burnt down, and its ruins will be demolished. But this afternoon the Palestinian Brotherhood of Tunisia sponsored cultural groups, including the Watar Band, in a performance “at the scene of the, broken Red Crescent , “, and it was inspiring.

Palestine Chronicle
Netanyahu and the Future of the Peace Process
27 Mar 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud It seems that the Palestinian-Israeli peace process is in serious jeopardy. This is the immediate impression one gleans from media reports from Israel. Unlike Israel's Kadima and Labour party "moderates" prime minister-designate Benyamin Netanyahu is widely seen as an obstacle to negotiations aimed at facilitating a two-state solution. The media stories, however, are riddled with misconceptions and dotted with false assumptions. While Netanyahu is indeed a right-wing ideologue his position on issues pertinent to the peace process -- if, indeed, it is possible to speak of such a thing, which I doubt -- hardly differs from his predecessors. Israel continues with its military onslaughts and illegal settlement expansion while the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas continues with isolating Hamas in Gaza and maintaining its own rule in the West Bank. So what is the peace process to which the media refers? What are the prospects for a viable two-state solution that are being so passionately discussed? Equally confusing is the fact that some Western leaders and diplomats maintain a wait-and-see position, hoping that Netanyahu will respect and maintain this non-existent peace process. In comments made to The National Tony Blair, now the envoy of the UN Quartet, said that Netanyahu had indicated his support "in principle" to the two-state solution. "When asked whether Netanyahu was supportive of a Palestinian state," the newspaper reported, "Blair said: 'He has always made that clear to me.'" Such rhetoric appears to pave the way for the kind of political ruse indulged...

We Are all Palestinian
27 Mar 2009 - By Joharah Baker Yesterday, March 24, clashes broke out in the Palestinian-Arab town of Um Al Fahm inside Israel between the residents and Israeli police and right-wing demonstrators. The incident was an accident waiting to happen, so to say, given the players involved. Apparently, a group of right-wing Israelis had received approval from Israel's High Court to march within the municipal borders of Um Al Fahm but not inside the city. While the actual intent of the march still remains unclear, it seems Israel's right-wingers – many of them settlers living in Hebron – want to force Israel's Arab-Palestinian residents to express their "loyalty to the state." Just how a provocative march along the outskirts of an Arab city inside Israel would accomplish this feat is a mystery. The only possible outcome of such a march could be what actually happened – a clash between the residents of the city and the right-wing Israelis whose self-righteousness has clearly crossed over into outright racism. How else could the imposition of loyalty to the state, whether these residents acquiesce or not, be explained? There really is only one logical explanation, the overall negativity most Israeli Jews harbor towards their Palestinian neighbors within the borders of the Jewish state. This is not a newborn animosity, nor is it one that is likely to be repaired any time soon as long as the state of Israel is structured in such a discriminatory and racist fashion. The 1.2 million Palestinians living inside Israel's borders have...

Tough Times for University Students in Gaza
27 Mar 2009 - By IRIN News Many university students who lost relatives or whose homes were destroyed during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive are finding it difficult to cope, according to university officials and students. Some have been unable to register for the new semester due to lack of funds; others are still traumatised. Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza said 14 of the 15 higher education institutions in the Strip (most are in and around Gaza City) were damaged by Israeli forces. Six came under direct attack. Three colleges - Al-Da’wa College for Humanities in Rafah, Gaza College for Security Sciences in Gaza City, and the Agricultural College in Beit Hanoun (part of Al-Azhar University) - were destroyed, according to Al-Mezan communications officer Mahmoud AbuRahma. Six university buildings in Gaza were razed to the ground and 16 damaged. The total damage is estimated at US$21.1 million, according to the Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza. Just after midnight on 28 December the Islamic University was targeted in six separate air strikes, according to eyewitnesses. The two main buildings on campus were completely destroyed, while nine others were damaged; water, electrical and internet systems were affected, according to the university’s president, Kamalain Sha’ath. “The two [main] buildings contained 74 science and engineering laboratories equipped with thousands of pieces of apparatus,” said Islamic University public relations officer Hussam Ayesh. The university, which has 22,000 students enrolled, wants to rebuild and renovate but lacks building materials due to the Israeli blockade;...

Not About Justice: Ocampo, Al-Bashir and the ICC
26 Mar 2009 - By Mohamed El Mokhtar Sidi Haiba The rationale put forward by the prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo for rushing with his indictment against the sitting head of state of a sovereign nation was allegedly the imprescriptible crime of ongoing genocide. The judges of the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found though, in their majority opinion, that there was no tangible proof for such a serious claim in spite of all the allegations that were leveled against Al Bashir and his camp on that specific account. Moreover, the atrocities in question were committed between 2003 and 2004 and by all parties, although on an unequal basis, giving the natural gap in resources and manpower existing between the belligerents. Today the UN data from Genocide Intervention Network, etc., indicates that about 150 people or so are being killed every month. Such figure is certainly gruesome but does not, even remotely, amount to that of ongoing wide scale genocide. Furthermore, these numbers do not uniquely result from the criminal action of one side in the Darfur conflict. The victims of this conflict have been mostly innocent civilians and people responsible for those crimes should certainly be brought to justice but the timing and mechanism for such a process are of the utmost importance. Therefore, for the sake of peace and stability, other considerations ought to be weighed against those of the trial, if the overall goal of all this frenzy for justice was, in indeed, the welfare of the people of Sudan and not...