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

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
17 April, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Infant dies of wounds sustained during Israel's offensive on Gaza
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported Friday that an infant from Gaza City died on Thursday evening of wounds sustained during the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip.   

One killed, dozens injured at the Bil'in weekly protest
17 Apr 2009 - A Palestinian man was killed and dozens more injured on Friday during the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil'in village, near the central west Bank city of Ramallah.

Mitchell: “Palestinian State, a US National Interest”
18 Apr 2009 - United States special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, stated Friday during a meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, that establishing a Palestinian State is a US National interest and the only solution to the conflict in the Middle East. 

Ten injured at weekly non-violent protest in Nil'in
17 Apr 2009 - Scores of villagers from Nil'in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, along with their international supporters held their weekly protest on Friday midday against the illegal Israeli wall being built on village land.

Suleiman to meet Lieberman during visit to Israel
17 Apr 2009 - Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth reported on Friday that Egypt’s Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, will be holding a meeting with the new Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, during his visit to Israel next Wednesday. 

Palestinian killed after allegedly infiltrating into a settlement near Hebron
17 Apr 2009 - Israeli military sources reported on Friday morning that a Palestinian man, carrying a knife, infiltrated into Beit Haggai illegal Israeli settlement, was shot dead by armed settlers manning the outpost. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians injured, 23 abducted this week
17 Apr 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 09 - 16 April 2009, 3 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 23 Palestinians, including 3 children. 18 were abducted during military invasions in the West Bank, and 5 were abducted at Israeli checkpoints within the West Bank. 

US Administration prepares planes for parallel Israeli talks with Palestine and Syria
17 Apr 2009 - Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported o Thursday that the Obama administration in preparing a regional peace plan for parallel peace talks on the Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli Palestinian tracks. 

Abbas asks Mitchell to pressure Israel to accept a two-state solution
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met on Thursday with the U.S envoy, George Mitchell, and told him that the Palestinian Authority want guarantees that the peace process will be genuine and will lead to a permanent peace deal. 

Al Masry: “swap-talks did not stop, resistance demands did not, and will not, change”
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian legislator of the Hamas legislative bloc, Moshir Al Masry, stated on Thursday that Egyptian-mediated indirect prisoner-swap talks with Israel did not stop and that the conditions of the resistance did not and will not change. 

Israeli air force bombsa home in central Gaza
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian sources reported on Thursday at night that the Israeli Air Force bombed a home east of Dir Al Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, completely destroying it. 

Egypt to open the Rafah terminal Saturday and Sunday
17 Apr 2009 - The Egyptian Authorities decided on Thursday to open the Rafah terminal between Gaza and Egypt on Saturday and Sunday to allow the residents to leave or enter the Gaza Strip. This does not include allowing goods into Gaza. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Is Iran's new drone really an Israeli aircraft?
17 Apr 2009 - Pictures uploaded on Iranian news website appear to be slightly-doctored photos of Israeli drone. 

Tourist stabbed in Jerusalem's Old City
17 Apr 2009 - Victim was lightly wounded in stabbing and taken to hospital; Attacker apprehended soon after. 

Canada arrests man suspected of trying to buy nuclear supplies for Iran
17 Apr 2009 - RCMP say Toronto resident tried to buy tools to enrich uranium to send to Iran by way of Dubai. 

Hamas: We will never recognize the enemy
17 Apr 2009 - Top Hamas officials make first public appearance in Gaza since Cast Lead as U.S. envoy meets Abbas in Ramallah. 

Palestinian killed during Bil`in anti-separation fence rally
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian shot in chest with tear-gas grenade, witnesses say; IDF says protesters tried to tear down wall. 

Palestinian infiltrator shot dead by settlers
17 Apr 2009 - One Israeli lightly wounded before local Beit Haggai guards arrived on scene and neutralized terrorist. 

'Israel could have made peace with Hamas under Yassin'
17 Apr 2009 - Former psychologist Zvi Sela also tells Haaretz that Samir Kuntar did not kill Danny Haran or his daughter. 

ANALYSIS / Israel will need F-35s to deal with Iran
16 Apr 2009 - If Russia supplies the Iranians with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, IDF will urgently need a stealth plane. 

Ma'an News

Palestinian teen shot dead by settlers at Hebron-area settlement 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - An armed Palestinian was shot dead after entering an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank Friday morning, according to Israeli news reports. Residents of the Hebron-area settlement of Haggay reported that they were patrolling the area when they saw a Palestinian walking around the Israeli-military secured area. Two settlers approached the man and reportedly struggled with him, at which point he pulled out a knife, according to one account. Both men then tried to shoot the Palestinian, who was identified as 17-year-old Rabah Hejazi Seder, they reportedly said. However, local sources told Ma'an they doubted that the teenager had attempted to access the settlement, due to its high level of protection and number of guards. They suggested that the Israelis killed the man outside the settlement and then took him inside. 

Israel: Projectile from Gaza lands in western Negev 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A projectile fired from the Gaza Strip landed in an empty field in the western Negev causing no injuries, Israeli sources reported late Thursday night. The projectile is the second to land in the area in as many days. No injuries were reported in either incident, and no militant groups have claimed the launches. Following the Wednesday launch Israeli warplanes bombed a home in Gaza City, claiming the building was being used as a base for “kidnapping operations. ”Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak commented on the initial launch, saying Israel would “consider its response. ”He had indicated, however, that a response would come after “the Mimouna,” the celebration events the day after the last day of the Jewish Passover holiday, which was at nightfall on Wednesday. ***Updated 10:38 Bethlehem time***Get breaking news from Palestine: Click to follow Ma'an on Twitter. 

Infant succumbs to wounds sustained during latest Israeli strike on Gaza 
4/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – An infant from Gaza City seriously injured in Israel’s latest airstrike on the Strip Wednesday night succumbed to his injuries overnight. Palestinian medical sources identified the baby as four-month-oldAyham Karim Eid; he had inhaled poisonous fumes released during Israel’s attack on a home in Gaza City Wednesday night. He was taken to hospital where medical crews stabilized him, but his conditioned worsened and he passed away. [end] 

Az-Za'arir: Hamas men shot three Fatah members in the legs in Jabaliya 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Unidentified gunmen affiliated with Hamas fired at three members of their rival Fatah party in the Jabaliya area of the northern Strip Thursday night, a Fatah spokesman said. Fahmi Az-Za'arir said in a statement that the men were taken to Kamal A'dawan Hospital for treatment after being shot in the legs. They were identified as Khaled, Ismail, and Mus'ab Ad-Darduni, all from the same family. According to Az-Za’arir the attackers drove off on a motorcycle toward the Al-Ihsan Mosque, “which is under the control of Hamas. “He concluded by saying that this incident is an indicator of Hamas’ return to the unruly behavior characteristic of the period before the start of national unity talks. He condemned the actions and said such incidents were not likely to “bring success to the dialogue scheduled for April. " 

Sami Al-Ghoul Brigades: Factions must be on alert and ready to defend Al-Aqsa 
4/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Sami Al-Ghoul Brigades, a military group aligned with Fatah, will never abandon the option of resistance so long as there is Israeli oppression and Palestinians remain in Israeli prisons, the group announced Friday. A statement from the group, which claimed to have launched the Wednesday projectile toward Israel, called on all military wings of Palestinian factions to declare a state of high alert and be ready to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem from colonizing settlers. The brigades called on the international community to prevent Israeli attacks against the holy Muslim site and called for the release of all Palestinian detainees. [end] 

Mother of slain jounalist calls for justice one year after young man's death 
4/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – One year after the death of 24-year-old Reuters photojournalist Fadel Shana’a, his mother vows to pursue justice against the Israeli troops who fired on the young man and his film crew, clearly marked as ""Press. " “I pray that the killer of my son will not live in peace until justice is found,” Umm Fadel said Thursday during a small ceremony held by the Reuters staff in Gaza City commemorating the death of their colleague. The photojournalist’s mother echoed fears of many in the room as she spoke of the lack of protection for media personnel in Gaza. “There were other attacks [on journalists] before his death,” she said, “They were covering the truth of what happens…I will track those who killed my son. I will call for justice in any land I can. ”The head of Reuters’ office in Jerusalem Alster Macdonald said the agency will call for further investigations into the death of Shana. 

Erekat: Abbas' priority must be to halt settlement expansion 
4/17/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an - The central role of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas until a new government is in place is to ensure the halt of settlement construction and the demolition of homes in Jerusalem, Head of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department Saeb Erekat said Thursday. The world must realize, he said, that if Israel does not stop these destructive measures the peace process is doomed. Erekat said the arrival of US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, the Russian, Spanish and Chinese Foreign Ministers in Palestine present an opportunity to spark “diplomatic moves” to back up the plan as the officials are given tours of the West Bank and Jerusalem. His own meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister “made clear” the Palestinian request that the international community insist on a halt to settlement construction. 

Israeli troops fire on Beit Hanoun NGO workers, farmers 
4/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Israeli forces opened fire on members of an international solidarity NGO in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun Friday morning. The NGO, called Local Initiative, sent members on a mission to observe and assist a wheat harvest in the northern Gaza Strip. When they neared the wheat fields abutting the border fence Israeli troops opened fire. Members of the NGO said no one was hurt, but the harvest has been aborted. The initiative sought to collect local resources as crossings into the Gaza Strip have been letting a minimum of aid and consumer goods into the area since the Israeli war on the area. The aid has slowed to a trickle during the Jewish Passover holiday. 

International NGOs in Gaza slam governments for "lip service" policy three months after war 
4/17/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an - Twenty-three high-profile international NGOs accused much of the world of “standing by” as “Gazans sift through the rubble,” noting that thousands“are still homeless and without basic services such as piped drinking water three months after the 18 January ceasefire. ”Released three months after the end of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, the statement, signed by CARE, Oxfam, Defense for Children International and more than a dozen other organizations, the statement offered scathing criticism to the international community. More than “lip service to the needs of the people of Gaza” is required, the statement said. IT had particularly harsh words for the European Union, set to review its trade and economic relations with Israel in the coming weeks. “If the EU does not put the brakes on the process to strengthen ties with Israel, it will be sending a dangerous. . . 

Palestinian man killed by tear-gas canister in Bil'in 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A Palestinian man was killed on Friday when Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators in the West Bank village of Bil'in, near Ramallah. Palestinian medical officials identified the man as 29-year-old Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh, who had previously been listed in serious condition following a direct shot to the stomach from an Israeli fired tear-gas canister on Friday afternoon. Nasir Samara, a member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, explained, “Ibrahim was not even close to the [w]all when he was a shot from a distance of less than 20 meters. He was carrying a Palestinian flag and shouting that this was a nonviolent demonstration. The tear gas canister hit and entered his chest, killing him. ”This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrations from a lethal range in the past two months. 

Gaza: One crossing partially open; no fuel for fourth day 
4/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – One Gaza Strip crossing was partially opened Friday following a week of periodic closures and scarce aid and commercial supplies. The Kerem Shalom access point will allow 70-80 truckloads of goods to enter Gaza, crossing official Raed Fattuh said Friday morning. In addition to aid for UN and other international agencies frozen meat, flour, grains, sugar, rice, spaghetti, cooking oil, diapers, toilet tissues and blankets are to be allowed in. [end] 

Palestinians mark Prisoners Day across West Bank, Gaza 
4/17/2009 - Palestine - Ma'an - Masses gathered in Gaza City, Bethlehem, Ramallah and other Palestinian cities to pay tribute to their friends, family members and peers locked in Israeli prisons on Friday. Prisoners Day was marked by marches, calls to action and moments of silence as communities took time to remember and honor Palestinians in Israeli custody. Hamas officials told ralliers in Gaza that the issue of prisoners was at the top of their list, and reminded members of the militant Al-Qassam Brigades affiliated with the party, that all efforts were being made to secure their release. The movement welcomed efforts in support of a prisoner swap and reminded listeners that unity and the creation of a Palestinian state would also be a move towards the end of Palestinians in Israeli cells. Also from Gaza the An-Nasser Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. . . 

Earthquakes reported in Israel, Lebanon, West Bank 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Ten small earthquakes hit northern Israel, southern Lebanon and parts of the northern West Bank Friday afternoon, the largest of which measured 4. 2 on the Richter scale. The Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) said the largest of the quakes occurred at 2:04pm. No damage has been reported. [end] 

Fatah-affiliated militant group severs ties with Hizbullah following Egyptian incident 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Ayman Judah Brigades, part of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades, announced an end of all relations with Lebanon’s Hizbullah party and its affiliates. The brigades broadcast their announcement Friday via the official Palestinian Authority news service Wafa, and addressed the message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. ”Our decision was made because our brigades refuse anything that threatens the higher Palestinian interest and their relationship with the Arabs. ”They explained that the recent admission by Hizbullah that they had installed operatives in Egypt spurred "a reaction by us to support Egypt and see that the Palestinian interest is to encourage and supporting Egypt because of their many efforts to encourage Palestinian dialogue. ”The statement admitted that a relationship with Hizbullah “had only one benefit which was the financial help,” but noted that they “did not support us nationally. " 

Abbas to Mitchell: All sides must commit to two states 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed the necessity of committing to halt settlement expansion and home demolitions, especially in Jerusalem, on Friday in talks with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell in Ramallah on Friday. "President Abbas affirmed the necessity that all sides commit to the two-state solution, abide by previously signed agreements and the guidelines of the Road Map, particularly halting settlements and home demolitions, as well as expulsions carried out against Palestinians," said Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization's top negotiator. In a news conference following the meeting between Abbas and Mitchell, Erekat said Abbas demanded that the US apply the same demands leveled against Palestine in recognizing Israel's right to exist and previously signed agreements. 

Mentally ill Palestinian stabs tourist in Jerusalem's Old City 
4/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A young Palestinian attacked four tourists in East Jerusalem on Friday evening, according to Israeli news reports. The Palestinian, who is apparently mentally ill, injured one of the tourists in his head during the attack that took place on the famed Via Dolorosa in the Old City, Israeli news agency Ynet was reporting on Friday evening. Israeli Border Guard officers took the young Palestinian into custody, according to Ynet. [end] 

Haniyeh: Hamas closely following Egypt-Hizbullah crisis 
4/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday condemned "Israeli attempts to instigate disputes between Arab countries and resistance movements. " He added following prayers at a mosque in Ash-Shati refugee camp Hamas is "deeply concerned over the media crisis between Egypt and Hizbullah," affirming that "Hamas respects the stability of Arab nations, as their security is part of Palestinian security. " Egypt is holding some 49 people in detention on suspicion of working for the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbullah, the country’s attorney general has confirmed. According to a statement from the country's attorney general, the men had been assigned by the group to gather intelligence in villages along the Gaza-Egypt border, tourist destinations in the Sinai, and the Suez Canal. 

Hamas waiting for Egyptian clarification on national committee 
4/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum on Friday said that “there are many questions over the Egyptian proposal concerning creating a national committee in the West Bank and Gaza that need to be answered. ”He told Ma’an that “as was previously agreed, the next round of talks will be at the end of April during which the delayed main issues will be discussed like the agenda of the government, the election system and the security file. ”He concluded by saying that “what is needed from Fatah is to go one step forward, presenting something new,” indicating that “it [Fatah] is barricaded behind the issue of compliance of the coming government with PLO agreements an issue that was rejected by many factions. ” 


Aljazeera

US envoy presses two-state option
17 Apr 2009 - George Mitchell tells Palestinian president that two-state option "is only option".

Israel snubs UN Gaza war inquiry
16 Apr 2009 - Israel will not co-operate with UN Human Rights Council into the 22-day assault

US says Iran conditions remain
15 Apr 2009 - Clinton welcomes dialogue with Iran but demand for halt to enrichment remains.

Jordan jails 'Hamas spies'
15 Apr 2009 - Men convicted after allegedly photographing Israeli embassy and border posts. 

US journalist put on trial in Iran
14 Apr 2009 - Case of Iranian-American journalist accused of spying heard behind closed doors. 


Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: West Bank a Time Bomb Waiting to Explode 
RAMALLAH, Apr 16 (IPS) - Tension between Israel and Palestinians is rising sharply as reflected in a number of increasingly bloody and violent confrontations since Israel's devastating war in Gaza at the beginning of the year.

POLITICS-US: As J Street Turns One, Signs of a Shift 
NEW YORK, Apr 15 (IPS) - It seems safe to say that the first year of existence for J Street, the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobbying organisation, was more eventful than anticipated.

MIDEAST: Aid Rots Outside Gaza 
AL-ARISH, Egypt, Apr 15 (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aid intended for the Gaza Strip is piling up in cities across Egypt's North Sinai region, despite recent calls from the United Nations to ease aid flow restrictions to the embattled territory in the wake of Operation Cast...

MIDEAST: Animal Farm Finds a Palestinian Stage 
RAMALLAH, Apr 15 (IPS) - "Intifadah", scream the animals as they chase Jones from the farm. Strobe lights flash and loud music blares as the packed audience sits captivated, eyes trained on the stage below.

Stop The Wall

Young man martyred in Bil'in
17 Apr 2009 - Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred this afternoon in Bil’in when he was shot at close range by a high velocity tear gas canister at the weekly demonstration against the Wall. This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrators from a lethal range in the past two months. [

New checkpoint another obstacle for isolated residents in ‘Azzun 'Atma
14 Apr 2009 - The siege on 75 isolated villagers of ‘Azzun 'Atma has tightened in the past weeks, and permit restrictions continue to make life difficult for children, business owners and workers. Occupation forces appear to be expanding the checkpoint that the isolated residents must pass through to reach their village, indicating that movement restrictions will tighten further. [

PCHR Latest

Military Court in Gaza Sentences 4 Palestinians to death
PCHR

In Spite of Persistent Efforts to the Solve the Problem of Access to Medical Treatment Outside the Gaza Strip
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(02 -08 April  2008)
17 Apr 2009 - During the reporting period, IOF killed two activists of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip and one civilian in the West Bank. They also wounded 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children and two journalists,

International Solidarity Movement

Israel snubs UN Gaza war inquiry
ISM - 4/17/2009 - 16 April 2009 An Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson has confirmed to Al Jazeera that it will not co-operate with a United Nations investigation into alleged war crimes during the 22-day assault on the Gaza Strip. Up to 1,300 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed before Israel ended the offensive in January. Thirteen Israelis, 10 of them soldiers, were killed during the same period. The UN Human Rights Council has appointed Richard Goldstone, a South African judge and former UN war crimes prosector, to examine claims of human rights violations by both Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters during the conflict. Israel has previously complained that the UN body is biased against it. "The investigation has no moral ground since it decided even before it started who is guilty and of what," Yigal Palmor, a foreign ministry spokesman, said earlier this month. 

Demonstrator killed in Bil'in by Israeli forces
ISM - 4/17/2009 - Friday, 17 April 2009: A resident has been killed by Israeli forces during a demonstration. Basem Abu Rahme, 29 years of age, was shot in the stomach with a high-velocity tear gas projectile. The tear-gas projectile, labeled "40 mm bullet, special/long range" in Hebrew has also critically injured American national, Tristan Anderson at a demonstration in Ni'lin on 13 March 2009 when he was shot in the head from 60 meters. Basem Abu Rahme is the 18th individual to be killed by Israeli forces during a demonstration against the Wall. February 26th, 2004: Muhammad Fadel Hashem Rian, age 25 and Zakaria Mahmoud ‘Eid Salem, age 28 Shot dead during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu. February 26th, 2004: Abdal Rahman Abu ‘Eid, age 17 Died of a heart attack after teargas projectiles were shot into his home during a demonstration against the wall in Biddu. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Jordan's king discusses Mideast peace process with U.S. Arabs, Jews
17 Apr 2009 - King Abdullah II of Jordan has spoken with leaders of U.S. Arab, Muslim and Jewish organizations about efforts to restart a process to bring peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. ...

Final Durban II text omits references to Israel and Zionism
17 Apr 2009 - Diplomats reached agreement on Friday on a declaration for next week's politically-charged United Nations conference on racism, adding to the pressure on Washington and Brussels to decide whether to attend. ...

Mitchell: A Palestinian state is a U.S. national interest
16 Apr 2009 - United States special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell met on Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who told him the Palestinian people expect the U.S. to press Israel to carry out its diplomatic obligations in regard to the peace process. ...

Israeli conductor Barenboim gets Egyptian ovation 
16 Apr 2009 - Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim stirred a sold out Cairo Opera House Thursday with a performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, drawing ovations in his first visit to Egypt. ...

Pro-Israel boycott group: Dutch Jewish leadership 'abusing' our postal system
16 Apr 2009 - A Dutch consumer rights group promoting a ban on Israeli goods is planning to take legal action against one of the Netherland's largest Jewish institutions for alleged "abuse" of the postal system. The Jewish group denies foul play. ... 

The Guardian

Teargas canister shot kills Palestinian demonstrator
17 Apr 2009 - Activists say Bassem Abu Rahmeh is 18th person to die since 2004 during demonstrations against West Bank barrier A Palestinian demonstrator was killed today when he was hit by a teargas canister fired by Israeli forces...

Israeli Eurovision duo stand firm to wave flag of co-existence
15 Apr 2009 - Jewish Israeli and Christian Palestinian Israeli admit ups and downs but vow to go ahead with controversial Eurovision performance It was only ever supposed to be a shared project between two friends; a very public but...

According to Tony Blair, Binyamin Netanyahu will build a Palestinian nation 'from the bottom up'
14 Apr 2009 - Against all the evidence, Tony Blair claims that Binyamin Netanyahu will build a Palestinian nation 'from the bottom up' Tony Blair, who now serves as the Middle East Quartet 's envoy, has told Time magazine he...

Seth Freedman: Those shocked by T-shirts worn by Israeli forces should be equally outraged by a new Palestinian T-shirt
14 Apr 2009 - Those shocked by Israeli army T-shirts should be equally upset by a Palestinian T-shirt that suggests firing rockets is acceptable The back cover of the latest issue of Red Pepper magazine is devoted to a full-page...

Ha'aretz National page

Earthquake jolts northern Israel; no one injured
16 Apr 2009 - A minor earthquake was recorded in northern Israel on Friday. No injuries or damages were reported. ...

Settler council: Peace talks with Palestinians perpetuate terror
16 Apr 2009 - The Yesha Council of Settlements on Friday said that Israeli cooperation in the efforts to create a Palestinian state were to blame for the attempted terrorist attack on the West Bank settlement of Beit Haggai earlier in the day. ...

'International law not prepared to fight terrorism'
16 Apr 2009 - Israel's top judicial official said Thursday that the goal of the Supreme Court is to respect human rights while maintaining security during a permanent state of emergency. ...

Culture war in Beit Shemesh heats up over outdoor gyms 
16 Apr 2009 - The Beit Shemesh municipality has decided to wipe out a free outdoor gym, which the city only recently built at a cost of hundreds of thousands of shekels, for safety concerns, says city hall. But residents, many of them Modern Orthodox, say there is religious coercion involved as part of an ongoing "culture war." ... 

Israel's beaches hit by a tsunami of bathers
16 Apr 2009 - The masses who thronged to the beaches during the warm Passover holiday did not wait for the official opening of the bathing season in two weeks' time, although no lifeguards are on duty, and the toilets on most beaches are still closed. ...

Relief Web

Middle East: Q&A - Acclaimed British actress finds new role as humanitarian
17 Apr 2009 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Iraq: First group of Palestinian refugees arrives in Romania's emergency transit centre
17 Apr 2009 - Source: International Organization for Migration

Palestinian refugees arrive at Romania centre en route to resettlement
17 Apr 2009 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

US envoy meets Palestinian leader in peace bid
17 Apr 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Romania: First group of Palestinian refugees arrives in emergency transit centre
17 Apr 2009 - Source: International Organization for Migration

OPT: Conflict and siege threaten Gaza's young minds, claims new World Vision report 
16 Apr 2009 - Source: World Vision

Israeli air strike destroys Gaza home, no injuries
16 Apr 2009 - Source: Reuters

OPT: Security forces demolish house of family of perpetrator of attack in Jerusalem
16 Apr 2009 - Source: Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

YNet News

Friday evening: 3.5 mag earthquake felt in northern Israel 
17 Apr 2009 - Epicenter 12 miles east of Tyre in Lebanon. Earlier in the day 4.2 magnitude tremor hits north Israel; residents from Haifa to Nahariya and Kfar Blum report earth moved for several seconds; no injuries reported

Palestinian teen killed after throwing firebombs at settlement 
17 Apr 2009 - IDF soldiers open fire at two Palestinians who hurled Molotov cocktails at homes in Beit-El; one assailant killed, another wounded 

Assad: Syria supports Hizbullah because it fights Israel
17 Apr 2009 - Syrian president tells Lebanese daily his country supports Shiite group because it fights Israel, says relations with Iran strategic; 'Syria-Lebanon border will be drawn only after Israel pulls out of Shebaa Farms,' he adds

'Durban II' to ratify condemnation of Israel 
17 Apr 2009 - Declaration for next week's UN conference on racism in Geneva omits references to Israel, Zionism, Middle East conflict and other divisive issues, but will ratify concluding document of 'Durban I', including harsh condemnation of Israel. US State Department 'still has some concerns' 

Palestinian killed in Bilin protest
17 Apr 2009 - (Video) Local demonstrator seriously injured by tear gas canister hit to his chest during anti-fence rally, dies of wounds shortly after reaching hospital. IDF says protest was violent. Demonstrators: We're like sitting ducks; soldiers fire at anything that moves; army, PA investigating

Arab stabs tourist in Jerusalem's Old City
17 Apr 2009 - Knife-wielding Arab attacks group of four tourists on Via Dolorosa; one tourist sustains light injuries to the head; assailant apprehended 

Hamas leaders emerge after 4 months underground
17 Apr 2009 - 'We will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form,' al-Zahar says during first public appearance since Israeli offensive in Gaza; Haniyeh condemns 'Israeli attempts to instigate disputes between Arab countries and resistance movements' 

Palestinians to Mitchell: Peace impossible with settlements, J'lem home demolitions 
17 Apr 2009 - Erekat says Abbas-Mitchell meeting focused on need for Israel to abide by Road Map for peace, acknowledge two-state principle, quotes Obama's envoy as saying Palestinian state in the interest of the United States

Report: Hizbullah helped bust Lebanese spies
17 Apr 2009 - Lebanese daily says two cells accused of spying for Israel captured so far – one by Lebanon's internal security service, other by Hizbullah. Report says suspects used special equipment given by Israeli intelligence to mark military, civilian targets struck during Second Lebanon War

B'tselem

Israel and the Palestinians must assist the UN mission
5 Apr 2009 - B'Tselem welcomes the appointment of the jurist Richard Goldstone to head the fact-finding mission, called for by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate the recent fighting in Gaza. Particularly welcome is the delegation’s mandate, which covers viola


Daily Star

Mitchell: Arab Peace Initiative part of US drive to create Palestinian state 
17 Apr 2009 - US Middle East envoy George Mitchell said Friday that an Arab Peace Initiative should be part of a planned US drive to create a Palestinian state. The 2002 Arab initiative offers Israel normal ties with all Arab states in return for a full pullout from the lands it seized in the 1967 war, creation of a Palestinian state and a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian protesting against barrier guard 
17 Apr 2009 - Israeli troops killed a Palestinian protester in the West Bank on Friday and a Jewish security guard shot dead a Palestinian who infiltrated a Jewish settlement, also in the occupied area. Palestinian hospital officials said a 30-year-old man died of a wound to the chest during a protest at the village of Bilin.

Hamas leaders make first appearance since war 
17 Apr 2009 - Two top Hamas leaders made their first appearances at public events Friday since Israel's Gaza war , signaling defiance of rival Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he discussed peace prospects with a US envoy. "We cannot, we will not, and we will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form," Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Wary of Iranian president, diplomats seek UN racism deal 
17 Apr 2009 - Diplomats were racing to agree on a declaration for a UN conference on racism next week amid fears that the arrival of Iran's president on Monday could torpedo the meeting. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has stirred outrage by repeatedly calling the Holocaust a "myth" and with anti-Israel comments.

Ahmadinejad: Tehran favors dialogue on nuclear program 
17 Apr 2009 - Iran favors dialogue with world powers over its nuclear program and will soon give its official response to an invitation for talks, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in remarks published on Friday. It was the latest signal from Tehran that it will accept the offer of discussions with the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.

Founder of Thailand's PAD survives attack 
17 Apr 2009 - The founder of Thailand's "yellow shirt" protest movement, which was behind the week-long occupation of Bangkok's main airports last year, was shot and wounded on Friday, but a doctor said his life was not in danger. The assassination attempt came hours before the government extended a state of emergency in the capital.

CIA terror practitioners will not be prosecuted, vows Obama 
17 Apr 2009 - In 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, CIA operatives were allowed to shackle, strip and waterboard terror suspects. Now, President Barack Obama has assured these operatives that they will not be prosecuted for their rough interrogation tactics.

Palestinian Information Center

The Arab world and Israel's nuclear arsenal
17 Apr 2009 - The vociferous Israeli campaign against the Iranian nuclear program is undoubtedly a classical example of Israel’s pornographic hypocrisy in this regard.

Two Palestinians killed in the West Bank
17 Apr 2009 - Two Palestinians were killed in the West Bank on Friday in two separate incidents; one of them during a protest in Bilin and the other in the colony of Beit Hagai.

Israeli occupation F16 fighter jet destroys Palestinian home in Gaza
17 Apr 2009 - An Israeli occupation F16 fighter jet destroyed on Thursday evening a Palestinian home, belonging to Hasan Abu Safeyyah, to the east of the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Hamas: suffering or prisoners, blood of martyrs price for liberation
17 Apr 2009 - The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has asserted Thursday that it would remain faithful to the Palestinian captives in Israeli jails and to the blood of the Palestinian martyrs..

Palestinian masses camp near Aqsa Mosque, say ready to die for it
17 Apr 2009 - Swarms of Palestinian masses have continued camping near the Aqsa Mosque in a bid to thwart any attempt by fanatic Jewish groups to desecrate it..

Astal: IOA stalling on a prisoners deal would bring more Palestinian conditions
17 Apr 2009 - The prominent political leader in Hamas Movement MP Dr. Younis Al-Astal has warned the Israeli occupation authorities not to stall on the prisoner-exchange deal

Hamas: Tampering with Aqsa might explode the entire region
17 Apr 2009 - Hamas on Thursday warned the IOA of any attempt to tamper with the holy Aqsa Mosque or to change the landmarks of occupied Jerusalem, describing such an attempt as "playing with fire".

Hamas: The Islamic bloc's win in Birzeit a sign of the resistance popularity
17 Apr 2009 - Hamas said that progress achieved by the Islamic bloc in the Birzeit university elections through winning three more seats is an indication that the Palestinian people support the resistance project.

Sheikh Khatib holds Israeli gov't responsible for consequences of Aqsa break-ins
17 Apr 2009 - Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib held the Israeli government fully responsible for any serious consequences resulting from its protection of Jewish extremist groups' attempts to break into the Aqsa Mosque.

Nazzal: Any proposal not taking account of Hamas positions will fail
17 Apr 2009 - Mohamed Nazzal stressed that any proposal which does not take into account his Movement's positions will not succeed and any attempt to circumvent its legitimacy is unacceptable.

Los Angeles Times

Memos reveal harsh CIA interrogation methods 
17 Apr 2009 - Obama releases Justice Department documents that guided the CIA on how to use waterboarding and other tactics with terror suspects. Intelligence officials won't be prosecuted over the interrogations. Prisoners could be kept awake for more than a week. They could be stripped of their clothes, fed nothing but liquid and thrown against a wall 30 consecutive times. 

U.S. envoy George Mitchell meets with Israeli foreign minister 
17 Apr 2009 - Mitchell presses for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who opposes Palestinian statehood, says a 'new approach' is needed. U.S. envoy George J. Mitchell met Thursday in Jerusalem with top Israeli officials to push for what at the moment appears unlikely: substantive talks between a divided Palestinian leadership and the new right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Iran's Ahmadinejad offers new start with West 
16 Apr 2009 - The president says he will unveil proposals to resolve international concerns about Iran's nuclear program. Iran's hard-line president said Wednesday that he would soon unveil proposals to resolve the international impasse over his country's nuclear program, and he offered a fresh start with the West, an announcement that comes as he struggles to shore up domestic support ahead of the presidential election in June. 

New York Times

Palestinians Ask U.S. Envoy to Press Israel on ‘Two-State Solution’
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian leaders on Friday asked George J. Mitchell, the American envoy to the Middle East, to press the new Israeli government to accept the notion of a Palestinian state. 

Iran Says It Plans New Nuclear Offer
15 Apr 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Wednesday that he was preparing a new proposal to resolve disputes with the West over Iran’s nuclear program. 

American Journalist Stands Trial in Iran
14 Apr 2009 - The trial of Roxana Saberi, a U.S. journalist accused of spying, comes at a difficult time in U.S.-Iran relations. 


Articles


’I was born Palestinian’ 
Laila El-HaddadA Mother from Gaza, ISM 4/15/2009
      “Its not very comfortable in there is it?” said the stony faced official, cigarette smoke forming a haze around his gleaming oval head.
     “Its OK. We’re fine” I replied wearily, delirious after being awake for a straight period of 30 hours.
     “You could be in there for days you know. For weeks. Indefinitely. “So, tell me, you are taking a plane tomorrow morning to the US?”
     It was our journey home that began with the standard packing frenzy: squeezing everything precious and dear and useful into two suitcases that would be our sustenance for the course of 3 months.
     The trips to the outdoor recreation store- in preparation for what I anticipated to be a long and tortuous journey across Rafah Crossing to Gaza. The inspect repellent; the mosquito netting; the water purifier; the potty toppers for my kids and the dried fruit and granola bars and portion sized peanut butter cups. This time, I wanted to be ready, I thought to myself-just in case I got stuck at the Crossing. The Crossing. My presumptuousness is like a dull hit to the back of my head now.
     In addition to all the packing of suitcases, we were also packing up our house- my husband was finishing up his residency at duke University and set to start a medical fellowship at Johns Hopkins in July. In the meantime, we were “closing shop”, putting our things in storage, selling the rest, and heading overseas: me to Gaza, he to Lebanon to visit his family.

Solving Palestine While Israel Destroys It 
Kathleen And Bill Christison, CounterPunch 4/15/2009
      Obama’s Bubble of Ignorance
     To a greater degree than perhaps ever before, Washington today is engulfed in denial about Israel and its stupefying behavior, about its murderous policies toward the Palestinians, about the efforts of Israel and its U.S. defenders to force us to ignore its atrocities. Blinders have always been part of the attire of U.S. policymakers and politicians with regard to Israel and Israeli actions, but in the wake of the three-week Israeli assault that laid waste to the tiny territory of Gaza -- an assault ended very conveniently just before Barack Obama was inaugurated, so that he has been able to act as though it never occurred -- the perspective from which Washington operates is strikingly more blinkered than ever in the past.
     At a symposium on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Middle East Policy Council just days before Obama took office, Ali Abunimah, a sharp Palestinian-American commentator who runs the website ElectronicIntifada.net, declared frankly that Washington exists in a bubble of ignorance and denial. While the rest of the world, particularly at the level of civil society, is talking about war crimes tribunals for Israeli leaders and about sanctions against Israel, Abunimah observed, Washington and those world leaders beholden to it are trying to move ahead as if nothing had changed. “We have to expect,” he said, “that the official apparatus of the peace-process industry -- the Hillary Clintons, the Quartets, the Tony Blairs, the Javier Solanas, the Ban Ki-Moons, the whole panoply of official and semi-official Washington think tanks -- will carry on with business as usual, trying to make believe that, through their ministrations, a Palestinian state will come into being.” But in the real world, this state won’t happen, he said, and the time has come to speak frankly about what is going on.
     So far, three months into the Obama administration, there is little evidence that Obama sees clearly or is ready to speak frankly. Another very savvy Palestinian political commentator and activist, Haidar Eid, who lives and endures Israel’s constant punishments in Gaza, recently told an interviewer that the international reaction to Israel’s Gaza assault was like the reaction to some kind of natural disaster -- as if no human hand had had a role in the destruction and nothing but money and aid was required to resolve the problem. As if, he said, the disaster had not been “created by the state of Israel to annihilate the Palestinian resistance and Palestinian society.


Electronic Intifada
Fair deal for domestic workers?
17 Apr 2009 - BEIRUT (IRIN) - Eighty Ethiopian women have been in Tripoli Women's Prison in north Lebanon for over a year, accused of not having a passport, which was either taken from them when they started as domestic workers or which they never had in the first place. Most were arrested on the street after running away from their employers -- usually because of abuses ranging from forced confinement and starvation to physical harm and rape. 

UN Protects Israel from racism charges
17 Apr 2009 - BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank (IPS) - As the wreckage from Israel's recent siege on Gaza continues to smolder, international civil society organizations are assembling this week in Switzerland to address Israel's crimes of military occupation and racism. But any discussion on Israel's actions in Palestine will be excluded from the formal framework at the Durban Anti-Racism Review Conference in Geneva Monday. 

Aid rots outside Gaza
16 Apr 2009 - AL-ARISH, Egypt (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands of tons of aid intended for the Gaza Strip is piling up in cities across Egypt's North Sinai region, despite recent calls from the United Nations to ease aid flow restrictions to the embattled territory in the wake of Israel's 22-day assault. 

The rhetoric of "peace"
15 Apr 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "economic peace" proposal should be seen as the beginning of a new stage of colonization. Israel has been successful in dividing the Palestinians into different groups, separated politically and geographically. Israel has also been successful in creating a collaborating political class. Israel failed however to squash their desire for freedom and their right to resist aggression. In other words, Israel was successful in the physical colonization of the land, de facto controlling the whole of historic Palestine, but failed to colonize Palestinian minds, for the most part, at least. This new stage will target the latter. Ziyaad Lunat comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
Bassem Abu Rahme, killed in Bil’in protest against the Wall, rest peacefully
17 Apr 2009 - Bassem Abu Rahme, white t-shirt, photo Active Stills I take time to mourn the death of Bassem Abu Rahme , the 18th to be murdered , along with scores injured, while protesting  against Israel’s illegal annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank.  The death and injury toll at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces includes minors, countless local residents, journalists , and many Israelis and internationals.  The oft- militarily-besieged village of Bil’in is one of countless villages in the path of the annexation wall Israel has constructed for so-called ’security’ reasons, stealing Palestinian lands, and lives, in the process. According to the Bil’in village website , Basem was shouting to the (armed) Israeli...

Palestine Chronicle
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Netanyahu
16 Apr 2009 - By Rannie Amiri It is one of the great paradoxes of the modern Middle East: When peace with the Palestinians is in sight, Israel will turn violent. This is quite understandable though, when one realizes that the entire raison d’être of the Jewish state is based on the principle of establishing “greater Israel.” That could not happen of course, were there to be a just peace. As the country’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion infamously proclaimed, “To maintain the status quo will not do. We have to set up a dynamic state bent upon expansion.” Relinquishing conquered territory, ending occupation, halting further settlement activity (let alone dismantling existing ones), stopping home demolitions or anything deemed to conflict with this fundamental objective will never be (seriously) considered. Israel has also attempted to persuade us that it cannot but be on a constant war-footing. The reality is however, that an enemy must necessarily be present – or created – so it can avoid having to reach an equitable settlement with the Palestinians. Israel’s siege and subsequent attack on Gaza was a prime example. Enemy at The Gates? Waged under the pretext of ending the launch of crude, home-made, fertilizer-based rockets from Gaza into southern Israel (which killed 16 Israelis in seven years and none in the year prior) and after a crippling 18-month siege left Gaza’s population starving and destitute, Israel claimed to be acting in “self-defense” when it attacked the territory. We now know the war was planned six months in...

Non-Violence in Palestine: Timing and Intentions
16 Apr 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud When one speaks of or advocates non-violence, does he promote such an idea because he believes that historically it has been a more effective means of liberation, or is it purely because he thinks that it is a more self-respecting means of struggle? In recent history, many advocates of non-violence have been celebrated as modern day icons. From Ghandi to King, songs are written in their honor, their life stories fill the pages of our children’s history volumes as noble examples of which everyone must aspire to emulate. Holidays are instituted in their honor and around the world; streets and boulevards carry their namesake. Why is it that the “establishment” goes to such great lengths to lift up these individuals? Where are the holidays commemorating the life and sacrifices of Malcolm X, where are the stories of Crazy Horse or Geronimo? Could it be possible that these figures remain in the shadows of pacifists because their ideals shook up the status quo just a little too much? When the “establishment” celebrates individuals for their non-violence, could that be another way of recognizing them for making just enough commotion, but not too much commotion? For decades, the Palestinian struggle for freedom was largely a non-violent movement. With occasional pockets of armed resistance, Palestinians in the occupied territories employed methods of general strikes, demonstrations and the like to express their demands and desires to finally live in freedom. And yet these were the years where Palestinians saw that great...

Obama Needs to Turn Up the Heat
16 Apr 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh US President Barack Obama's maiden venture into foreign policy earlier this month earned him high marks from many, but also ruffled the feathers of icons of the American neoconservative movement, which had its heyday during the just-concluded tenure of George W. Bush. Wherever he went on his first visit overseas, he chose to knock on doors gently and warmly, particularly in Turkey, where he declared that the United States is not at war with the Muslim world. And on his return to Washington, he turned his attention to his closest Communist neighbor, Cuba, which has been ostracized by Americans for 50 years and, as one paper put it, endured "the most stringent Bush-era restrictions on trade, travel and remittances". Obama immediately lifted some of these restrictions in what The Washington Times saw as "heading off a potential issue of contention" at a major hemispheric summit later this week in Trinidad and Tobago. Cuban-Americans can now visit and send money to their families on the island, but the trade embargo remains - despite its failure to bring down the regime there. The young president is treading softly and his remarks in Europe, Turkey and Iraq, as well as those referring to Cuba, have raised a glimmer of hope that we will see no more sabre-rattling from the US and ugly talk of an 'axis of evil' or that 'all options are on the table', implying America's readiness to wage war if any nation does not succumb to...

Law and Justice First, Mr. Mitchell
16 Apr 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London So they sent you to the Holy Land, Mr. Mitchell, for talks. So many before you have gone to talk. They failed because polite talk isn’t enough. What will you say about the subjugation of Palestine’s people and Israel’s defilement of this once-lovely place? How will you answer charges that your county is godfather, bankroller, arms supplier and good buddy to the racist thieves and colonizers that have turned it into a powder-keg? Mr. Mitchell, the people you are talking to in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem are, in the words of a respected British Jewish MP, "a gang of amoral thugs". The stench of ethnic cleansing is everywhere. Can we hope that you’ll give them some straight talk about: • The way they have oppressed and dispossessed the Palestinian people for 61 years? • The way they continue to occupy, humiliate, abduct and murder their neighbors – Muslim and Christian? • The way their military occupation of Palestine is illegal under international law and breaches countless UN resolutions? • The fact that Israel is no western-style democracy but a hatefully ethnocracy that offends the rest of the world? • How 8 Palestinians die for every Israeli; and when it comes to children the kill-rate is 11 to 1? • How Israel’s flag-wavers kick up a fuss about one captured Israeli soldier while 11,000 Palestinians, including women and children, rot in Israeli jails? You have to confront them with all this and much more before...

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