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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
21 April, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Ashkenazi says Israel can strike anywhere “enemies exist”
21 Apr 2009 - Israeli Army Chief of Staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi, said on Monday that Israel is capable of striking its enemies anywhere they may be. 

Lieberman appoints Bedouin as Middle East Advisor
21 Apr 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister, former member of the outlawed Kach terrorist group, Avigdor Lieberman, appointed a Bedouin man, Ismail Khalidi, as his Middle East advisor. Khalidi is from a Bedouin village, one of dozens of villages not recognized by Israel and which do not even receive basic services from Israel. 

Hamas: “Fateh affiliated security forces detain 10 Hamas supporters in Tulkarem”
20 Apr 2009 - The Hamas movement in the West Bank ssaid on Monday that Palestinian security forces, loyal to the Fateh movement, in recent days have detained ten Hamas supporters in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, including eight who were previously held by Israel. 

Archbishop Tutu called 'anti-Semitic' by ADL for critique of Israeli policy
20 Apr 2009 - Michigan State University in the U.S. has come under fire from the Anti Defamation League for inviting South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak at this year's commencement ceremony. Tutu is known worldwide for his role in creating the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which helped bring about a peaceful transition from apartheid South Africa to desegregation. 

Netanyahu cancels visit to US
20 Apr 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has decided to cancel a planned visit to the United States after he was informed that the US President, Barack Obama, will not be meeting him. 

Hamas legislator wounded by P.A. Security in West Bank
19 Apr 2009 - Hamid Al-Beitawi, a Palestinian Legislative Council member with the Hamas party, was injured Sunday in Nablus by shrapnel from a bullet fired by a Palestinian Authority security officer of the rival Fateh party. 

U.S. Envoy rejects demand that Hamas "recognize Jewish state"
19 Apr 2009 - On Sunday, the U.S envoy to the Middle East peace, George Mitchell, rejected Sunday the Israeli Prime Minister's that the Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as a prerequisite for resuming peace negotiations between the two sides.  The recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish state' implies the acceptable of the disenfranchisement of the indigenous Palestinians, and nullifies the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their land -- a condition that most Palestinians will not accept. 

National Christian Coalition slams Israeli restrictions during Easter
19 Apr 2009 - As Greek Orthodox Palestinian Christians were marking the Sabt Al Nour (Holy Saturday, Saturday of light which comes just one day before Easter), Israeli soldiers surrounded the Holy city of Jerusalem and the Church of Holy Sepulcher, which was considered another form of Israeli oppression against the indigenous Palestinian Christians. 

Israeli peace activists protest murder of unarmed Palestinian demonstrator by Israeli troops
19 Apr 2009 - In Tel Aviv on Saturday, hundreds of Israeli peace activists held a protest to challenge the Israeli military's actions on Friday in the West Bank village of Bil'in. In Bil'in Friday, Israeli soldiers fired a high-velocity tear gas canister directly towards a non-violent anti-Wall demonstration, hitting Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahma in the chest and killing him. 

Palestinian driver rams vehicle into policemen manning a roadblock near Jerusalem
19 Apr 2009 - Israeli military and police sources reported Saturday that two Israeli policemen were injured when a Palestinian driver rammed his vehicle into them while they were manning the Hizma checkpoint, north of Jerusalem. 

Bil'in villagers participate in the funeral of the killed youth during the Friday weekly protest
18 Apr 2009 - On Saturday midday Residents of Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah joined by officials in addition to international and Israeli supporters took part in the funeral of Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmah, 30, who was killed by the army on Friday during the weekly protest against the wall in Bil'in. 

“Hope” to be heading to Gaza
18 Apr 2009 - The Free Gaza Movement reported on Friday that the “Hope” convoy carrying humanitarian aid from several European countries to Gaza is currently being organized by Dutch organizations that reject the Israeli siege on Gaza, and support the Palestinian people. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Jenin Islamists attack the theater as culture war rages
21 Apr 2009 - Ex-militant Zbeidi named Freedom Theater director; mosque blasts founder as depraved and immoral. 

Barak purchases U.S. system to intercept Gaza rockets
21 Apr 2009 - 'The Vulcan-Phalanx cannons and radar will be part of a multi-layer defense,' says Defense Minister. 

Report: Egypt accuses Lebanon officials of aiding Hezbollah cell
21 Apr 2009 - Arab paper: Sources say officials gave fake passport to ringleader of group that planned attacks in Egypt. 

Ex-employee of Biological Institute suspected of revealing state secrets
20 Apr 2009 - Investigation began in June 2008 following articles in 

MI Chief: Obama Mideast policy threatens Israel
20 Apr 2009 - In surprising shift, Yadlin also tells cabinet Hamas has been deterred and is interested in peace with Israel. 

Gideon Levy / The Holocaust and Israeli occupation cannot be compared
19 Apr 2009 - Calling the occupation a manifestation of Nazism is incorrect, horrifically infuriating and harmful to the just Palestinian cause. 

Sources: Netanyahu to re-examine Shalit case, drop envoy
19 Apr 2009 - Sources: PM expected to tell Ofer Dekel Thurs. he'll pick new negotiator; 'everything open' in Shalit affair. 

Al-Qaida No. 2 urges followers in Iraq to liberate Jerusalem
20 Apr 2009 - In new recording, Ayman al-Zawahiri also slams Egypt for mediating Palestinian reconciliation talks. 

Ma'an News

Israeli settlers kidnap Palestinian shepherd near Hebron 
4/20/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli settlers abducted a Palestinian shepherd south of the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday evening, Palestinian and Israeli sources reported. The shepherd was identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Abdallah Suleiman, a resident of the village of Sumu. The settlers seized Suleiman after he allegedly infiltrated the nearby Israeli settlement of Otni’elOfficials at the Palestinian Coordination Office, Suleiman was handed over to the Israeli army, and is still under arrest. [end] 

PA: Land sales to Israeli Jews being investigated 
4/20/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian lawmaker and the prime minister’s advisor on Jerusalem Affairs Hatim Abdul-Qadir on Sunday denied Israeli news reports claiming that the Palestinian Authority had closed investigations into land sales to Jews in Jerusalem. He revealed that Palestine's general prosecution is currently investigating document forgery related to 13,000 donums in the West Bank that could change the area’s geopolitical map. “The Palestinian prosecution promptly follows up with cases of land leaks, and investigation is ongoing in dozens of such cases in Bethlehem and Jerusalem,” Abdul-Qadir said. He added that prosecution sometimes face difficulties in questioning some suspects from Jerusalem because of Israeli intervention, however, he said it has never led to halting investigations. Recently, said Abdul-Qadir, Jerusalemite suspects have been arrested and interrogated for three days. 

Netanyahu: Recognizing 'Jewish state' not condition for talks 
4/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is no longer demanding that Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" as a precondition for talks, according to a statement sent to Ma'an. The prime minister's media advisor said that the Netanyahu "has never set this as a pre-condition for the opening of negotiations and dialogue with the Palestinians. " However, the statement went on to say that "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is insistent in his approach that recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People is a matter of substance and principle that enjoys wide recognition in the country and around the world, without which it will not be possible to advance the diplomatic process and reach a peace settlement. " A demand that Palestinians recognize Israel “as the state of the Jewish people” as a condition for resuming peace negotiations. . . 

Israeli forces besiege Bethlehem to protect alleged thieves 
4/20/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an Exclusive – Israeli forces besieged the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday night, closing all military checkpoints leading to the area. As a result, more than 200,000 residents of the city were under collective punishment under the pretext that an Israeli settler came under fire in the eastern Bethlehem district, near Tuqu’ village. However, Ma’an has learned that the Israeli claims were false, and that the siege on Bethlehem was meant to provide coverage for thieves who broke into the home of Bassam Musallam in the town of Beit Jala; Palestinian police detectives reportedly arrested them. Interrogations revealed that the thieves were holders of Israeli IDs. Israeli authorities demanded that the Palestinian Authority (PA) hand over the thieves immediately as a precondition for lifting the military siege on Bethlehem. 

Israel recalls Switzerland ambassador over Ahmadinejad visit 
4/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday decided to recall Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland Ilan Elgar for consultations in protest against the Geneva conference on racism. In a statement to Ma'an, an Israeli spokesperson said that Israel is protesting Switzerland's decision to host "a Holocaust-denying racist who has openly declared his intention of wiping Israel off the map," an apparent reference to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. [end] 

Cooking gas, industrial diesel shipped through Nahal Oz crossing 
4/20/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Nahal Oz crossing into Gaza will open for diesel and cooking gas shipments on Monday, said deputy of the Society of Gas Stations Owners Mahmoud Al-Khizindar. He confirmed to Ma’an that Israeli authorities will open the terminal to allow industrial diesel to reach the power plant in addition to cooking gas supplies. 300 tons of cooking gas and 450,000 liters of diesel will be shipped. Israel allowed 300 tons of cooking gas on Sunday through Nahal Oz along with 450,000 liters of diesel. [end] 

PFLP: Some in Hamas and Fatah benefitting from ongoing division 
4/20/2009 - Gaza –Ma’an – An “interest group” within both Hamas and Fatah are benefitting from the ongoing state of infighting between the two movements, said a senior leader in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Sunday. Jamil Mizher, a member of the PFLP Central Committee said, “It is unacceptable for Fatah and Hamas to continue this division that diminishing the Palestinian national project increasing the tragedies and pains of the Palestinians. ”He called for “a popular move to pressure the two sides to end division restoring unity. ”“Regional, Arab and international intervention has played a large role in the increasing of the severity of the division and delaying the achievement of comprehensive national dialogue,” he said. Egyptian-brokered talks between Hamas and Fatah have so far failed to end nearly two years of political division, dating from the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007. 

Human Rights Watch: Hamas government unlawfully killed collaborators, political opponents in Gaza 
4/20/2009 - Gaza/Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Hamas-run de facto government in Gaza violently clamped down on political opponents and suspected collaborators during the Israeli offensive in December and January, a new report by New York-based Human Rights Watch says. The 26-page report, made public on Monday, documents a pattern since late December 2008 of arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, maimings by shooting, and extrajudicial executions by alleged members of de facto government security forces. At least 32 people were killed and dozens of others maimed by the security forces in Gaza since the beginning of the war, Human Rights Watch says, based on interviews with victims and witnesses and reports by Palestinian human rights groups. According to the report, 18 suspected collaborators were executed during the war, between 27 December, 2008, and 18 January, 2009. 

World Bank: Israelis have access to four times as much water as Palestinians 
4/20/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israelis have access to more than four times as much water Palestinians have in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a World Bank report released on Monday says. "Water related humanitarian crisis are in fact chronic in Gaza and parts of the West Bank," says the report. While Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza depend “scarce water resources shared and largely controlled by Israel, the report finds that the joint governance rules and water allocations established under the 1995 Oslo interim agreement, still in effect today, fall short of the needs of the Palestinian people. ”As a result of the imbalance in power and resources, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been unable to develop its water resources, the report says. Since the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, “the Israeli-imposed movement and access restrictions, consisting. . . 

Hamas to present new government proposal in talks with Fatah 
4/20/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas said it plans to present a new solution to the current political impasse at a new round of talks with its main rival, Fatah in Cairo next week. Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya said Hamas would lay out its plan for what he called a “mission government,” an interim body that would have a limited portfolio of responsibilities. “The dialogue round can come up with results in one hour if Fatah gives up its reconditions and the external agenda,” said Al-Hayya in a statement on Monday. Al-Hayya said Hamas studied an Egyptian proposal for an interim Hamas-Fatah coordinating committee in the place of a transitional government. He said of the Egyptian proposal: “We added a couple of modifications and notes and we will hand it out in the next round of talks,”If the talks fail, he said his movement would “consider all possibilities aimed at ending the blockade of Gaza. 

Qatari Red Crescent donates funds to rebuild Gaza hospital destroyed by Israel 
4/20/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Qatari Red Crescent agreed to donate 750,000 dollars to help rebuild the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, which was shelled by the Israeli military in January. The Red Crescent-operated hospital went up in flames after it was struck by three Israeli missiles, two containing the incendiary white phosphorus, on 15 January. Some 600 Palestinians who had been sheltering in the hospital, including patients, had to be evacuated under sniper fire to a nearby school. Whole departments of the hospital were destroyed, including storehouses of medicines and equipment. The Palestine Red Crescent Society signed the funding agreement with the Qatari Red Crescent on Monday. France and Morocco have also pledged funds to help rebuild the facility. 

Settlers uproot trees from Palestinian lands in Hebron 
4/20/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli troops and settlers continued their assaults against Palestinians living in Beit Kur, Khirbet Safa and At-Tuwani, all in the vicinity of Hebron, on Monday. Security sources told Ma'an's correspondent in Hebron that ”Israeli bulldozers drifted three donums planted with grapes, lands owned by Shehadeh Abdel Fattah Sabarneh and Wahid Hassan Sabarneh. " The troops also dug up a road aobut 500 meters in length and four meters wide in the Wardan area southeast of Beit Ummar. The sources added, "The settlers are still assaulting the residents of Khirbet Safa, where they uprooted hundreds of grapes and almonds from lands owned by the Thalgi and Quqas families. " In At-Tuwani, south of Hebron, resident Jamal Rab’y said, "During Passover holidays settlers uprooted our trees and harvested the wheat, while protected by Israeli troops, who closed the area alleging that it is a closed military area. 

Ahmadinejad: Israel a racist regime 
4/20/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel of being the "most cruel and racist regime," at the UN’s Durban Review Conference against racism in Geneva on Monday. Ahmadinejad’s speech sparked a walkout by some European diplomats. The Iranian leader’s presence had already charged the meeting with political tensions. The United States and eight other countries boycotted the meeting over concerns that Israel would be criticized. "The UN security council has stabilised this occupation regime and supported it in the last 60 years giving them a free hand to continue their crimes," he told delegates at the Durban Review Conference hall in Geneva. Ahmadinejad also criticized American "arrogance and condescension” in its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and blamed the US for the global financial crisis. 

Amnesty International condemns boycott of UN racism summit 
4/20/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Amnesty International condemned a decision by powerful nations to boycott the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva on Monday. In a statement issued from London the organization said it was "dismayed" that Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland had decided to "disengage from" the conference, according to DPA. Amnesty International also "regrets that Italy and the United States have confirmed their decisions to stay outside the Review Conference. " It said the boycott was "very disappointing in light of the long and difficult negotiations" required to reach agreement on a guiding document for the conference. "True conviction in combating racism requires governments to be there to stand up for what is right and to reject forcefully what is objectionable," said the statement, DPA reported. 

PA: Pope will witness Palestinians’ struggle 
4/20/2009 - Ramallah – Ma'an – Pope Benedict XVI will bear witness to human rights abuses against Palestinians during his visit to the Holy Land next month, the Palestinian Authority said on Monday. "This will be a historic visit in which the Pope will be a witness to what is happening to Palestinian people in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, especially in these tragic circumstances,” said Rafiq Al-Husseini, the director of the Palestinian President’s Office. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to bring the pope to Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Benedict will also visit Israel and Jordan in his first visit to the region as Pontiff. He arrives on 11 May. Al-Husseini called Israel not to interfere with the Pope's visit, saying, "Jerusalem is a Palestinian city and Israel must understand that Muslims and Christians are the ones to welcome the pope. 

Gaza: Ban on concrete means bombed mosques remain in ruins 
4/20/2009 - Gaza – Ma'an – The Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs in the Palestinian government in Gaza issued an appeal on Monday for an end of the Israeli-Egyptian siege of the Gaza Strip. During a news conference at the At-Taqwa Mosque in Gaza, Minister Taleb Abu Sha’ar said that the de facto government has secured most the funding to rebuild the dozens of Mosques that were destroyed during the Israeli offensive, but that the blockade means that construction materials cannot be imported. Abu Sha’ar directed his appeal specifically at Egypt and the wider Arab and Muslim world to open the Rafah crossing. He said that the ministry has so far been unable to import cement and other key materials due to the closure. Abu Sha’ar said 46 mosques were completely destroyed, 55 partially destroyed and 52 slightly damaged. 

Israel allows fuel, grain, other goods into Gaza 
4/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an – Israel allowed grain, commercial goods, and fuel into the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday, Palestinian officials said. Hatem Oweidah, the Director of the Office of the Minister of Economy in the de facto government, confirmed that 96 trucks loaded with aid to the agricultural and commercial sector were allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday. He told Ma’an that 87 trucks loaded with grain were allowed through the Karni crossing. In addition, 188 tons of cooking gas and 818,000 liters of industrial diesel for the Gaza power plant were imported through the Nahal Oz crossing. [end] 


Aljazeera

Egypt media firm wins court appeal
19 Apr 2009 - Charges dropped against firm accused of illegally covering anti-government protests.

US 'disappointed' by Iran verdict
18 Apr 2009 - Tehran sentences journalist to eight years in prison for being an American "spy".

Palestinian 'attacks' Israel police
18 Apr 2009 - Two officers injured after Palestinian drives his vehicle into them, Israeli spokesman says.

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

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-US: Prominent Lawmaker Caught Up In AIPAC Spy Scandal 
WASHINGTON, Apr 20 (IPS) - A U.S. government investigation of Israeli spying caught a prominent Democratic congresswoman discussing what is alleged to be a "quid pro quo" deal involving the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington’s powerful hawkish pro-Israel lobby.

RIGHTS: U.N. Chief Deplores Iranian Statement on Racism 
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 20 (IPS) - The secretary-general of the United Nations rarely, if ever, lashes out at world leaders - at least not in public - because he is a perceived as a political servant who owes his existence to member states.

ISRAEL: 'If You Don't Know, It Didn't Happen' 
TEL AVIV, Apr 20 (IPS) - Even though atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers have surfaced and the appointment of a right-wing government diminishes the chances for peace in the Middle East, no left-wing Israeli is taking to the streets.

RIGHTS-US: CIA Director Asked to Preserve Secret Prisons 
NEW YORK, Apr 17 (IPS) - Lawyers for a Guantanamo detainee who claims he was held and tortured in one of the "black site" secret prisons run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is demanding that the CIA preserve cells and interrogation paraphernalia there as evidence of mistreatment.

Stop The Wall

Hundreds to be affected in Hebron demolitions
18 Apr 2009 - Hundreds of residents in the Beqa’ neighborhood in Hebron face the demolition of their homes and agricultural infrastructure in what they describe as an ongoing campaign to expand Occupation control in the area around the Kirya Arba settlement. Additionally, bulldozers are still clearing land for an electricity network that will power a number of settlements and military positions between Hebron and Bethlehem, among them Kirya Arba. [

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. [

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)
20 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, in the West Bank. Three of these civilians were wounded by Israeli settlers in a joint attack with IOF.

International Solidarity Movement

YNet: Relatives: Bilin protester was persistent in his struggle
ISM - 4/20/2009 - Ali Waked |19 April 2009 Medical inquiry confirms Bassem Abu Rahma died after being hit by gas grenade fired from tear gas canister. IDF claims demonstrators rioted in West Bank village, but protestor's relative says ‘there was no violence or provocation on our part'The family of 30-year-old Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahma, who was killed Friday by a tear gas grenade in a demonstration against the separation fence near Bilin, was comforted Saturday at its home in the West Bank village by many friends and relatives. Bassem's relative, Abdullah Abu Rahma, toldthat there was no provocation on the part of the protestors during the rally. The Israel Defense Forces is still investigating the circumstances of the incident, which has been defined by the army as a riot. Military representatives met over the weekend with Palestinian medical representatives in a meeting brokered. . .

VIDEO - Prisoner's Day demonstration in Gaza
ISM - 4/20/2009 - ISM Gaza | 16 April 2009 - Video from Prisoner's Day demonstrations in Gaza. Updated on April 20, 2009. [end] 

Israel kills at will and in total impunity while the world demands nonviolence from Palestinians
ISM - 4/20/2009 - The death of Bassem Abu Rahme - On April the 17th, like any Fridays afternoon for the last 4 years, the small village of Bil'in, north of Ramallah, was preparing for the usual demonstration against Israel's annexation wall (some people call it apartheid wall or separation wall. The Israeli government refers to it as the security fence). The village of Bil'in has, since the mid eighties, lost more than 60% of its land for the purpose of Israeli growing settlements and the construction of the wall. The inhabitants of the village used to live mainly from agriculture and olive tree plantations, but more and more the people of Bil'in have to rely on their women to survive. Embroidery has become one of the main resource of the place, located a few kilometres away from Tel Aviv. On a nice day, you can see the inaccessible - for the Palestinians - beach from the roof tops of Bil'in. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Hamas leader to address British MPs by videoconference
20 Apr 2009 - Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal was to deliver an unprecedented videoconference address to a closed meeting of British MPs on Tuesday. The Foreign Ministry is fuming over the event, which goes ahead despite pressure on senior British parliamentarians. ... 

UN seeks to turn page on Ahmadinejad, Durban II protests 
20 Apr 2009 - The United Nations sought Tuesday to rally nations against intolerance a day after the anti-Israel speech by Iran's president sparked protests and swelled the U.S.-led list of countries boycotting the world racism conference. ...

U.S. Congresswoman denies interceding in AIPAC spy case
20 Apr 2009 - A former member of the House Intelligence Committee denied Tuesday interceding in an investigation into two pro-Israel lobbyists now facing a trial on espionage charges ...

Vatican decision to attend Durban II opens new rift with Jews
20 Apr 2009 - Pope Benedict's decision to send a Vatican delegation to a United Nations conference on racism has opened a new rift in relations with Jewish groups, which say it is being used as a platform to attack Israel. ...

Netanyahu's new-old methods of stalling peace talks
20 Apr 2009 - When Jordan's King Abdullah sits down today with a president whose middle name is the same as that of his father, he probably won't miss the opportunity to warn Barack Obama about one of the biggest dangers to his Mideast peace plan. During his last meeting with then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni, the monarch said he was tired of hearing about "the peace process" - a phrase that has become synonymous with a perpetuation of the conflict. One can discern a hint of this impatience in the statement the palace released last week, after the king's coordinating meeting with a group of Arab foreign ministers, ahead of his visit to Washington. It stated that, "The time frame is critical for achieving serious negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution for two peoples." ...

The Guardian

Country profile: Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories
21 Apr 2009 - Facts and staticstics on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories including history, population, politics, geography, economy, religion and climate Potted history of the country: Britain ruled Palestine as a mandate from 1920 to 1948 when the...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attack on Israel triggers walkout at UN racism conference
20 Apr 2009 - • Iran's president launches tirade at tolerance summit • Diplomats stage protest as speech denies Holocaust It was billed as a demonstration of international solidarity behind sentiments everyone could agree on, such as tolerance, understanding and...

Antony Lerman: Ahmadinejad, Durban and another fine mess
20 Apr 2009 - Iran's president may have derailed the UN meeting. But rather than walk out, delegates should have stayed to argue their case This is hardly the time for levity, but watching delegates at the Durban anti-racism review...

Video: Britain walks out of conference as Ahmadinejad calls Israel 'racist'
20 Apr 2009 - European delegates at Geneva anti-racism meeting boycott Iranian president's speech

Ha'aretz National page

Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with siren, ceremonies
20 Apr 2009 - Israelis fell silent as a two-minute siren wailed across the country on Tuesday to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. ...

Netanyahu announces medical subsidies for Holocaust survivors 
20 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at Monday morning's cabinet meeting that he had accepted a proposal by Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog to formulate a program of assistance and subsidies for medicines for Holocaust survivors. ... 

Holocaust Remembrance / From Lithuanian ghetto to leading Israeli jurist
20 Apr 2009 - "My dear friends, Leshem, I am alive and I am free. After three years of suffering I am once again like everybody else. The accursed Germans murdered my whole family," Tzvi (Hirsch) Brik wrote to Yehudit Leshem in Palestine on September 1, 1944, after the liberation of the ghetto in Kovno, Lithuania. ... 

Holocaust Remembrance / Living in Israel helps survivors cope with trauma
19 Apr 2009 - Holocaust survivors in Israel cope better with the traumatic effects of the genocide than those living in the U.S. and Australia, according to mega-analysis of prior studies performed by researchers from the University of Haifa. ... 

Holocaust Remembrance / State allocates extra NIS 30m for Holocaust survivors
19 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that the government will allot NIS 30 million to help Holocaust survivors pay for prescription medication. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Signs of worsening malnutrition among children
21 Apr 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

OPT: EU-funded Seyada project hosts workshop for development of Palestinian Judicial Institute
21 Apr 2009 - Source: European Union

OPT: OIC 23-truck medical aid convoy enters Gaza
21 Apr 2009 - Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference

'Important juncture' reached, as international community prepares to step up diplomatic engagement with Middle East peace process, Security Council told
20 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 254, 13 - 19 Apr 2009
20 Apr 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: West Bank and Gaza Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector
20 Apr 2009 - Source: World Bank

UN Palestinian refugee staff in Jordan on strike
20 Apr 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Palestinians get less water than Israel - World Bank
20 Apr 2009 - Source: Reuters

YNet News

Neturei Karta protest during moment of silence
21 Apr 2009 - Members of radical anti-Zionist stream hold protest in Jerusalem during moment of silence for Holocaust victims, saying 'Zionists cynically abuse the Holocaust for their own purposes' 

Al-sharq al-Awsat editor: Ahmadinejad only helps Israel
21 Apr 2009 - Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of one of Arab world's leading newspapers slams Iranian president's speech at UN anti-racism conference on Monday, saying it only led 'international community to rally around Israel'

Israel commemorates Holocaust victims
21 Apr 2009 - National Holocaust Remembrance Day opens as sirens wail throughout country and Israelis stand up for two minutes of silence to remember victims of Nazis. Central state ceremony commences in Yad Vashem 

Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
20 Apr 2009 - President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu deliver opening addresses at state ceremony marking commencement of national day of mourning

Ashkenazi: We can strike the farthest enemy 
20 Apr 2009 - 'We still face hate, Holocaust deniers and leaders who call for our extermination,' IDF chief of staff says at Holocaust remembrance ceremony in thinly-veiled reference to Iranian president's incendiary speech

Shoah survivor to IDF chief: We have to believe in peace 
20 Apr 2009 - Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi meets 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor Yehudit Brener; tells her military 'makes sure that every soldier understands State of Israel is the answer to the Holocaust'

Leaders condemn Ahmadinejad attack on Israel
20 Apr 2009 - 'I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian president to accuse, divide and even incite,' UN secretary general says following tumultuous session of Geneva racism conference. British PM, French foreign minister offer their own denouncements 

IRIN

OPT: Signs of worsening malnutrition among children 
GAZA CITY Tuesday, April 21, 2009 (IRIN) - Rising poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in Gaza, compounded by the recent 23-day Israeli offensive, have increased the threat of child malnutrition, say UN agencies, health ministry officials and healthcare NGOs in Gaza. 

In Brief: United States approves rapid avian flu test 
DAKAR Friday, April 10, 2009 (IRIN) - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a test that can detect the deadly H5N1 virus in humans through throat or nose swabs in 40 minutes. Current laboratory analyses that detect the avian flu strain can take up to four hours for confirmation.

Daily Star

Ahmadinejad prompts walkout at racism summit 
20 Apr 2009 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted a walkout during his speech to a UN racism summit on Monday when he accused Israel of establishing a "cruel and repressive racist regime" over Palestinians. The summit had already been badly undermined by a boycott by the United States and some of its major allies over concerns.

HRW says Hamas must end political killings in Gaza 
20 Apr 2009 - Hamas rulers of Gaza must stop killings and torture of political rivals that have left several dozen people dead since the start of the year, Human Rights Watch said Monday. "Hamas should end its attacks on political opponents and suspected collaborators in Gaza.

Saberi lawyer optimistic after Ahmadinejad intervention 
20 Apr 2009 - The lawyer representing an Iranian-American journalist jailed by Tehran for espionage said Monday he was optimistic she would be acquitted on appeal. Roxana Saberi was sentenced on Saturday to eight years in jail on charges of spying for the US in a verdict that could complicate Washington's efforts for reconciliation with the Islamic Republic.

Settlers aim to increase Israeli population in Gaza in bid to thwart pullout 
20 Apr 2009 - A light drizzle falls on visitors watching stunning views of the Golan unfold before them as settlers go all out to promote the territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war and has illegally occupied ever since. The scene takes place inside a specially designed cinema where a huge number of fans. 

Israel primed for attacks on Iran - report 
20 Apr 2009 - Israel's military is preparing to launch major aerial attacks on Iranian nuclear sites if ordered to by the new government, a British newspaper said Saturday, quoting Israeli defense and intelligence sources. "Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light, they could strike at Iran in a matter of days.

Netanyahu says he hasn't set preconditions for peace talks 
20 Apr 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he had not made Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a precondition for opening peace negotiations. Comments last week on the issue by a senior official in the Prime Minister's office led many media outlets in Israel to report that Netanyahu.

Palestinian Information Center

Mashaal: Hamas won't allow foreign interventions to disrupt reconciliation
21 Apr 2009 - Khaled Mashaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, stated that his Movement would not allow the disruption of the inter-Palestinian reconciliation because of the external interventions.

Israeli Nazism is a clarion reality
21 Apr 2009 - Zionist supremacists are quite nervous these days as they watch many people around the world getting themselves freed from the shackles of Zionist propaganda.

Hamas: Palestinian gov't works hard to enforce law and order in Gaza
21 Apr 2009 - Hamas stated that the Palestinian government in Gaza works hard to enforce law and order and prosecutes all those found involved in criminal offenses, stressing that no one is above the law.

IOF troops arrest Palestinian citizens including child
21 Apr 2009 - Israeli occupation forces at dawn Monday rounded up ten Palestinian citizens in various West Bank areas including a 15-year-old boy from Arub refugee camp north of Al-Khalil, local sources reported.

Hamas condemns HRW report as inaccurate and hasty
21 Apr 2009 - Hamas denounced Human Rights Watch for accusing the security forces in Gaza of committing extrajudicial killings during the Israeli war, saying its report is inaccurate, hasty and incomplete.

Shaat: "Hope" convoy to arrive in Gaza early May
21 Apr 2009 - Hamdi Shaat, the head of the government committee to receive visiting delegations, said on Monday that the European "Hope" convoy would arrive in the Gaza Strip early next May.

Ahronoth: A venal senior PA official stopped a probe into selling lands to Jews
21 Apr 2009 - Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that a senior PA official used his clout, at the behest of Israeli parties, to close an investigation into the issue of selling Palestinian real estate in Jerusalem to Jews.

Barhoum: Boycotting anti-racism conference collusion with Israel
21 Apr 2009 - Hamas Movement has opined that the boycott of the UN-sponsored anti-racism conference on the part of the USA and other western countries constituted an evidence of their collusion with Israel.

Int'l organizations: Tens of thousands of Gazans are still homeless
21 Apr 2009 - A coalition of international humanitarian organizations warned that tens of thousands of Gaza citizens are still homeless and do not have access to many basic services such as clean drinking water.

Hamas PLC bloc: The attempt to murder Beitawi transgression of all red lines
21 Apr 2009 - The Hamas change and reform parliamentary bloc strongly denounced the attempted assassination of Sheikh Hamid Al-Beitawi stressing that this crime is a transgression of all red lines.

Los Angeles Times

Qatar's ambitions roil Middle East 
21 Apr 2009 - Critics such as Egypt say the emirate is playing all sides, with its populist Al Jazeera news channel, its hosting of regional summits, all the while maintaining ties with Hamas, Iran and Syria. Qatar, a glittering peninsula of skyscrapers and sand, reminds one of a well-dressed, ambitious little guy playing all the angles in a rough neighborhood. Its pushy rise to prominence is creating suspicion and hardening the Middle East split between moderate U.S. allies and more militant nations. 

Iran president's remarks prompt walkout at U.N. conference 
21 Apr 2009 - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls Israel 'the most cruel and repressive racist regime.' During his opening prayer, two protesters in rainbow wigs throw clown noses. Dozens of Western diplomats walked out of a United Nations conference on racism Monday when Iran's hard-line president called Israel the "most cruel and repressive racist regime." 

French police arrest top ETA suspect 
20 Apr 2009 - Jurdan Martitegi Lizaso, captured in southern France, is said to be the head of the 'military' wing; eight others are arrested in joint raids launched with Spain. French police have arrested the suspected chief of the Basque militant group ETA, the third capture in six months of a leader of the battered but still dangerous separatist organization, Spanish officials said Sunday. 

New York Times

Iranian Calls Israel Racist at Meeting in Geneva
20 Apr 2009 - The remarks at a U.N. conference on combating racism prompted European delegates to desert the hall. 

Iran Official Orders ‘Fair’ Appeal Review for Reporter
20 Apr 2009 - The head of Iran’s judiciary ordered an appeal for Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist sentenced to eight years on charges of spying for Washington. 

Iran Sentences U.S. Journalist to 8 Years
18 Apr 2009 - The sentencing of Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American reporter, comes after Washington and Tehran appeared to be making progress on starting a dialogue over Iran’s nuclear program. 


Articles


His name was Basem 
Mohammad Khatib, Bil"™in Popular Committee Against the Wall and, ISM 4/20/2009
      His name was Basem, which means smile, and that is how he greeted everyone.  But we all called him "˜Pheel’, which means elephant because he had the body the size of an elephant. But Basem had the heart of a child. 
     He loved everyone, and because of his sweetness and ability to make us laugh, everyone loved him. Basem was everyone’s friend: the children talk about how he would play with them, scare them and then make them laugh. He would tend the garden in the playground and bring toys and books to the kindergarten. The old ladies in the village talk about how he used to visit, to ask after them and see if they needed anything. In the village, he seemed to be everywhere at once. He would pop in to say hello, take one puff of the nargila, and be off to his next spot. The morning he was killed he went to the house of Hamis, whose skull had been broken at a previous demonstration three months ago by a tear gas canister projectile - the same weapon that would kill Basem.
     Basem woke Hamis and gave him his medicine, then off he went to visit another friend in the village who is ill with cancer. Then a little girl from the village wanted a pineapple but couldn’t find any in the local stores. So Basem went to Ramallah to get a pineapple and was back before noon for the Friday prayers and the weekly demonstration against the theft of our land by the apartheid wall.  Pheel never missed a demonstration; he participated in all the activities and creative actions in Bilin. He would always talk to the soldiers as human beings. Before he was hit he was calling for the soldiers to stop shooting because there were goats near the fence and he was worried for them. Then a woman in front of him was hit. He yelled to the commander to stop shooting because someone was wounded. He expected the soldiers to understand and stop shooting. Instead, they shot him too.

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
The writing on the wall spells "freedom"
20 Apr 2009 - "My dear Palestinian brothers and sisters, I have come to your land and I have recognized shades of my own." These are the first 20 words of an open letter written by Farid Esack, a South African scholar and political activist known for his role in the struggle against apartheid. The total length of his letter is 1,998 carefully chosen words in which he argues that the situation in Palestine is worse than it ever was in South Africa under apartheid rule. The Electronic Intifada co-founder Arjan El Fassed comments. 

Palestinian olive oil's Fairtrade journey
20 Apr 2009 - In spring 2008, several years of careful negotiations finally culminated in the first Palestinian olive oil being awarded Fairtrade status. The oil, sourced from the Palestine Fair Trade Producers Company (PFTPC), based in the West Bank city of Jenin, is both the first Palestinian product to receive Fairtrade certification, and the first olive oil to be allowed to use the mark. Sarah Irving reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

Film review: Musical resistance in "Telling Strings"
20 Apr 2009 - Swiss filmmaker Anne-Marie Haller's 60-minute documentary Telling Strings provides a rare look into the profound workings of a Palestinian family of musicians. Initially, the film appears unassuming yet its powerful content, stunning cinematography and informing moments make it a welcomed addition to a long list of documentaries on Palestine. Maymanah Farhat reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

Animal Farm finds a Palestinian stage
19 Apr 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - "Intifada," 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. "We are exhausted not because we are hungry. We are exhausted because of human oppression, and we can't work out how to resolve our problems," shouts Old Major, one of the senior pig revolutionaries. 

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. * Picture: Palestine Monitor According to the Bil’in village website , Basem was shouting to...

Palestine Chronicle
The Chronicle According to Pilger: Long May it Publish
20 Apr 2009 - Dear Supporters, Comparable to the struggling economy, the Palestine Chronicle is struggling to keep on track with our fundraiser. We are entering our 20th day, and have raised approximately 55% of our projected goal. We have ten days to raise another $5,500 and we need your help to do that. On the dark side, contributions are down from our last fundraiser, but on the bright side, more people are actually sending gifts in, even if these donations are smaller on average, every bit counts and every dollar gets us closer to our goal. We cannot stress enough how critical it is for PC to continue. Just Google “Palestinian News”, “News from Palestine”, “Palestinian newspaper” or “Palestine”. Enter in any given key word and you will find Palestine Chronicle either on the first page results or very close. Hours and hours are put into maintaining our publication daily, corresponding with writers, readers and editors. Please take a moment to consider: Israeli dailies such as Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post are our greatest competitors. Compare their millions to our mere two thousand dollar requirement per month. For just $12,000.00, we can present the voice of the Palestinian people loud and clear, free and available to everyone everywhere in the world, but your urgent help is needed today to secure the next six months of coverage. Just how important is the Palestine Chronicle to you? No one could say it better than John Pilger, a world-renowned journalist, author and documentary filmmaker. "In the...

The Death of Bassem Abu Rahme
20 Apr 2009 - By Frank Barat On April the 17th, like any Fridays afternoon for the last 4 years, the small village of Bil'in, north of Ramallah, was preparing for the usual demonstration against Israel's annexation wall (some people call it apartheid wall or separation wall. The Israeli government refers to it as the security fence). The village of Bil'in has, since the mid eighties, lost more than 60% of its land for the purpose of Israeli growing settlements and the construction of the wall. The inhabitants of the village used to live mainly from agriculture and olive trees plantations but more and more, the people of Bil'in have to rely on the women to survive. Embroidery has become one of the main resource of the place, located a few kilometers away from Tel Aviv. (On a nice day, you can see the “inaccessible”- for the Palestinians- beach from the roof tops of Bil'in). In January 2005, a village committee (led by Mohamed Khatib, Iyad Burnat and Abdullah Abu Rahme) was created and a month later non-violent demonstrations started, first taking part every day, then once a week, on Yum Al Juma'a (Friday, day of prayer). The village won a huge battle in August 2008 (1) when the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that the new route of the barrier in Bil’in was in violation of the Court ruling released on September 2007(2) (which ruled that the Wall path was prejudicial to Bil’in and must be altered) and ordered the State to...

Another Obama Disappointment
20 Apr 2009 - By Joharah Baker Today, April 20, the United Nations' global conference on racism opens in Geneva. There will be a few empty seats though, namely those reserved for the United States, Israel, Canada, Italy, Holland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. The United States, the obvious ringleader of the West has been mulling over whether to attend or not, with many of its sidekicks waiting for their cue. Israel of course, announced it would not attend from day one along with Canada and Italy. At this point, I think everyone has guessed what is going on. The UN conference is the second one of its type, the first being the infamous Durban Conference in 2001 in the South African city during which the US and Israel walked out in protest. No surprises as to why. The pair's feathers got ruffled when a draft resolution midway through the conference likened Zionism to racism. How dare they? I mean, how could the "only democracy in the Middle East" be likened to racism? Let's just disregard the fact that it has maintained an illegal, oppressive military occupation over Palestinian territories for the past 40-some years and has delegated Palestinians there to third class citizens for all practical purposes. Even Palestinians inside Israel are treated as second-class citizens because they, unlike the movement that founded Israel, are not Jewish. Anyway, the last conference was during the Bush – that's George W. Bush – administration, so anything short of a boycott in the name of Israel...

Thanks, Palestinians, for St George!
20 Apr 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London April 23 is when we in England celebrate our patron saint, George. St George and the Dragon are to be seen everywhere in Bethlehem, especially in and around the ancient Church of the Nativity. Many Bethlehem houses have a panel of St George carved in stone and set in the wall above the front door. Although George is England’s patron saint he never set foot here, and there is much argument about who this warrior-saint was and where he came from. But there are no such doubts in Palestine: George was a Palestinian born at Lydda and brought up in the Christian faith, although some sources insist that he was born in Cappadocea (Turkey) and taken home by his mother to her native Palestine when his father died. He decided on a soldiering career, joined the Roman army at the time of Emperor Diolcletian and rose to high rank. He became one of the Emperor’s favourites but when Diocletian, a fanatical slave to the Roman gods, began slaughtering innocent Christians George felt it was time to stand up and be counted for his religious beliefs. He denounced the Emperor for cruelty and tore up his orders. Not surprisingly he was imprisoned and tortured. George was told his life would be spared if he offered sacrifice to the Roman gods. Instead he prayed to his Christian God, who immediately responded with Heavenly thunderbolts and fireballs and an earthquake that shook the ground and destroyed the temple...

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