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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
29 April, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

The Israeli military invades and bulldoze lands in northern Gaza Strip
29 Apr 2009 - A number of Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded farm lands located near the northern Gaza Israeli borders on Wednesday morning.

The Israeli municipality finishes preparations to demolish 50 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
29 Apr 2009 - The Israeli Jerusalem municipality announced on Wednesday that it had finalized all the preparations needed to demolish 50 Palestinian-owned homes in Jerusalem.

Israeli settlers bulldoze Palestinian owned lands near Salfit city
29 Apr 2009 - Israeli settlers supported by military units have been bulldozing Palestinian farm lands that belongs the villagers of Sartah near the northern West Bank city of Salfit.

18 residents allowed back in Gaza after medical treatment in Libya
29 Apr 2009 - The Egyptian Authorities opened the Rafah border terminal on Tuesday at night for a short period to allow the return of 18 patients and family members back into Gaza.The patients had undergone medical treatment in Libyan hospitals. 

Na'el Barghouthi; 31 years behind bars, still counting
29 Apr 2009 - Former political prisoner, researcher and specialist in detainees’ affairs, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, has revealed that detainee Na’el Barghouthi now spent 31years behind bars. He was kidnapped by Israeli forces on April 4th 1978. 

Troops invade Jenin and nearby towns
29 Apr 2009 - On Wednesday at dawn Israeli forces invaded  the northern West Bank city of Jenin, the nearby towns of Qabatia and Arraba and the villages of Marka and Fahma. 

Israel worried US might recognize unity government that includes Hamas
29 Apr 2009 - Israeli media sources reported on Tuesday that senior Israeli officials are concerned over a report published on Monday by the LA Times newspaper. The report said that the US administration under Obama could provide financial support to a Palestinian unity government, even if it includes Hamas ministers. 

Youth stabbed to death in Jenin
29 Apr 2009 - The Maan News Agency reported on Tuesday night that an 18-year old Palestinian youth was stabbed to death and a 17-year old seriously injured during a fight between a number of youths. 

70-year old man dies in Gaza due to kidney failure
29 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health of the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza reported Monday evening that a 70-year old man died of kidney failure after the Egyptian Health Ministry refused to recognize transfer papers to an Egyptian hospital. 

Fateh-Hamas talks to be held again May 16 and 17
29 Apr 2009 - Internal talks between the rival Fateh and Hamas movements have been postponed until May 16 and 17  to give the two parties the chance to discuss a new Egyptian proposal aimed at resolving all remaining issues. 

Palestinian man sentenced to death
29 Apr 2009 - A Palestinian Military court sentenced a Palestinian man to death by hanging after he was found guilty of selling land to an Israeli company which encourages settlements in the occupied territories. 

Army kidnaps two Palestinian teenagers, claims of plan to stab
28 Apr 2009 - Two Palestinians teenagers were kidnapped on Tuesday at midday by Israeli troops at a checkpoint near the Ibrahim mosque (Tomb of Patriarchs) in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Peres: Bombing Iran may not be the 'best solution'
29 Apr 2009 - President says attacking Iran nuclear sites would only postpone its ability to build atom bomb. 

Could the Taliban get the bomb before Iran does?
27 Apr 2009 - Just when you thought you knew the unthinkable - now there's this: the keys to Pakistan's arsenal. 

Netanyahu: Threat of terror is greater than ever
28 Apr 2009 - Israeli leaders, bereaved families gather on Mt. Herzl to remember fallen IDF soldiers and terror victims. 

Revisiting the photo that exposed a Shin Bet lie
28 Apr 2009 - 1984 photo shows Palestinian alive, after hostage rescue in which Shin Bet said he was killed. 

Report: 3 Lebanon men admit spying on Hezbollah for Israel
28 Apr 2009 - Men arrested Saturday in connection with alleged espionage ring headed by retired Lebanese general. 

Israel honors fallen IDF soldiers, terror victims
27 Apr 2009 - IDF chief warns Israel's enemies: Don't test our strength; Netanyahu vows to 'spare no effort' for Shalit. 

Border Policeman gets 8 years for killing Palestinian in 2002
27 Apr 2009 - Shahar Butbika and three friends forced 17-year-old to jump from speeding jeep in Hebron. 

Security guards shoot Palestinian at West Bank checkpoint
27 Apr 2009 - Man lightly wounded in incident near Hebron; army checking whether he tried to carry out terror attack. 

Ma'an News

Palestinian to break record for longest-held political prisoner 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – On Friday, 1 May, Palestinian Nael Barghouthi will become the world’s record-holder as the longest-held political prisoner. Barghouthi will have completed more than 31 years in Israeli custody by May, said Abd An-Nasser Farawna, a Palestinian specialist in prisoners affairs. On Friday, Barghouthi will break the Guinness World Record, which is currently held by Sa'id Al-Ataba, a Palestinian who was also in Israeli custody. According to Farawna, Barghouthi was detained on 4 April 1978. He became the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner after his fellow prisoner, Sa’id Al-Ataba, was released on 25 August 2008 after efforts made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Al-Ataba spent 31 years and 26 days in Israeli custody. Barghouthi was born in 1957 in Ramallah in the central West Bank. 

Israeli troops detain rights workers, confiscate collected photos and testimony from earlier attack 
4/29/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers detained dozens youth and two human rights field workers from Wad Al-Shajina village south of Dura Wednesday. The researchers were collecting statements from villagers following an attack on the by Israeli troops earlier this week and taking pictures of the scene near a road leading to an Israeli military base in the West Bank. An Israeli officer ordered the group of the Palestinian Al-Haq and Israeli B’Tselem rights groups to leave the area so researchers and villagers went about 25meters from the area they had been standing. “We continued our work,” said Al-Haq researcher Hesham Ash-Sharbati, “then the officer returned and confiscated our ID cards and our video cameras. ”The researchers and a dozen youth nearby were detained. Soldiers took the memory cards from the cameras then released all but one 14-year-old boy whose identity is unknown. 

Israeli forces uproot olive trees, bulldoze lands near Salfit 
4/29/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - The Israeli authorities were bulldozing more than 200 acres of land before several days in the east of Sarta village in Salfit near the Barkan settlement in the industrial zone. Fatah in Salfit warned from the seriousness of such attacks by settlers aiming at seizing and confiscating lands in Salfit and the nearby villages. The Israeli forces bulldozed more than 200 acres and uprooted olive trees in Sarta village where settlers were protected by Israeli army. [end] 

Artas villagers appeal for help resisting settlers on local land 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Villagers in Artas sent appeals for help against a bus of settlers and armed Israeli soldiers infiltrating the area Wednesday afternoon. A hill just outside the area, southwest of Bethlehem, was reportedly overrun by soldiers and settlers for much of the afternoon. Locals feared the group would destroy the agricultural land, much of which is ready for spring harvest. The village will host a lettuce festival next week to celebrate the crop which is central to the livlihoods of most residents. [end] 

Settlers and heavily armed soldiers parade marking independence in West Bank 
4/29/2009 - Jenin - Ma’an - Dozens of Israelis on foot and 300 vehicles from the illegal MevoDotan settlement in the northern West Bank paraded from the settlement to the main road leading to the Palestinian village of Ya’bad and then to a second settlement on Wednesday. The settlers, marking the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, walked in the streets of the West Bank with heavily armed soldiers flanking the group. They walked base Barta’a crossing near the Hermesh settlement. Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinians from travelling on the road as well as from getting close to the marching group and the area it was in. The restrictions continued until 7pm. Local residents said soldiers were patrolling several main streets in the areas in order to keep Palestinians away from the settlers. Member at the Barta’a village council Tawfiq Qabha a said 300 settler cars. . . 

Abbas expected to announce new caretaker government in ten days 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an Exclusive – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to form a new government in the ten days preceding his trip to Washington DC where he is set to meet with US President Barack Obama, high ranking sources said Wednesday. The information was leaked shortly after announcements fromcame after Palestinian Authority officials Azzam Al-Ahmad and Mahmoud Az-Zahhar that the Hamas-Fatah dialogue would be postponed yet again to 16 May. A dialogue session was set for 26 April, postponed to the 27th at which point sides worked through some of the outstanding issues related to conciliation. Hopes for a quick solution to division have crashed. Sources who preferred to remain anonymous told Ma’an that whatever new government is put in place would step aside in favor of a unity government for the sake of conciliation. 

Israeli authorities release Jerusalemite after eight years 
4/29/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities released a Palestinian prisoner from East Jerusalem after he completed an eight-year imprisonment on Tuesday. The man, 35-year-old Tariq Al-Eisawi, was originally detained in January 2001 and served seven more years in Israel’s custody. [end] 

Under siege: Unemployment in Gaza climbs to 44.8% 
4/29/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – With Labor Day approaching the Gaza City Chamber of Commerce released the latest unemployment figures for the besieged Strip and found the unemployment rate climbed to 44. 8%, excluding those who have given up looking for work, in 2008. A report by Mahir At-Tabba, director of public relations at the Chamber of Commerce in Gaza City, found that 85% of the population in the Gaza Strip is dependent on humanitarian aid offered by UNRWA, the World Food Program, and other organizations. This was up from 63% in 2007. According to the International Labor Organization standards, unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip was 44. 8% in 2008. There were 200,000 unemployed workers. The poverty rate was 80%. According to At-Tabba, only 1,400 workers remain employed in the industrial sector, down from 35,000 before the June 2007 siege. 

Hamas leader visits Palestinians stranded on Iraq-Syria border 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmed Bahar toured a camp of Palestinian refugees stranded on the Syrian-Iraqi border on Tuesday. Bahar, a Hamas leader, was welcomed by Thamer Meshainesh of the League of Palestinian Refugees in Iraq, according to the Palestinian Information Center website. Having fled the violent aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq, and then denied asylum elsewhere, more than 3,000 Palestinians are stranded in three desolate camps along the Syrian border. Bahar, according to the report, told the refugees in a statement that the PLC “would never cease efforts to solve the problem of Palestinian refugees in Iraq. ” Bahar also distributed 100 dollars to each family in the camp and 50 dollars to each unmarried male. 

Palestinian youth stabbed to death in Jenin 
4/29/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – A Palestinian youth was stabbed to death in a fight between three residents of Jenin in the northern West Bank on Tuesday evening. Local sources said18-year-old Ahmad Abu Ar-Rub was stabbed to death during the fight while another 17-year-old sustained serious knife injuries. Palestinian security services arrested the alleged killer. According to Colonel Radi Asida, director of Jenin police department, security services deployed around the homes of the victims and alleged killer’s families to prevent further tit-for-tat violence. [end] 

Barak: No room for the weak in Middle East 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A multi-layer missile defense system being developed by Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak will help efforts toward regional peace, the Israeli minister said on Tuesday. Barak said the system will provide “strategic protection” against short and long range missiles and will also enable Israel to go forward with diplomacy aimed at reaching a final regional peace deal. Israel Radio quoted Barak as saying, “Israel is not located in Europe, or in North America, but in the Middle East where there is no room for the weak. ”He said a peace deal cannot be achieved “unless you are strong. ”[end] 

Egypt allows patients to return to Gaza through Rafah 
4/29/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing into Gaza on Tuesday evening, allowing eighteen medical patients to return home. According to crossing authorities, the Palestinians were treated in Libya. Others are expected to return Wednesday morning. The crossing is expected to remain open until a Hamas delegation returns from Cairo, where talks with the rival Fatah movement have been suspended until mid-May. There is no information available on whether the crossing will be open in the opposite direction, allowing people to leave Gaza. [end] 

Obama congratulates Israel on 61st anniversary of founding 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - US President Barack Obama congratulated Israel on the 61st anniversary of its founding, according to Israel Radioon Tuesday. In a statement released by the White House, Obama vowed to advance peace talks in the region and pursue the interests of both Palestinians and Israelis. Obama reportedly noted that the US was the first country to recognize Israel in 1948. [end] 

Mubarak: Religious extremists threatening Arab stability 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Wednesday that his country would not forgive anyone who interferes with Egypt's security and stability. Mubarak added in pre-May Day remarks at Al-Azhar University in eastern Cairo that the entire Arab region is under threat by religious extremists and that forces are attempting to deepen Arab disagreement "under the cover of Islam. " He insisted that Egypt serves the Palestinian cause and that groups fighting Israel under the guise of resistance actually "bring destruction to its nation. " Earlier this month, Egypt claimed that Hizbullah agents were planning attacks on Israeli tourists in the Sinai. Both Egyptian and Israeli officials said that the alleged cell of 49 men arrested in Egypt had links to Hizbullah and were planning attacks aimed at destabilizing Egypt. 

EU envoys pledge support for Fayyad government 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – European Union EU envoys pledged support for caretaker Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his government in a meeting in Ramallah on Wednesday. The Presidency of the EU, currently held by the Czech Republic, organized the meeting between the EU heads of mission and Fayyad. According to a statement issued from the Czech mission in Ramallah, the EU officials applauded Fayyad for implementing financial reform since he was appointed in June 2007. Thirty representatives of EU member states' missions in Ramallah and East Jerusalem attended Wednesday's meeting. The EU envoys also urged donor states to make good on financial pledges made at an international conference in Sharm Ash-Sheikh, Egypt, in March. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is facing a financial crisis due, PA officials say, to unfulfilled promises of funding. 

Qatar Charity contributes 10 million US dollars to UNRWA 
4/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Qatar and UNRWA officials signed a 10 million US dollar agreement to provide aid to Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced Tuesday. The donation is the largest the country has ever made, and the first from its newly established Qatar Charity. According to an UNRWA statement the funds will be used to create short term jobs for 8,824 unemployed refugees in the Strip over the next two years as well as provide cash relief to 12,000 for rent and basic necessities. [end] 

Health Ministry: Palestinian territory at risk for swine flu 
4/29/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Swine flu could reach the Palestinian territories after two Israelis were diagnosed with the disease, the Ministry of Health in Ramallah said on Wednesday. The Director General of the Initial Health Care Unit in the ministry, As'ad Ramlawi said precautions need to be taken against the disease. He added that the ministry is in contact with the World Health Organization regarding the virus. Currently there are no suspected cases in the West Bank or Gaza. The ministry released an informational brochure on the disease, noting that 1,600 infections have been reported worldwide, and 103 people died from the disease in Mexico. The ministry said the virus can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and breathing. The symptoms of the disease those of ordinary flu: fever, sneezing, sore throat, general body aches, headache, shuddering, and exhaustion. 

Fatah wins Hebron University student council elections 
4/29/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – The Shabibeh Students Bloc (Fatah) won Hebron University Student Council elections for the second time in a row ton Monday with Hamas boycotting the event. The Fatah-affiliated party won 30 seats while the Islamic League Bloc affiliated to Islamic Jihad took 4 seats and the National Initiative Coalition, affiliated with Mustafa Barghouthi’s Palestine National Initiative got 4 seats. A coalition block with Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took two seats while Progressive Students Union affiliated with the Palestinian People’s Party took one seat. While Hamas boycotted the elections stating fear of harassment and arrest by the Palestinian Authority 52. 49% of students voted. 

Hamas: Any government not ratified by the PLC is illegitimate 
4/29/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Any Palestinian government not ratified by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will be illegitimate, said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum following leaked information Wednesday hinting that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would form a new caretaker government in the coming ten days. Barhoum told Ma’an any new government would be a “reproduction” of the present caretaker government and would only deepen the internal division. He said Hamas would in no way endorse a new governing body not ratified by the PLC. While Barhoum said there was little progress on the issues of elections and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the latest round of talks sides agreed that proportional representation would not be used in the coming elections. Both government and security profiles, added Barhoum, have been postponed untill the next session in mid-May in accordance with Egyptian recommendations. 

School robbed in northern West Bank 
4/29/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Thieves robbed the Ithar School in the Aj-Jabal Ash-Shamali area of the northern West Bank city of Nablus early on Wednesday morning, according to its principal. Principal Nadia Al-Kakhen told Ma'an that staff and students arrived at the school on Wednesday to find the doors damaged and computers and money missing. She estimated that 20,000 shekels worth of goods were stolen from the five-story building. Al-Kakhen condemned the act and called on all concerned sides to investigate the incident. [end] 

Expired dates from Israeli settlement seized en route to Nablus 
4/29/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an - Palestinian Authority Security Service seized several tons of expired dates imported to the West Bank from an illegal Israeli settlement on Wednesday evening. The dates were en route to Nablus and confiscated following an intelligence campaign where a Palestinian trader was found to be accepting expired dates from the Israeli settlements near Al-Hamra. The truck moving the most recent shipment into Palestinian areas, loaded with the expired dates, was stopped and seized at the entrance of Nablus. Charges will be pressed by the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy who said legal action would be taken. [end] 


Aljazeera

Lebanon frees Hariri suspects
29 Apr 2009 - Four generals imprisoned over ex-Lebanese PM's assassination released after four years.

Death verdict over W Bank land sale
29 Apr 2009 - Man accused of treason for selling land that did not belong to him to Israel.

Palestinian rivals end unity talks
28 Apr 2009 - Fatah and Hamas fail to reach agreement on a power-sharing government.

Clinton urges 'free' Lebanon vote
26 Apr 2009 - Lebanese must choose leaders without outside interference, US secretary of state says.

IRIN

GAZA: Efforts to track communicable diseases in Gaza
GAZA CITY Monday, April 27, 2009 (IRIN) - UN agencies and the health ministry in Gaza are working to strengthen communicable disease surveillance systems in Gaza, in light of the fact that leaking sewage may be contaminating drinking water.

ISRAEL-OPT: UN survey highlights psychological trauma in Gaza 
GAZA CITY Sunday, April 26, 2009 (IRIN) - The UN Inter-Agency Gender Task Force (IAGTF), a mechanism for integrating gender concerns into UN policies and programmes, on 23 April published the results of a household survey on the needs and perceptions of men and women in the aftermath of Israel’s recent 23-day military offensive in Gaza.

Inter Press Service

US-ISRAEL: Film Examines Paranoia Over Anti-Semitism 
NEW YORK, Apr 29 (IPS) - "I have never experienced anti-Semitism myself, but it’s a phrase that always seems to be in the air," begins Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir’s lively new documentary "Defamation". "Three words seem to appear over and over again: Holocaust, Nazi, anti-Semitism."

MIDEAST: Tunnels Become a Lifeline 
RAFAH, Apr 29 (IPS) - Pick-up trucks speed westward on the Barth highway that flanks the Israeli border in Egypt's North Sinai region, stacked high with cartons of petrol. They are headed "for Gaza", the Bedouin residents of Barth village say – through the tunnels that burrow under the Egypt-Gaza...

EGYPT: Market Crash Crushes the Poor 
CAIRO, Apr 29 (IPS) - Egyptians facing economic hardship know how tough it can be to put food on their table. Now they have also learned the cold, hard reality of the capital market.

RIGHTS-US: Court Reins in "State Secrets" Privilege 
NEW YORK, Apr 28 (IPS) - In what may become a landmark decision, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the "state secrets privilege" – routinely used by the government to block lawsuits against its officials – can only be used to contest specific evidence, but not to dismiss an...

Stop The Wall

37 injured in protests following the killing of Abu Rahma
27 Apr 2009 - Anti-Wall demonstrations this week commemorated the life of Basem Abu Rahma, who was killed last week in Bil’in. Several were detained and at least 37 were wounded in Ni’lin, Bil’in, Jayyus and al-Ma’sara. 25 of the wounded are residents of Bil’in, where a memorial was set up on Friday for Abu Rahma. Youth in Jayyus have also reported that soldiers have started using only live ammunition against village demonstrations. [

PCHR Latest

PCHR Welcomes Resumption of Work at External Medical Treatment Department
PCHR

PCHR Condemn Israeli Attempts to Legitimise Crimes in Gaza and Shield Perpetrators from Justice
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(09 -22 April  2008)
During the reporting period, IOF killed three Palestinian civilians, including two children, in the West Bank. Two of the dead were killed by IOF in Ramallah, while Israeli settlement guards in Hebron killed the third.

International Solidarity Movement

22 days to lift the siege on Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - In 22 days, the Israeli military invaded Gaza and left death and destruction in its wake. In 22 days, we will focus on lifting the blockade of Gaza by pressuring Egypt and Israel to open the borders. With participants from 22 countries, we will make this a truly international effort. From May 22-June 14, delegations will amass at the Rafah border in Egypt and the Erez crossing in Israel, along with boats coming in from the Mediterranean Sea (via www. freegaza. org). We will envelop Gaza with solidarity in order to LIFT THE SIEGE. With your help, we can do it. We will do it. Here's how you can help: Organize your own delegation"”students, labor, health workers, lawyers, artists, religious, environmentalists, farmers, peacemakers"”sometime between May 22 and June 14. You can try to enter Gaza through either the Israeli or Egyptian border. 

Zero Palestinian Evictions, now!
International Solidarity Movement - The inhabitants' associations, international networks, voluntary groups, NGOs, public agencies, citizens of the world, express their indignation at and denounce Israel's continual policies of eviction and demolition carried out against the Palestinian people, both Palestinians '48 (citizens of Israel) and Palestinians '67 (in the Occupied Palestinian Territory). The Israeli Ministry of the Interior demolishes hundreds of homes of its own Palestinian citizens every year due to zoning and planning schemes intentionally insufficient for the needs of the communities. There are, in addition, dozens of villages not recognized by the government whose residents live in the constant instability that comes with pending eviction and demolitions. These evictions and demolitions are carried out under the pretense of "upholding the law" despite being in violation of international laws. 

Two elderly farmers attacked by Israeli settlers in the southern West Bank
International Solidarity Movement - 26 April 2009 - On April 26th at 1:15pm, Israeli settlers beat two elderly Palestinian farmers with stones and sticks while they were working their lands close to Bet Ayn settlement, located in the southern West Bank.  The attack occurred shortly after Israeli soldiers, having observed the two farmers, left the area.  They did not reappear even after the attack. Both farmers are from the village of Beit Ommar, with lands in Saffa, close to the illegal Israeli settlement. Abdullah Soleiby, aged 80, sustained two hair-line fractures and received ten stitches to the top of his head after three settlers held him down and repeatedly smashed his head with stones.  His brother, Hamad Soleiby, aged 72, was also beaten though he managed to put his brother on the back of a donkey and take him to the village, where he was briefly treated before being transferred to the hospital in Hebron. 

12 Palestinians injured after settler rampage in Urif village
International Solidarity Movement - 24 April 2009 - At around 5pm on Friday, the 24th of April, nearly 30 masked settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar rampaged through the Palestinian village of Urif, southwest of the city of Nablus.  The armed settlers first gathered at the boys' high school in the village and proceeded to break doors and windows with metal sticks and farm tools.  They then moved towards the center of the village and began to beat Palestinian residents.  The settlers also shot at the water tanks on top of the roofs of residences, damaging several. Villagers soon gathered in the streets in an attempt to defend themselves.  The settlers opened fire on the villagers with live ammunition. At this time, the Israeli military arrived and also began shooting at residents with rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition.  Israeli forces also prevented ambulances from entering Urif to treat the. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu will have to work to restore U.S.-Israel ties
29 Apr 2009 - During his first 100 days in office, U.S. President Barack Obama set his aims high, but he took careful, moderate steps in practice, avoiding confrontations or adventures that might undermine his support in Congress or among the American public. That has also been his approach to the Middle East: Obama has called for a radical change in direction from his predecessor's policies, but at the same time has given relatively low priority to dealing with Israel and its neighbors. ... 

Ben-Eliezer: Netanyahu will surprise us with 'serious' Syria talks
29 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to conduct "serious negotiations" with the Palestinians and the Syrians, Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) told Haaretz. The full interview will appear Friday in Week's End. ...

Netanyahu: Israel to do all in its power to bring Shalit home
29 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed on Wednesday the state's commitment to the parents of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit to do all in its power to win the corporal's release. ...

How Gideon Levy's first scoop got buried
28 Apr 2009 - He arrived in the evening, accompanied by his bodyguards. I was living in a cheap hotel at the time and the reception clerk had never seen anything like this entourage at his hotel. We went out to a nearby bar. He, a Palestinian diplomat, ordered whiskey on the rocks and I did the same. We had one shot after another, and chatted. All of this took place in a major European center of beer. ... 

Lieberman: Israel has worked to achieve peace since its creation
28 Apr 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday congratulated Israel on its 61rst anniversary, telling foreign diplomats that since the beginning of its existence, "Israel has worked hard to achieve peace." ...

The Guardian

Members of US Congress sceptical of Palestinian aid plan
29 Apr 2009 - Obama administration has asked Congress to allow aid even if members of Hamas become part of government The Obama administration, already on treacherous domestic political ground with its outreach to Iran, Cuba and others, has opened...

Hezbollah spy thriller grips Arab world
29 Apr 2009 - Bugged cars, mini-bars and the 'party of God' … no wonder the arrest of four alleged moles has the Middle East abuzz It's the first rule of espionage not to get caught – and of counter-intelligence...

Antony Lerman: Israel-Palestine is already a de facto single state
29 Apr 2009 - The control Israel exerts on Gaza and the West Bank suggests time is running out for proponents of a two-state solution Critics of the one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict see it, at best, as utopian...

Abe Hayeem: Boycott this Israeli settlement builder
28 Apr 2009 - The UK Foreign Office will no longer rent from Lev Leviev. Now other states must also boycott this builder of illegal settlements The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office must be commended for its decision to cancel...

Ha'aretz National page

All four suspected swine flu victims in Israel test negative
29 Apr 2009 - After a sixth Israeli was hospitalized on Wednesday with swine flu symptoms, the health ministry issued a statement declaring that all but two suspected patients had tested negative for the potentially deadly swine flu strain. ...

WATCH: Israel national anthem goes for world record - again
28 Apr 2009 - The organizers of a record-breaking worldwide chorus of Hatikva, Israel's national anthem, tried to smash their own record for the largest number of people singing a national anthem at the same time. ...

IN PICTURES / Israel celebrates 61st Independence Day
28 Apr 2009 - Israelis took to the streets Tuesday night to celebrate the country's 61st Independence Day. The night of parties, live music and fireworks came at the end of 24 hours of national mourning for more than 24,000 soldiers and civilians killed fighting for Israel or in terror attacks. ...

Probe into suspected draft-dodging promoters draws fire
28 Apr 2009 - Both supporters and objectors of groups encouraging youths to avoid conscription are accusing police of mishandling a probe into the groups' actions, although police deny this. ...

6th Israeli hospitalized with possible swine flu; 2 cases confirmed
28 Apr 2009 - A 56-year-old woman who recently returned from Mexico has been hospitalized in Kfar Sava on suspicion that she may have contracted the potentially deadly swine flu during her trip. ...


YNet News

Suspected swine flu patients test negative
29 Apr 2009 - Two confirmed cases remain in Israel after four suspected cases found healthy; Health Ministry issues new orders for anyone who may have come in contact with disease. WHO says flu shows no signs of slowing, announces Phase 5 alert

Barak: Our existence cannot be doubted
29 Apr 2009 - Defense minister speaks at Independence Day event, says Israel must complete Iron Dome to defend against threats 'near and far'

Mubarak warns Iran, Hizbullah 
29 Apr 2009 - Egyptian president says 'will not tolerate those who try to tamper with Egypt's security and stability

Neturei Karta burn flags on Independence Day
29 Apr 2009 - Believers in faith denouncing Israel's existence gather in Beit Shemesh to protest its anniversary

2 more Israelis suspected of carrying swine flu
29 Apr 2009 - 34-year-old man who returned from Mexico quarantined after coming down with flu symptoms; 56-year-old woman also hospitalized with similar symptoms; two swine flu cases confirmed, two more suspected cases being checked; US confirms first death from virus, Egypt says will slaughter all its pigs

Turkey brushes off Israel concern over Syria drill 
29 Apr 2009 - Turkish general 'unconcerned by Israel's reaction' after Barak calls drill disturbing development

Mubarak congratulates Israel on independence
29 Apr 2009 - Egyptian president expresses 'expectation for return of Mideast peace process to path leading to an end to violence, bloodshed in a manner allowing establishment of an independent Palestinian state existing alongside Israel in peace and security'

Netanyahu: We're committed to bringing Shalit home
29 Apr 2009 - Speaking at Independence Day ceremony honoring past and president IDF commanders, PM says 'soldiers know we will spare no effort to bring them home safe and sound' 

B'tselem

Policemen sentenced to prison for incident exposed by B'Tselem
27 Apr 2009 - The Jerusalem District Court sentenced two additional border policemen for their involvement in the 2002 abduction and killing of ‘Imran Abu Hamdiya, a Palestinian from Hebron.

Testimony: Settlers assault young pregnant Palestinian
22 Apr 2009 - On 10 April, Roqaya al-Hazalin, together with a group of women and children, were grazing sheep near their village, in the Hebron District. According to her testimony, four armed settlers with sticks approached them. The other shepherds she was with ran a

Daily Star

Turkey's army chief dismisses Israeli criticism of joint exercise with Syria 
29 Apr 2009 - Turkey's army chief Ilker Basbug on Wednesday brushed aside Israel's criticism of his country's first-ever joint military exercises with neighboring Syria. "Israel's reaction does not interest us. We do not have to explain to a third country any military exercise that we undertake with another country," General Basbug told a news conference.

Egypt orders immediate slaughter of all pigs 
29 Apr 2009 - Egypt began slaughtering the roughly 300,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precaution against swine flu even though no cases have been reported there, infuriating farmers who blocked streets and stoned vehicles of Health Ministry workers who came to carry out the government's order.

Gazans continue digging lifeline tunnels even as Egypt, Israel scramble to seal them 
29 Apr 2009 - Once a profitable business, Abu Abdullah's tunnel under the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has been out of work for three weeks due to an Egyptian security crackdown on smuggling. The Palestinian network of some 3,000 tunnels, created to thwart Israel's blockade of the coastal territory ruled by Hamas Islamists.

Syria's detention of human rights activist 'unlawful' 
29 Apr 2009 - A group of leading human rights organizations called on Syrian authorities to free Dr. Kamal Labwani, a political and human rights activist, following a UN finding that his detention is arbitrary and thus unlawful, a statement released Wednesday said. The groups called on nations engaged in dialogue with Syria to make the release of Dr. Labwani and other activists a priority.

US 'very concerned' about journalist jailed in Iran 
29 Apr 2009 - The United States said Tuesday it was "very concerned" about the health of US-Iranian reporter Roxana Saberi, said to be on a hunger strike in a Tehran jail, and urged her release. "We're very concerned about her mental state, about her physical being," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

Palestinian Information Center

Khudari appeals to world's labor unions to support Gaza workers
29 Apr 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, called on all labor unions around the world to seriously move on the international labor day to support Gaza workers.

Bitter disputes within Fatah prevent it from holding its sixth conference
29 Apr 2009 - Fatah sources ruled out that the sixth conference of Fatah could be held in the near future attributing this to the altercations that erupted between members of the preparatory committee.

Hamdan: Dialog scored breakthroughs but no package agreement reached
29 Apr 2009 - Osama Hamdan, the representative of Hamas in Lebanon, has stressed that the fourth round of dialog talks with Fatah faction achieved breakthroughs but no package agreement was reached.

MP Musleh: World community involved in IOA rabid settlement drive
29 Apr 2009 - MP Mahmoud Musleh has charged the world community with giving a blind eye to the IOA rabid settlement campaign in the West Bank especially occupied Jerusalem and its vicinity.

MP Ashqar: PA-Israeli security coordination poses threat to Palestinian cause
29 Apr 2009 - MP Ismail Al-Ashqar warned that the persistence of PA security apparatuses in their security coordination with the Israeli occupation poses a threat to the future of the Palestinian cause.

Hamas: The fourth dialog round made slight progress and will resume next month
29 Apr 2009 - Hamas stated that the fourth round of dialog in Cairo achieved slight, but insufficient, progress adding that the meetings with Fatah were adjourned and would resume next month in a fifth round.

Haneyya gov't calls for pressuring Ramallah to send new passports
29 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian government in Gaza has asked legal and human rights organizations to pressure the Ramallah authority to send passports to the Gaza Strip.

Bahar inspects Tanaf refugee camp on Iraqi-Syrian borders
29 Apr 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, and the accompanying delegation on Tuesday toured the Tanaf camp for stranded Palestinian refugees on the common Iraqi-Syrian borders.

Aqsa foundation unveils Israeli plan to besiege Aqsa with dozens of synagogues
29 Apr 2009 - The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage revealed an Israeli scheme to encircle the Aqsa Mosque with more than 50 synagogues and dozens of Israeli security and military centers.

Obama asks for modification in US law to talk to Hamas
29 Apr 2009 - The Los Angeles Times said that the administration of president Obama has requested the Congress to induce modifications to US law to help it deal with a PA government comprising ministers from Hamas.

Los Angeles Times

In Egypt, a blogger tries to spread 'culture of disobedience' among youths 
29 Apr 2009 - Mohamed Abdel Aziz's Facebook group that opposes Mubarak's rule has drawn 76,000 followers. Though its calls for nationwide strikes have flopped, he remains determined. An activist in a police state should know when to sprint. 

Justice Department official slams 'lawless' Bush terror policies 
28 Apr 2009 - The ex-Bush official says practices undermined the U.S. and foreign alliances and helped Al Qaeda. His remarks coincide with Atty. Gen. Holder's efforts to shift course. The Bush administration's "lawless response to terrorism" has not only undermined the United States' moral credibility and standing abroad and provided Al Qaeda with its best recruiting material, it also has weakened the U.S. coalitions with foreign governments that it needs most to fight the threat posed by Islamist extremism, a senior Obama Justice Department official said Tuesday. 

Gaza looms over Memorial Day 
29 Apr 2009 - Israelis put aside their many divisions Tuesday to remember more than 22,000 fallen soldiers and civilian victims of Palestinian attacks, mournfully aware that the strife that led to those deaths is far from over. 

New York Times

Palestinian Rivals to Try Once More for an Accord
28 Apr 2009 - After four rounds of reconciliation talks, Fatah and Hamas said they would try meeting one more time. 

Reporter Jailed in Iran Passes Week on Fast
27 Apr 2009 - Roxana Saberi has lost 10 pounds and has become weak since she began her protest, her father said. 

Abbas Rejects Calling Israel a Jewish State
27 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, dismissed a demand by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. 


Articles


’Resistance’ is the essence of Islamism 
Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star, Conflicts Forum 4/22/2009
      Once in a while a wave of ideas sweeps across societies and countries, and when combined with political and social activism it changes global history for a time. We are living through such wave now in the global Islamist movement that has swept across much of the Arab world and Asia, as well as pockets of other societies since the late 1970s. Many different forms of Islamist movements have come and gone; some have endured for decades; most have embraced non-violent change that starts within the hearts of pious men and women; a few have veered off into violent confrontation or terrorism; and all have generated significant opposition, especially after the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda against the United States.
     Islamism broadly defined encompasses many dozens of different forms of nationalist, local, religious, charitable, social, economic, military resistance-based, and the occasional terror movements.
     It is also controversial, misrepresented and misunderstood.
     We are fortunate in this respect to have available a new book that provides, in my view, one of the most comprehensive, accurate and useful analyses of the core philosophy and motivating political principles of political Islamism that is available to English-speaking readers. The book is titled “Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution“, by Alastair Crooke. It cuts through much of the ideological venom, post-9/11 vengefulness, neo-Orientalist stereotyping, or mere nonsense that characterizes much of what is said and written about Islamist movements in much of the Western world and Islamic societies alike.

Shades of Checkpoint Charlie at Rafah Crossing 
Haidar Eid writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Electronic Intifada 4/28/2009
      On Monday 30 June, Gaza was abuzz with the sudden announcement that Egypt would open Rafah Crossing -- the only gateway for 1.5 million Palestinians who have been imprisoned here for almost two years -- for three short days. Although I had good reasons to use the crossing to leave Gaza, I was unsure about pressing my luck to escape, if only for a short while. Past experience has made me graphically and painfully aware that thousands of my fellow Gazans would also try to capitalize on this very rare opportunity suddenly available to us.
     On the one hand, I had also already asked my university to add my name to the list of academics who intended to travel to Egypt to further their studies as I had accepted an invitation to a conference -- to be held at University of Brighton -- in London in September. Moreover, I wanted to be with my wife who is in South Africa, and whom I have not seen for almost two years as a result of the siege. On the other hand, the story of failed attempts to leave Gaza through Rafah Crossing is an agonizingly familiar one to every family in Gaza.
     Nevertheless, the temptation was too great and hope triumphed over experience. At 2pm, on Monday, I called the university’s public relations officer. I was told in two short sentences to be at the Rafah crossing at 2am on Tuesday morning. The reason for this strange departure hour was not explained and I did not question it. If one wants to leave Gaza after two years, one simply follows orders.


Electronic Intifada
London Sci-Fi festival asked not to celebrate apartheid
29 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing to the organizers of the Sci-Fi-London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantasy Film to urge you to cancel the special "Focus on: Israel" in your festival in London from 29 April - 4 May. We also urge the attendees of this festival, if its organizers insist on the special tribute to Israel, to protest the inclusion of this session and to boycott the focus on Israel. 

Israelis call on musician Leonard Cohen to cancel concert
29 Apr 2009 - Dear Leonard Cohen: We are Jews, Palestinians, Israeli citizens, who hold your poetry and music in high esteem, and it is because of this respect for your artistic contributions and your moral Buddhist commitment to "save all beings" that we hope that our appeal to you to cancel your planned performance in Israel will not fall on deaf ears. 

Efforts to track communicable diseases in Gaza
28 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - UN agencies and the health ministry in Gaza are working to strengthen communicable disease surveillance systems in Gaza, in light of the fact that leaking sewage may be contaminating drinking water. 

Egypt's dubious claims spark row with Hizballah 
28 Apr 2009 - CAIRO (IPS) - Egyptian authorities announced earlier this month the discovery of a Hizballah "cell" allegedly planning to carry out violent operations in Egypt. Although Hizballah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah insists the group was only tasked to assist the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, the government has used the episode to launch a blistering media campaign against the Lebanese Shia resistance group. 

In Gaza
one day in Gaza
29 Apr 2009 - Some days in Gaza, if you are in an area where you don’t hear the drones hovering, spying, menacing…nor the Israeli gunboats harassing or injuring fishermen by shelling and shooting live ammunition…nor see Israeli soldiers shooting at farmers and civilians in the region along Gaza’s borders to Israel… nor see the manufactured, grinding poverty…nor see the remnants of buildings… nor see the remnants of limbs and lives…nor see the fatigue etched deeply into the faces of those all around….some days, if you stay in a café or under the covers, or miraculously miss all of these signs… you can relax a bit. I catch myself -with a whiff of coffee...

Palestine Chronicle
Israeli Use of Palestinians As Human Shields
28 Apr 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is a Gaza-based Palestinian NGO mandated "to promote, protect and prevent violations of human rights in general, and economic, social and cultural rights in particular, to provide effective aid to those victims of such violations, and to enhance the quality of life of the community in (Gaza's) marginalized sectors." It monitors and documents violations, provides legal aid and advocacy, and helps Gazans on "fundamental issues such as basic human rights, democracy, and international humanitarian" matters. It also produces reports and publications on its work. In April, it published a seven-case study update of its July 2008 report titled: "Hiding Behind Civilians - The Continued Use of Palestinian Civilians as Human Shields by the Israeli Occupation Forces." This article reviews both reports to highlight what international law unequivocally prohibits. Nonetheless, it's customary IDF practice even though Israel's Supreme Court banned it on October 6, 2005. One Palestinian woman described her experience: "They handcuffed and blindfolded me. Then, they forced us to move out of the room, pushing me with their hands and guns to move although I was blindfolded and pregnant. I heard them pushing others to hurry up as well. I got exhausted and fell down many times. I told them that I was four months pregnant and couldn't continue but a soldier threatened to shoot me." Other witness testimonies related similar stories, at times with tragic consequences for its victims. Israel is a party to various human...

Myth of Sectarianism in the 'New Middle East'
28 Apr 2009 - By Ali Jawad One of the lasting legacies of the failed US-led war on Iraq is without doubt the rise of sectarianism in the general discourse on Middle Eastern politics. Sectarianism has been pitched as the ‘modern’ story of the Middle East, yet its driving causes and true nature remain subject to sweeping and misplaced generalizations, particularly in the Western media. The subsequent rooting of a sectarian political discourse in understanding the dynamics of the Middle East, flavoured by myths and fallacies, primarily serves to further the interests of imperialist and colonialist powers in the region. At another level, this discourse seeks to insulate discredited Arab leaders (i.e. Moderate “allies”) from the grievances of their own peoples as invented threats posed by an “other” are hyped up to disorientate the power of the masses. In this regard, the recent scathing attack launched by the Egyptian Public Prosecutor (EPP) against Hezbollah, despite being somewhat expected, was revealing insofar as its sectarian dimension is concerned. Buried in between a long list of accusations against a “Hezbollah cell” uncovered in Egypt, the EPP stated the accused were "planning to carry out hostile operations within the country (Egypt) and attempting to spread Shiite thought in Egypt”. During recent times, it has become fashionable for Middle Eastern premiers and oil-kings to protest against an ethereal threat posed by Shiism. The summoning of the “spread of Shiism” pretext, as seen above in the case of Egypt, is essentially used as a political tool. Further, the Egyptian...

No Independence for the Oppressed
28 Apr 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem I can’t believe it almost slipped my mind. Walking up to Jaffa Gate with my kids the other day, I noticed an unusual buzz of activity where east meets west, just outside the large gate that takes a person out of the walled city. There is an open-air Israeli mall called Mamilla (eerily similar to Ma’man Allah, the nearby Muslim gravesite which Israel plans to build the tolerance museum over). The mall’s parking lot is even built on part of this cemetery, according to Waqf officials. Anyway, on the spacious plaza before one descends the stairs to the shopping area, booths, makeshift kiosks and a mobile zoo were set up for the hundreds of eager shoppers and frolickers that day. Just in the distance, blue and white balloons were bunched up and tied to a pole so as not to fly away and at least 30 Israeli flags blew in the brisk wind. Oh yes, how could I have forgotten? This week marks the 61st anniversary of Israel’s independence. For Israelis this is a time of pride, of achievement and of celebration. There will be barbeques, concerts and speeches on the occasion. The country will be strung out in blue and white, with Israelis proudly boasting of its brave soldiers who took back the Jew’s “Promised Land.” For those who don’t yet know, there is another chapter untold. The Palestinians, represent the dark side of this joy, the dirty hidden secret and the open and...

The Problem Isn't Avigdor Lieberman
27 Apr 2009 - By Ellen Cantarow No one doubts that Avigdor Lieberman is a thug. His ultimata ("Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong," etc, New York Times Thursday, April 2, 2009) were designed to shock. On this site Neve Gordon’s revelations of Lieberman's many corruptions, his beating of a 12-year-old child, his exhortation to bomb Gaza as the US bombed Hiroshima, supply further ugly evidence against the man, and fuel the flash-fires burning through the Internet in the wake of his appointment as Israel’s foreign minister. So he should be denounced by all means, but it is certain that the problems attaching to his name are not going away. On the contrary -- particularly given President Obama’s repudiation of Lieberman during the President’s speech in Ankara, Turkey, and his avowed loyalty to a ‘two-state solution’ – these problems will appear in a different form, specifically in regard to the nature of the “two states” under the guidance of Obama, Netanyahu & Co. If the Lieberman appointment wasn’t specifically designed to have him play bad cop to everyone else’s good cop, it’s certainly turning out that way. A recent J Street petition urges me and thousands of on-line others to denounce Lieberman as a threat to “our community’s values,” and also to endorse J Street’s offer of “our best wishes and congratulations ... pledging to help Benjamin Netanyahu's government where possible, and push when necessary, to achieve the goal of real peace and security for Israel, the...

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