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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
2 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Four settlers, including two settler-soldiers, arrested after attacking a Palestinian village
3 May 2009 - Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported on Saturday night that four Israeli settlers, including two soldiers on leave, were arrested by the army after attacking Khirbit Safa village, near the southern West Bank City of Hebron. 

Al Asra Society calls for ensuring medical treatment for an ailing detainee from Khan Younis
3 May 2009 - The Al Asra Media Center, part of the Al Asra Society for Defending the Detainees, called on Saturday on international organizations and the Red Cross to intervene in order to ensure medical treatment to a detainee from Gaza who is currently in critical condition at the Al Ramla Prison hospital. 

Bodies of two Palestinians located in tunnel shelled by the Israeli air force
3 May 2009 - Palestinian medial sources reported on Saturday that medics and rescue teams located the bodies of two Palestinians under the rubble of a tunnel that was shelled by the Israeli air force earlier on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the army shelled several areas in the Gaza Strip and bulldozed farmlands. 

Fighters fire mortars at undercover forces invading Jabalia
2 May 2009 - The Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committee, reported Saturday that its fighters fired three mortar shells at undercover forces invading an areas east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Obama to meet Peres at the White House
2 May 2009 - White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, stated that the US President, Barack Obama, is scheduled meet Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, at the White House next Tuesday. 

Palestinians mark International Workers Day in Jerusalem
2 May 2009 - Under strict Israeli measures and ongoing violations against Arab neighborhoods in occupied Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians marched in Jerusalem marking Mayday in the heart of Jerusalem, in Mount Olive, expressing determination and steadfastness of the Palestinians in the city. 

Haniyya: "Unity talks achieved some progress, but did not achieve the needed breakthrough"
2 May 2009 - Prime Minister of the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, stated Friday that the latest round of internal talks in Cairo achieved some progress but did not achieve the needed breakthrough on core issues. 

Four injured, dozens suffer gas effects in Ni'lin weekly protest
1 May 2009 - Israeli soldiers on Friday attacked Palestinian and international peace activists holding the weekly non-violent protest against the Wall in Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Four protestors were injured and dozens were treated for the effects gas inhalation. 

Army attacks a nonviolent protest near Bethlehem; four injured six kidnapped
1 May 2009 - Scores of villagers from Al Ma'ssara near the southern west Bank city of Bethlehem protested the Israeli wall being built on their lands on Friday. 

Bil'in: Four injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation
1 May 2009 - The residents of Bil’in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, gathered on Friday after the midday prayer along with international and Israeli activists and marched in recognition of May Day. The protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners calling for labor rights. 

UN demands Israel to freeze pending demolishing orders of East Jerusalem homes
1 May 2009 - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called on Israel to freeze demolishing orders against dozens of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. The Office added that the Palestinians can only build on 13% of Jerusalem’s lands while the Jewish settlements occupy more than 35% of Jerusalem. 

Israel enforces new punishments against Palestinian workers
1 May 2009 - As the World marks Mayday, the International Workers Day, Palestinian workers are facing further restrictions imposed on them by the Israeli occupation authorities and are subjected to further restrictions and abuse. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Two IDF troops arrested during clashes between settlers, Palestinians
2 May 2009 - Four settlers arrested during clashes at end of mourning period for Bat Ayin terror attack victim. 

Palestinians: 2 killed in IAF strike on Gaza tunnel
1 May 2009 - IAF bombs Gaza arms tunnels in response to mortar attacks for which PFLP claimed responsibility. 

Report: Lebanon arrests suspected spy for Israel
2 May 2009 - : Surveillance equipment found in man's home; Arrest comes after 3 others admit to spying. 

Palestinians hurt following spat with West Bank settlers
1 May 2009 - Samaria council officials say they do not know how Palestinians were injured, as the settlers "never went near them." 

Is Netanyahu bringing Israel closer to a 'second Holocaust'?
1 May 2009 - PM believes he is tasked with saving Israel and the Jewish people from 'inevitable' destruction by Iran. 

'Galilee Freedom Fighters': Israeli Arab terror suspects are our operatives
30 Apr 2009 - Shadowy group says other cells still planning attacks; 7 Israeli Arabs held over plot to kidnap troops. 

U.S. defense chief: Military strike won't halt Iran nuke program
30 Apr 2009 - Defense Secretary Gates: Sanctions make more sense, attack would send program further underground. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Female Israeli soldier beats Azzun Atama woman; village isolated behind separation wall on edge 
5/2/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Forty-year-old PalestinianSundus Mahmoud Ahamd sustained moderate injuries after being hit with the rifle butt of a female Israeli soldier as she tried to reach her home on the far side of the separation wall from Qalqiliya to the village of Azzun Atama on Friday. Soldiers shut down the village shortly after the incident and barred media from crossing the military checkpoint erected on the main road. For Sundus to travel into town from her Azzun Atama home she must wait at a gate, or access point,in the Israeli separation wall. From her hospital bed Sundus recounted her attempt to travel into Qalqiliya from her isolated home on the far side of the separation wall. “A woman with short blonde hair was guarding the gate,” she said, “It’s the same gate I pass through every day to go into town and return through to get home.

Palestinian farmer injured by Israeli fire near Khan Younis 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli fire injured a Palestinian farmer in the southern Gaza Strip village of Khuza’a east of Khan Younis on Saturday. The 35-year-old Nafith Abu T’eima sustained light injuries following several gunshot volleys from a passing Israeli militarized jeep, and was hit in the neck with shrapnel. He was tending his lands at the time of the incident and evacuated to hospital. Hundreds of farmers with agricultural land on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip have been unable to tend their fields because of incessant intimidation similar to Saturday’s incident. Dozens of farmers have left their land untouched since the Israeli war on the area and even before, fearing injury or death at the hands of Israeli soldiers. 

Israeli forces breach Gaza borders in four attacks Saturday; four injured 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Following three months of near-silence on the borders Israeli forces launched four separate attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip Saturday injuring four. Targets included a group of resistance fighters, a farmer and smuggling tunnels. Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip at 7am on Saturday morning in response to projectile fire from the northern Strip and clashed with forces from the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades. The group said in a statement that fighters fired three mortar shells across the Israeli fence near Jabaliya; Israeli media reports confirmed two projectiles landed in the western Negev Saturday morning. They reported no injuries. According to the Brigades Israeli forces then entered the Strip and clashed with the fighters, who forced the soldiers to retreat. 

Arsonists torch Hebron Old City Rehabilitation Office 
5/2/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Unidentified arsonists set fire to the old offices of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee in the central Old City on Saturday, destroying it completely. Charred stone walls are all that are left of the one-story building, which was ordered evacuated by Israeli military officials at the start of the second Palestinian Intifadah in 2000. The office, working on the reconstruction of the Old City areas taken over by right-wing extremist Israeli settler groups in the late sixties, since moved to an office near the Ibrihimi Mosque. Since 2006 the Old City has been slowly recovering from efforts to drive out residents. The reconstruction office has helped coordinate initiatives to re-cobble the stone streets and re-paint shop shutters as well as encourage Hebron residents to return to the once-bustling Old City to do their grocery shopping. 

Rogue settler bulldozes 150 dunums of land under cover of dark 
5/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - An Israeli settler destroyed at least 10 dunums of Palestinian land and damaged at least 140 more when he drove a bulldozer over agricultural land near the town of Al-Khader on Friday. The settler, who appeared to be acting alone, left the illegal West Bank settlement of Efrata with a bulldozer in the early hours of Friday morning and dug a road down the center of a large swath of a land growing almond trees and grapevines, crushing hundreds of plants under the wheels of the vehicle. The land, in the Abu Bkir area just outside the center of town, is privately owned by several Al-Khader families. Locals said the settler appears to be attempting to confiscate the land and impose “de facto” realities preventing Palestinians from using it. The Al-Khader municipal council is preparing a suit against the man that will be filed in the Israeli courts in the coming days. 

Israeli forces apprehend 50-year-old father and son near Hebron 
5/2/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained two Palestinians from the southern West Bank town of Sa’ir north of Hebron and several military checkpoints were erected at the main entrances to the town bringing traffic to a standstill on Saturday morning. Local sources said Israeli forces stormed the home of 50-year-old Muhammad Imtour and detained him a ong with his 28-year-old son Imad. [end] 

Mada Report: 257 violations of media freedoms in Palstine during 2008 
5/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The West Bank and Gaza witnessed 257 violations of media freedoms during 2008. Of those, 147 were committed by Israeli settlers and military, and 110 by Palestinian security services and armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The statistics came from the annual report from the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (Mada), which was released Friday. The report said all violations “flagrantly” violated “freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed in article 19 in both of the Palestinian Basic Law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international charters and resolutions of the United Nations, such as resolution 1738 of the UN Security Council in 2006. ”The report counted 51 Israeli arrests and detainments, and the closure of four media broadcasting stations across the West Bank and Jerusalem. 

Israel: Two projectiles launched Saturday; Friday reports false alarm 
5/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Two homemade projectiles launched from the Gaza Strip landed in the western Negev in Israel, said Israeli sources on Saturday morning. According to the sources, the projectiles landed in an open area in Shaar HaNegev; no casualties were reported. On Friday, Israeli military command denied that a homemade projectile landed in western Negev despite several media reports to the contrary, asserting that a false alarm was heard in the area. [end] 

PFLP affiliates fire on Israeli watchtower near Gaza crossing 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Armed Palestinians affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility on Saturday for targeting Israeli military cameras and a watchtower in Gaza. Palestinian snipers opened fire on the military posts near the Nahal Oz crossing point, according to a statement from the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the PFLP. "The attack comes within a continued confrontation against the [Israeli] occupation," the statement added. [end] 

Israel arrests two soldiers for instigating settler rampage 
5/2/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Four settlers, including two who are also Israeli soldiers, were arrested on Saturday for their involvement in clashes with Palestinians in the West Bank. Two Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated bullets amid the clashes with settlers that erupted in the Kharbat Safa village near the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday. A number of settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Bet Ayn attacked residents of the village, leading to the two injuries, both reportedly shots fired by the Israeli army. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, both settlers and Palestinians were seen throwing stones during the clashes. "One of those who was injured sustained a bullet wound in the back, while the other was hit in the thigh and both were transferred to local hospitals in Hebron," a paramedic told Ma'an. 

Two Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike carried out against smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Saturday. "The bodies of the two who were killed were received in the local Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital," said Mu'aweiyah Hasaneen, the head of Emergency and Ambulance Services within the Gaza Strip Health Ministry. The two Palestinians were identified as Jehad Abu Jarad and Hamdan Al-Astal, both in their 20s. A third Palestinian is possibly still missing, Hasaneen added. Following three months of near-silence on the borders, Israel's air force carried out three airstrikes aimed at underground tunnels on the Al-Barazil area of southern Gaza on Saturday, during which five Palestinians were lightly injured, and were also transferred to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital for treatment. 

Israeli archeology department refuses to return artifact from Al-Aqsa compound 
5/2/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Head of the Israeli archeology department Shai Friedman refused to return an Umayyad-era artifact “stolen from the Umayyad Palaces in the southern part of the Al-Aqsa compound a month ago,” said Palestinian lawmaker Hatim Abdul Qadir. According to the Jerusalem affairs official, the ancient stone was transferred to the courtyard of the Israeli Knesset on Friday, and Israeli officials have stonewalled requests to have the stone returned to the Al-Aqsa compound. Abdul Qadir has threatened to file a suit at the International High Court of Justice against the Israeli archeology department for stealing artifacts belonging to Palestinians. He added that a representative of UNESCO would be invited to attend hearings in court. 

Obama to meet Israeli president Tuesday; Palestinians see little hope for change 
5/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – US president Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres in the White House on Tuesday. Obama will also meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by the end of May, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. Aides to Netanyahu have expressed concern over requests the new US president might make of the Israeli leader given Obama’s policies on settlement building and a two-state solution. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz quoted a diplomatic source in Jerusalem as saying “Netanyahu’s recent support for settlement construction and his attitude to peace negotiations with the Palestinians may spark a hot encounter between Netanyahu and Obama. ” Some speculate that the fireworks could begin as early as the first press conference hosted by the two leaders. A number of Netanyahu’s aides are scheduled to travel to Washington. . . 

Haniyeh addresses conference of Palestinians in Europe 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas-run government based in the Gaza Strip Isma’il Haniyeh on Saturday addressed the seventh conference of Palestinians living in Europe through videoconference. In his remarks, he called on the European community to remove Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups from the so-called “terrorism list. ” The conference was held in Milan, Italy, and Haniyeh asserted in his speech that his movement “has always been interested in openness to European countries. ”Haniyeh called on European human right groups to send a fact-finding committee to the Gaza Strip to see firsthand alleged war crimes committed by Israeli forces during the 22-day military offensive that began in December 2008. He also highlighted that his government hopes to end rivalry with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. 

Hamas: PA seized 146 affiliates during April 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas movement on Saturday accused Palestinian Authority securitydepartments in the West Bank of seizing 146 affiliates and three Islamic Jihad members during the month of April. In its monthly report, the movement also accused the PA of "eliminating all resistance factions, deleting the culture and thought of resistance. "It added that the PA had kidnapped women to pressure their husbands to force them to surrender, giving examples of the wives of ex-prisoner Ahmad Abu Al-I’zz and the widow of Mustafa Nofal. The Hamas report also accused the PA of torturing political prisoners, among them Riyad Walweel, who is over 60, preventing his family from visiting him. The movement affirmed that many of the prisoners "were transferred to hospitals for treatment after being tortured. " The report concluded by accusing PA security forces of breaking into a number. . . 

New Palestinian police station built near Tulkarem 
5/2/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Palestinian police in Tulkarem on Saturday inaugurated a new police station in the village of Bal’a, east of Tulkarem, in coordination with Israeli authorities. According to Director of Tulkarem police Ma’roof Al-Barbari, the station will be manned with 30 police officers and four patrols. They will cooperate with neighboring police stations, particularly the one in the town of Anabta, he said. According to Al-Barbari, the Bal’a station marks the completion of police stations in the district, and there will be no need for any more stations in the near future. [end] 

PPP to consider participating in new Palestinian government 
5/2/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – The leftist Palestinian People's Party (PPP) will consider joining a hypothetical Palestinian government to be announced soon, its secretary-general, Bassam As-Salhi, said on Saturday. "The party will think deeply on participating in any Palestnian government, the forming of which will be announced within the coming period of time," As-Salhi said in an interview on Saturday. "Participating in any new government is not one of the party's most pressing priorities, instead it is placing priority on agreeing to a Palestinian strategy that would empower the Palestinian stance in confronting the Israeli government," he added. He also said the PPP would prioritize bringing Palestinians to rally around the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as unifying Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

PFLP objects to forming government without agreement 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) objects to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' intention to form a government without a national Palestinian agreement, a member of the group's politburo said on Saturday. In a statement to Ma'an, PFLP politburo member Rabah Muhana said such an act "will complicate Palestinian division, hindering the dialogue. " He added that "forming such a government will create a negative atmosphere that does not benefit the Palestinian interest," and explained that "it comes within the arguments between Fatah and Hamas empowering the state of division between the two sides, and will increase the suffering of the Palestinians. " He stressed that the Front's stance is in support of "forming a temporary national consensus government with a specified mission, and that will manage the transitional stage and urgent issues,. . . 

Fatah official: Abbas' new government will also rule Gaza 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Fatah lawmaker on Saturday said that "the new government which President [Mahmoud] Abbas intends to form will be responsible for both the West Bank and Gaza. " The lawmaker, Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Legislative Council member Faisal Abu Shahla, said that "Hamas' intention to form a similar government is tantamount to a coup, and the deepening of division. " Abu Shahla told Ma'an that "this government will not be [just] for the West Bank, as some people are saying, but will rather take responsibility for the Palestinians in Gaza, including for delivering salaries, social affairs and medical treatment abroad. " He noted that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has submitted his resignation at the beginning of March to facilitate the dialogue, and for the betterment of forming a national unity government, adding that "this issue was two months ago, and. . . 

Good news from Gaza: No pigs, no H1N1 flu here 
5/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an - The Veterinary Department of the de facto government health ministry in the Gaza Strip announced Saturday that the Strip is free of the H1N1 swine flu, noting that there are no pigs in the coastal area. Unofficial statistics from the ministry recorded no presence of wild pigs in Gaza over at least the past ten years, there are also no pig farms in Gaza. A report from the ministry, however, recommended it take precautionary measures to ensure hospitals are ready to deal with the flu if a case does occur. [end] 

MOH: No H1N1 in 800 Bethlehem-area pigs; no guarantee for wild boars in north 
5/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Worries over the safety of two pig farms in the Bethlehem-area suburbs of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour have been eased after tests of all animals at both farms came back negative for H1N1, more commonly known as swine flu. Director of the Ramallah Ministry of Health’s Veterinary Medicine Services Department in Bethlehem Dr Labib Badr said all 800 pigs were tested and found free of the flu, and also assured that the owners of the farms were briefed on proper care and clean-up methods to ensure no flu can be transferred to humans from the animals. There is no guarantee, added Badr, that the over one thousand wild pigs living in the hills of the northern West Bank which regularly attack farms and farmers in the Jenin, Nablus, and Tubas areas, do not have the flu. The ministry has no control over the areas where the wild pigs live and are unable to take measures against the boars, Badar said. 

Bethlehem religious leaders suggest holding mass weddings in Manger Square 
5/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Media spokesperson of the Roman Orthodox Patriarch Father Issa Musleh and Bethelem Mufti Sheikh Abed Al-Majid A’ta made a joint call to hold mass weddings in Bethlehem’s Manger Square in an effort to relieve families of the burden of large dowries. The call was made when the religious leaders participated in a Mawwal Radio broadcast addressing the issue of high wedding and dowry costs, which have increasingly prevented young couples from marrying in both the Christian and Muslim communities. “The gesture will serve the youth,” said Father Musleh, “It will be the first move to empower the idea of social solidarity among all of the Palestinians under the auspice of the local clergymen. ”Both leaders said the idea has been raised from community members, and noted that if the move has support from families as well are religious and political leaders there is no reason it cannot go forward. 

Aljazeera

Two die in air raid on Gaza tunnels
2 May 2009 - Israeli bombing campaign near Rafah said to be in response to Palestinian rocket fire.

Iranian jets 'hit' Iraqi Kurd areas
2 May 2009 - If confirmed, the Sulaymaniya raid would be the first by Iran targeting the region.

Hezbollah slams Hariri death probe
1 May 2009 - Nasrallah calls investigation into Hariri's death dishonest and political.

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

UN says Egypt pig cull real mistake
29 Apr 2009 - Agency says no reason for slaughter as flu is spread from human-to-human.

IRIN

OPT: Gaza citizens at risk from rubbish, rubble, unexploded ordnance
GAZA CITY Thursday, April 30, 2009 (IRIN) - Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the uncontrolled dumping of rubbish pose the greatest environmental and public health risks to residents of the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). A further study is planned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

MIDDLE EAST: Regional efforts to prepare for swine flu 
DUBAI Wednesday, April 29, 2009 (IRIN) - Middle East countries are taking precautionary measures against swine flu as the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the global influenza pandemic alert level to Phase 4 after the influenza A /H1N1 virus infection claimed more than 150 lives in Mexico and spread to several other countries. 

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: 60,000 Palestinians at Risk in Jerusalem, UN Warns 
JERUSALEM, May 1 (IPS) - A report published Friday by a United Nations agency has warned that the problems facing the people of Silwan, who are facing eviction from their homes, are replicated throughout East Jerusalem.

LEBANON: Generals’ Release May Influence June Election 
WASHINGTON, Apr 30 (IPS) - On Wednesday, a judge at the Hague-based "Special Tribunal for Lebanon" (STL) ordered Lebanon to release four senior Lebanese generals imprisoned since 2005 on suspicion of involvement in killing former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February of that year.

ENVIRONMENT: Israel Stripping West Bank Quarries 
RAMALLAH, Apr 30 (IPS) - Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din is taking the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court.

MIDEAST: A Former 'Terrorist' Speaks Out 
JENIN, Northern West Bank, Apr 30 (IPS) - A former high-level Palestinian resistance fighter, who spent years on the run from Israel's security forces, has just been appointed to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, and made honorary theatre director.

Stop The Wall

Four al-Ma’sara popular committee members arrested
2 May 2009 - This week, anti-Wall demonstrations held to commemorate the first of May were met with violence and organizers arrested. Occupation forces attacked a May Day festival and demonstration in al-Ma’sara, injuring nine people and arresting the village popular committee. Soldiers also fired upon residents in Bi’lin and tried to break the protest in Ni’lin, where they occupied homes in the early morning. [

Checkpoints along the Wall to be computerized
30 Apr 2009 - Earlier this week, Occupation authorities announced their intentions to computerize the permit system that controls West Bank Palestinians’ access to ’48 Palestine. This move increases the control exercised over the Palestinian population, adding to the hardships faced by workers and further sealing off Jerusalem. These high-tech additions also create space for the growth of particular sectors of Israeli industry, in turn increasing their strength in the international defense and homeland security markets.

PCHR Weekly Report

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23 - 28 April 2009
PCHR - During the reporting period, 20 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were wounded by IOF and Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

Five Palestinian farmers and two internationals detained while trying to work lands near Israeli military camp
International Solidarity Movement - 30 April 2009 - On the 30th of April, five farmers from the village of Asira ash-Shamaliya and two international solidarity activists were detained while trying to farm their lands close to an Israeli military camp.   Asira ash-Shamaliya is a Palestinian village north of the city of Nablus.   An Israeli military camp was built more than ten years ago on the mountain between the village and Nablus.   Lands close to the military camp belong to several Palestinian farmers, who until recently have been too afraid to access their lands due to constant army harassment. At around 9pm, the five farmers and solidarity activists arrived at the fields with a tractor, a donkey, and a horse.   As soon as the farmers appeared, an army jeep drove up along the military road which connects the camp to nearby Checkpoint 17.   Three soldiers got out and ordered the farmers and internationals to give them their IDs. 

Palestinian youth shot by Israeli settlers while working his land
International Solidarity Movement - 27 April 2009 - On Monday, the 27th of April, 17-year-old Mohammad Farraj was shot by Israeli settlers while working his lands in Madama, southeast of the city of Nablus.   At around 12:00pm, Mohammad was alone picking almonds on his land near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar.   At least one settler drove up along the nearby settler-only road and shot him in the chest from about 200 meters away.   Mohammad heard three or four shots, and at least one bullet hit him, entering his upper shoulder and exciting through his back. Mohammad was found wounded by other villagers in the area, who took him in a taxi to the local clinic.   From the clinic, he was transferred by ambulance to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.   Once at Rafidia, he underwent an emergency operation and was connected to blood tubes.   His condition was described by doctors as moderate. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Israeli team heads to India to examine swine flu drugs
1 May 2009 - A Health Ministry delegation will head to India on Sunday to examine the quality of generic alternatives to Tamiflu, an antiviral drug being stockpiled around the world to treat swine flu. ...

Netanyahu candidate Michael Oren tapped as U.S. envoy
1 May 2009 - A university professor who advocates for Israel to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank is set to be appointed the country's next ambassador to Washington. ...

Obama to meet with Peres at White House on Tuesday
1 May 2009 - President Barack Obama will meet President Shimon Peres on Tuesday at the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday. ...

Haniyeh urges Europe: Remove Hamas from terror group list 
1 May 2009 - Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday urged the European community to remove Hamas and other Palestinian groups from their list of recognized terror groups, Ma'an news agency reported. ...

Ahmadinejad's opponents accuse him of faking support 
1 May 2009 - Opponents of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused him Saturday of faking his support by bussing in students and soldiers to attend his public appearances. ...

The Guardian

Israel's budding autocracy | Dimi Reider
30 Apr 2009 - The arrest of members of a pacifist NGO is symptomatic of a country that is becoming militarised at an alarming pace. The first raids took place at about 7am on Sunday. Across the country, activists in...

Photographer Ryuichi Hirokawa's best shot
29 Apr 2009 - I took this in 2002, at Al-Ram checkpoint on the West Bank. All the checkpoints had been closed by Israeli troops and these women were demonstrating to have them opened, so that food and medical supplies...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Elderly Bat Yam man said to have stabbed himself to death
1 May 2009 - The body of a 72-year-old man was discovered by police in his Bat Yam apartment on Saturday. ...

Israel honors Aboriginal Australian who protested against Nazis
1 May 2009 - An Aboriginal Australian was recognized in Israel this week for having led a protest against Nazi persecution of the Jews less than a month after the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938. William Cooper was honored Tuesday with a tree-planting ceremony in his honor. ... 

Israel confirms third case of swine flu
1 May 2009 - Health officials in Israel have confirmed Saturday that a third individual has been infected with the H1NI virus, otherwise known as "swine flu". ...

Israeli soccer team penalized for fans' anti-Muslim chants
1 May 2009 - Defending soccer champion Beitar Jerusalem was penalized a point and ordered to play a home match in an empty stadium after fans shouted anti-Muslim slogans. ...

Two more suspected swine flu cases as Health Ministry raises alert
1 May 2009 - Two more Israelis are suspected of falling victim to swine flu as authorities on Thursday issued new recommendations to the public in a bid to contain the virus. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers - eyewitnesses
2 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

Israel launches second day of air strikes in Gaza
2 May 2009 - Source: Reuters

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 25 Apr - 01 May 2009
2 May 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

Secretary-General appoints Marta Santos Pais of Portugal as Special Representative on Violence against Children
1 May 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

OPT: Palestinian refugees - the regional perspective
1 May 2009 - Source: Chatham House

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 256, 27 Apr - 03 May 2009
1 May 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: First Israeli strike in 2 months hits Gaza tunnels
1 May 2009 - Source: Reuters

OPT: UN human rights investigators leaving for Gaza next week
1 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

YNet News

Settlers clash with Palestinians, 2 wounded by IDF fire
2 May 2009 - Clashes erupt near Gush Etzion as settlers approach village of Umm Safa, residence of terrorist who murdered Israeli teenager with ax. Two Palestinians wounded as IDF troops try to quell ensuing violence. Four settlers detained for questioning

IAF strike on Gaza tunnels kills 2
1 May 2009 - Aircraft launch two separate attacks on smuggling tunnels shortly after Qassam rocket lands in Negev; direct hits identified; Palestinians say one injured

Lebanon: 1 more arrest in 'pro-Israel' spy-ring case
2 May 2009 - Just ahead of elections, Hizbullah says exposed another link in alleged pro-Israel espionage case 

Pope: I go to Holy Land as 'pilgrim of peace'
2 May 2009 - As prelude to tour of Israel pope says Middle East 'plagued by violence and injustice for 60 years'

Cancer patients trapped in Gaza while factions duke it out
2 May 2009 - Eight Gazans dead since Hamas-Fatah clash dissolved medical referral committee responsible for gaining entrance into Israel for terminal patients

Michael Oren to be appointed Israel's ambassador to US 
2 May 2009 - Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Lieberman agree on appointment of Dr. Oren to succeed Salai Meridor. Change expected to take place in coming weeks, ahead of Netanyahu's upcoming visit to Washington 

3rd case of swine flu diagnosed in Israel 
2 May 2009 - Thirty-four-year old man confirmed as infected with H1N1 virus after returning from Mexico; said to be doing well. Three additional Israelis suspected of having contracted swine flu hospitalized. World Health Organization says 615 people have been infected by flu in 15 countries

2 mortar shells land in western Negev; IAF strikes Gaza tunnels
2 May 2009 - Israeli fighter jets target three arms smuggling tunnels in Strip's south several hours after mortar shells hit Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council

Iran hangs woman for murder committed when minor
2 May 2009 - Tehran media reports 23-year-old woman convicted of murder at 17 executed. Human rights groups 'outraged' by act 

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

7 Iranians plead guilty in US court to terror charges 
30 Apr 2009 - LOS ANGELES: Seven men have pleaded guilty to terrorism charges for raising funds for an Iranian opposition group that the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization, authorities said. The seven, all of Iranian origin, entered the guilty pleas on Wednesday.

Egypt admits pig cull won't curb swine flu 
30 Apr 2009 - CAIRO: Egypt on Thursday said its cull of 250,000-400,000 pigs was a general health measure rather than a precaution against swine flu after the UN said there was no evidence the animals were spreading the disease. "We're at stage five, the matter is now human not animal," health ministry spokesman Abdel-Rahman Shahine.

Politics, security must be decoupled from Gaza aid 
30 Apr 2009 - As we near the end of the fourth month since hostilities in Gaza ended, it is increasingly apparent that massive needs are going unmet, and reconstruction is stalled. Donors have pledged money for humanitarian aid and for reconstruction, but on the ground the flow of goods compared to the needs is wholly inadequate.

Palestinian Information Center

Gov't against siege urges Egypt to facilitate entry of Hope convoy into Gaza
2 May 2009 - The government committee against the siege on Saturday urged the Egyptian authority to facilitate the entry of the European "Hope" convoy through the Rafah crossing point.

Salah: IOA built more than 100 synagogues round the Aqsa Mosque
2 May 2009 - Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied Palestine, has said that the IOA was intensifying its judaization campaign of occupied Jerusalem.

Haneyya: Formation of new gov't in West Bank further hampers national dialog
2 May 2009 - Ismail Haneyya, the PA premier, has asserted that former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas's formation of a new government in the West Bank would put more hurdles before inter-Palestinian conciliation talks.

NSB shells infiltrating IOF unit
2 May 2009 - The Nasser Salahuddin Brigades, the armed wing of the popular resistance committees, on Saturday fired three mortar shells at an IOF unit that infiltrated east of Jabalia, in northern Gaza.

European campaign criticizes world slackness in dealing with Gaza siege
2 May 2009 - The European campaign to lift the siege on Gaza Strip has criticized the world community's slackness in dealing with the "oppressive" Israeli siege on the Strip that has been ongoing for three years.

MP Mansour: IOA won't break Palestinian laborer's determination
2 May 2009 - MP Mona Mansour said that the Palestinian laborers are experiencing real suffering as a result of the IOA daily practices and crimes that target weakening their determination and morale.

Haneyya: The siege will not divert our attention from the onslaught on Jerusalem
2 May 2009 - Ismail Haneyya, said that the effects of the Israeli siege on Gaza will not divert the attention of the people of Gaza from the Zionist onslaught on occupied Jerusalem..

UN report: 60,000 Jerusalemites at risk of their homes being demolished
2 May 2009 - Sixty Thousand Palestinians living in occupied Jerusalem are at risk of their homes being demolished according to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Human Right Watch calls for an end to the Gaza Siege
2 May 2009 - HRW called on US Secretary of State, in a letter on Thursday, to "speak out forcefully against Israel's blockade of Gaza as unlawful collective punishment against the civilian population."

IOF troops wound 14 anti-wall demonstrators
2 May 2009 - IOF troops wounded on Friday fourteen anti-wall demonstrators in the village of Bilin and Bethlehem, that is in addition to tens of cases of suffocation as a result of inhaling teargas.

Los Angeles Times

Clinton sees China, Iran inroads in Latin America 
2 May 2009 - The U.S. secretary of State says Bush administration policies led to the two nations' gains in the Western Hemisphere. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton charged Friday that China and Iran have made "quite disturbing" gains in Latin America, the result of Bush administration efforts to isolate its adversaries in the hemisphere. 

Nosratollah Amini dies at 94; Iranian lawyer, politician became Mossadegh's personal attorney 
2 May 2009 - Nosratollah Amini, an Iranian lawyer and politician who became the personal attorney of Mohammad Mossadegh, the nationalist prime minister deposed in a U.S.-backed coup in 1953, died April 20 at Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge, Va. He was 94 and had pneumonia. 

World briefing 
2 May 2009 - Israel: Stamps to mark pope's visit ISRAEL 

New York Times

U.N. Seeks End to Razing of Homes in East Jerusalem
1 May 2009 - The call for the cessation came in a new report that reflects growing international concern over developments in the contested city. 

Culling Pigs in Flu Fight, Egypt Angers Herders and Dismays U.N.
1 May 2009 - The decision to kill about 300,000 pigs is straining the tense relations between Egypt’s majority Muslims and its Coptic Christians. 

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. 

Articles


The complicit silence continues 
Dr. Haidar Eid, The Palestine Telegraph 5/1/2009
      Millions of people looked forward to Barack Obama’s presidency with a sense of pride and hope. But Obama’s first 100 days have raised critical questions about the limits of what we can expect from a Democrat in the White House--and what it will take to get the change we want.
     What do you think of Obama’s 100 days? And what does the left need to do now to move the struggle forward? We asked a group of writers and activists for their answers to these questions. This commentary is from Haidar Eid, a professor, a resident of Gaza City, and a leading activist in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel’s apartheid.
     I NEVER had high expectations for Barack Obama, because he still represents the Democratic Party, which is a part of the American establishment. Obama’s victory in the presidential elections did not produce a change in the nature of American imperialism.
     I think the difference between the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. is similar to the difference between Likud and the Labor Party in Palestine.
     I thought, even prior to his taking office, that Obama’s role would be to bring about a new fiction--or rather renew the of fiction--of a two-state solution in Palestine-Israel. That is, to breathe new life into the idea that one state for Jews and another state for Palestinians will bring peace to the region.

Obama and 'Two States' 
Ellen Cantarow, CounterPunch 4/30/2009
      A false claim is wafting through the press: Obama is hanging tough with Benjamin Netanyahu, he’s going to “twist Israel’s arm” and at long last force the Jewish state into a two-state agreement, settling the Israel-Palestine question for good. There’s even talk that Obama backs the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative, complete with its main demand: Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967 borders.
     There’s no proof for any of this. Obama has said nothing about when, where, and with what boundaries a Palestinian state might be established. Neither did George Bush. The slide from one regime to the next has been seamless on the score of Israel and Palestine as on much else.
     In regard to a critical document invoked by Obama in his first policy speech about the region last January -- the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative -- Obama has not changed an iota, at least publicly. He gave the speech before State Department employees last January, announcing George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy. Most important, the speech delineated the clear outlines of Obama’s Middle East doctrine, as I described in my “The Problem Isn’t Avigdor Lieberman”
     Obama’s reference to the Arab Peace Initiative was crucial for what it omitted -- the proposal’s first part, the precondition for everything that follows: “Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.” Only after these preconditions have been laid out does the document continue: “Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following….” In “Consequently,” the intent is unmistakable: Once Israel fulfills the crucial condition requiring Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 lines, the Arab countries will do x, y, and z. One of the corollaries following the “Consequently” clause reads: “Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace [emphasis mine]”. Nothing could be clearer. Moreover, the Arab League’s request of Israel, “the context,” expresses the international consensus for the past 30 years, routinely blocked by the US and Israel.


Electronic Intifada
Gaza citizens at risk from rubbish, rubble, unexploded ordnance
2 May 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Unexploded ordnance and the uncontrolled dumping of rubbish pose the greatest environmental and public health risks to residents of the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Development Programme. A further study is planned by the UN Environment Programme. 

Hamas gaining international legitimacy
2 May 2009 - JERUSALEM (IPS) - Delegations from the rival Fatah and Hamas organizations have again failed in Cairo to bridge their differences meant to usher in a Palestinian unity government, but this has in no way slowed inroads which the Islamist movement has been making to increase its international legitimacy -- much to Israel's concern. 

Israel stripping West Bank quarries
2 May 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din is taking the Israeli military, the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court. The rights group alleges they are illegally stripping Palestinian West Bank quarries of raw construction material for the benefit of the Israeli construction industry and the building of illegal Israeli settlements. 

Palestinian women settlement workers' plight
1 May 2009 - Umm Raed's sick husband hasn't worked in more than 20 years. Her own family can't, or won't, help support her and her seven children. So her job in the Royalife factory in the Barkan industrial zone, built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land in the Salfit governorate in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was the household's main source of income. Sarah Irving reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
nicer days 2
1 May 2009 - Sara wasn’t stuttering or visibly stressed when I saw her yesterday.  Of course, these things don’t just disappear because of a trip to the beach, but the sea air can’t hurt either. It was a gorgeous day, warm but slightly cooled by the breeze, the kind of day where you later discover your sunburn.  We met at Hamsa’s and, with his horse, trotted along Gaza’s main streets, Sara, Saud (Hamsa’s uncle with schizophrenia), Hamsa and myself, en route to the coast. Donkey and horse carts are completely normal in the middle of any given Gaza street, and only seem to raise attention when they slow or block taxis behind them....

Palestine Chronicle
A Palestinian Critique: Durban Review Conference
1 May 2009 - By Haidar Eid - Gaza "There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism." --Walter Benjamin. The Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva on April 20-24, was supposed to review the implementation of the Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. Some western countries boycotted the conference altogether, and some walked out in protest against Ahmedinejad's speech in which he dared to reiterate the obvious; namely, the racism inherent in Zionist ideology. These countries are, historically, either racist, or settler-colonialist. The conference itself was actually hijacked by the West. Palestinian voices were almost nonexistent. The major problem for those countries was, then, the equation of Zionism with racism. So, what we have here is a complex issue: one seems to be dealing with a colonist who denies his colonialism and argues to the contrary, and with a victim whose victimisation has been denied for decades. This ought to be scrutinized. Dr. Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is a founding member of the One Democratic State Group (ODSG) and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). The conflict in Palestine is between a colonial party, Israel, and a weaker, colonized one, the Palestinians. The problem with what has been presented to us by those countries which boycotted the Durban Review Conference (DRC) is that...

A Decade of Dedication: One More Reason to Give Today
1 May 2009 - To our deeply esteemed readers and supporters, Our fundraiser should have officially concluded on May 1st, 2009. While we are so grateful for the generous contributions we received from many of you, we are still short of our goal by $2,500. We have decided to extend our efforts for one more week, and we hope that you will consider giving to us today. You can plainly see your contributions at work through the launching of the newest aspect of our site, the Palestine Chronicle video page: http://www.justmedia.net . Our video page was just launched this week after a year of planning, designing and restructuring. We hope you will take a look at it and be convinced that this is one more reason that Palestine Chronicle needs to continue with its work. It is so rare to have access to an authentic Palestinian platform that provides a non-partisan, anti-factional presentation of the aspirations of the Palestine people. The Palestine Chronicle is one of very few venues that provides that platform to the world every day, with commentary, news reports, videos and much more, updated every day, free of charge and available to everyone. Please help us to make this happen for six more months. We cannot continue without you, and it is because of you that we have come this far in the past ten years. Thank you for a decade of dedication and support! We have complete trust that you will pull us though another six months. Please Click Here to...

Clinton's Unpromising Start
30 Apr 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Incongruous. One can hardly think of a more suited term to describe the new US administration's approach to peacemaking in the Middle East. Though there is little evidence that previous US administrations had genuinely attempted to play a balanced role in forging a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians, many hoped -- and a few still hope -- that Barack Obama's administration would bring about new standards. However, if recent comments made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffice as a general indication of the administration's Middle East policy, then little change is on the horizon. Clinton told US legislators 23 April that the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was Tehran; that without getting tough on Iran, Israel could not be expected to pursue peace with the Palestinians. "The two go hand in hand," she emphasised. What a baffling approach to peacemaking. In order for peace to prevail, Israel should engage Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority in "discussions" aimed at inspiring the isolation of Iran, for reasons entirely pertinent to US interests and Israeli "security". While Clinton's approach rests on luring Israel into her proposed peace discussions, what is Clinton's promise to the Palestinians, the Arabs, and indeed Iran but endless chatter, a regional cold war and sectarian divisions? Hasn't the Middle East seen enough of that? Is it not time to relegate such detrimental language and focus on positive engagement, regional stability and economic cooperation? In fact, there is concrete evidence that supports...

Understanding Lebanon's June Elections
30 Apr 2009 - By Rannie Amiri ".. it is in the interest of Lebanon and its stability that there is understanding and partnership among Lebanese in running their country's affairs." -- Hezbollah leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, on Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary elections. "We will not take part in the government if the [Hezbollah-led] March 8 Alliance wins the elections .." -- Parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri. In the Middle East, there are “elections” and there are elections. The majority, when they do occur, invariably fall under the first category. There are a few however, that fall under the second – transparent, legitimate, meaningful contests that have both domestic and regional implications. One of the most notable took place in January 2006 when Hamas swept Palestinian parliamentary polls, giving them the majority in the Palestine National Council and the ability to form a government. Monitored by the Carter Center, former President Jimmy Carter called them “open, honest, and fair contests.” The reaction they engendered in the U.S., Israel and Egypt – and the subsequent punishment meted out on the electorate – needs little elaboration. This June, two Middle East countries will be holding elections of consequence a mere five days apart; Lebanon on June 7 and Iran on June 12. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s faceoff against reformist candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi was recently discussed. Due to the Lebanon’s complex, sectarian-based political framework, understanding the mechanics and dynamics behind its upcoming parliamentary vote is more complicated. March 8 vs. March 14 In Lebanon today...

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