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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
6 May , 2009 Part Two

News

International Middle East Media Center

W. B.: The Israeli military kidnapped six civilians during invasion on Wednesday
6 May 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped six Palestinian civilians during pre dawn invasion targeting a number of West Bank communities on Wednesday.

The Israeli military opens fire at homes in southern Gaza Strip
6 May 2009 - Israeli military tanks opened fire on Wednesday midday at Palestinian homes located in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Detainees in Asqalan barred from visitation rights for 1 week for rejecting orange jumpsuits
6 May 2009 - The Israeli Prison Administration in Asqalan (Ashkelon) Prison decided to bar the detainees from their visitation rights for one week for rejecting to wear the Orange Jumpsuits, the administration is trying to force all detainees to wear.  

Qassam website: “New York Times Mashal report incorrect”
6 May 2009 - The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, reported that the New York Times report which claimed that Hamas political bureau leader, Khalid Mashal, said that Hamas decided to temporarily halt the firing of homemade shells. 

Qassam Brigades fires mortars at troops invading Gaza
6 May 2009 - The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, claimed responsibility for firing four mortars at Israeli troops carrying a Wednesday morning invasion into the Central Gaza Strip. 

UN demands Israel to pay compensation for shelling its facilities in Gaza
6 May 2009 - The United Nations demanded Israel to pay nearly $11 Million for shelling its schools, facilities and storehouses during Operation Cast Led offensive in which Israeli troops killed over 1400 Palestinians; most of them were civilian, including women and children. 

Israeli MK: “The Pope, holocaust denier, not welcome in Israel”
6 May 2009 - Member of Knesset, Michael Ben Ari, of the National Union right wing religious party, stated Tuesday that the Pope Benedict XVI, scheduled to arrive in the region next week, is not welcome in Israel as he is “a holocaust denier and a former member of the Nazi’s Youth Movement”. 

Hamas legislator: “P.A Security Forces in the West Bank act in collaboration with Israel”
5 May 2009 - Hamas legislator, Dr. Ismail Al Ashqar, stated Tuesday that the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank, loyal to Fateh movement, are collaborating with Israel by targeting resistance fighters and shutting down charitable institutions. 

OIC Aid Convoy to depart to Gaza Wednesday
5 May 2009 - Ambassador Atta al-Mannan Bakheet, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), stated that an aid convoy, containing 40 aid trucks, would be heading to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. 

Israeli Interior Minister started process of revoking citizenship of four Arabs
5 May 2009 - Israeli Interior Minister, Eli YIshai, is acting on a decision he made to revoke the Israeli citizenship of four Arabs under the pretext that they visited “enemy states” in the 1970’s. He also claimed that the four were “directly or indirectly involved in hostile activities against Israel”. 

More demolition orders in Jerusalem, Palestinian-home owners appeal
5 May 2009 - The Israeli Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday issued more demolition orders to Palestinian-home owners in Jerusalem's old city and around it.

Military kidnaps five civilians from different parts of West Bank
5 May 2009 - Five Palestinian civilians were kidnapped during pre-dawn Israeli military invasions which targeted several parts of the west Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian sources reported.

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF troops kill Palestinian near Hebron holy site
6 May 2009 - Soldiers say they opened fire when man refused to heed orders to halt; IDF soldier lightly hurt from shrapnel. 

Defense official: Israel has no territorial claims to Ghajar
6 May 2009 - Senior army officers meet to discuss UN proposal for Israeli withdrawal from divided Lebanon border village. 

IDF bombs three Gaza tunnels, after militants fire shells at Negev
6 May 2009 - Four people wounded in Gaza attack, none in Negev; strike comes despite Hamas declaration rocket fire has ceased. 

Israel pushing forward on plans to exit Lebanon border village
5 May 2009 - Senior army officers from Israel, Lebanon and the UN to meet in two weeks at border crossing. 

Barak: IDF did not mean to shoot at UN facilities in Gaza
5 May 2009 - UN investigators meeting in Geneva to assess IDF conduct; Ban: UN report on Gaza war not legally binding. 

Israel to pay terror victims with money allocated to PA
5 May 2009 - Judge says evidence indicates PA responsible for attack that killed a young Israeli couple in 2001. 

PA working to root out Hamas, Hezbollah secret agents
4 May 2009 - Israeli security sources: Palestinians to be more effective in attacking Hamas infrastructure than IDF. 

Syria looks to Lebanon War for tips on arming Hezbollah
4 May 2009 - Sources: Syria intent on maintaining military strategy based on air defense and anti-tank weapons. 

Ma'an News

Key Hebron road opened to settlers, not Palestinians 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A road leading from the Israeli settlement Kiryat Arba to the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in the southern West Bank will be open to Israeli-only traffic next week, the Israeli Central Command said on Tuesday. Palestinians living along the road are prohibited from using it, Israel Radio quoted the spokesperson of the Central Command as saying; he added that only five of the Palestinian families living there have cars. Settlement leaders were informed of the decision to open the road a few weeks ago and they warned Central Command chief General Gadi Shamni against opening the road to Palestinians. During a meeting with Shamni, they claimed this would lead to bloodshed. 

Gaza: Two Israeli strikes leave four Palestinians injured 
5/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Four Palestinians were injured in two Israeli air strikes on smuggling tunnels on the Egypt-Gaza border on Wednesday afternoon. Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, Muawiya Hassanein told Ma’an that four people were evacuated to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in the city of Rafah for medical treatment. Hassanein said injuries ranged between slight and moderate. Earlier on Wednesday, Israel said that a homemade projectile launched from the Gaza Strip landed near the beach at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. More than five mortar shells were also reported falling in open areas in western Negev. No casualties have been reported. For its part, Hamas’ military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing five mortar shells at an Israeli military forces in the eastern Gaza Strip. 

Palestinian shot dead near Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an –Israeli troops opened fire on a young Palestinian who allegedly attempted to steal the soldier's gun near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron Wednesday night. According to Israeli reports the youth got close to the soldier and tried to reach for his weapon. Soldiers opened fire and killed the youth instantly. One Israeli soldier is said to have been injured in the incident, when fire from the Israeli troops hit the soldier in the leg. The identity of the youth is unknown. [end] 

Hamas shells Israeli forces in Gaza 
5/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an –The Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, claimed the firing of four mortar shells at Israeli targets near the central Gaza Strip on Wednesday, one day after Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al told the Times firing would let up. The brigades said in a statement that four mortar shells were fired at an Israeli infantry unit which entered the area of Wadi Abu Qatron, east of Al-Bureij camp in the central Gaza Strip. This contradicts reports from Israeli Army Radio, which reported that the shells landed across the border in Israeli territory. According to the Al-Qassam Brigades statement, Tuesday’s shelling came “to assert that resistance fighters will continue to defend Palestinian land against Israeli aggressions. ”The strikes came as an internal Hamas battle is waged over a report in the New York Times Tuesday that Hamas has decided to hold its fire on Israel. . . 

Assassinated Al-Qassam pioneer blessed with son four months after death 
5/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Four months after his death, the wife of Gaza’s famed Qassam projectile engineer gave birth to his son, named for his grandfather Yousef Al-Mancy. His father, Amir Yousef Al-Mansy, was killed on 10 January 2008 when an Israeli warplane targeted him while walking in one of Gaza City’s streets during the latest war on the coastal areaAmir was wanted by Israel as a leader of the Al-Qassam Brigades and the developer of the Al-Qassam projectile. He is also said to have been the first to launch a Grad projectile into Israel. He lived in the At-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City. He and his wife married nine months before his assassination; she gave birth to his only son on Tuesday. 

Iran's president vows support for Palestinian 'resistance' 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met on Tuesday in Damascus with an Islamic Jihad delegation headed by Secretary-General Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, his deputy Ziad An-Nakhala, and member of politburo Abu As-Sa’id. Earlier on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad met with Hamas leaders and separately with other Palestinian factions leaders. An-Nakhala said his delegation updated the Iranian president on what he called a US-backed crippling siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. They also explained to him about national dialogue between Hamas and Fatah. He added that the delegation told Ahmadinejad that Israel dealt with the siege as de facto. “We asserted to Ahmadinejad that the Palestinian people were steadfast before Israeli military offensive, and Palestinian resistance would lead a multi-polar political struggle because the Palestinian people can never surrender his historic rights,” An-Nakhala added. 

PA vows to resolve family reunification issue 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) civil affairs minister vowed help thousands of Palestinians seeking legal residency in their homeland on Tuesday. Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Ash-Sheikh said that the PA would soon resolve a remaining 2,000 family reunification cases for Palestinians in Gaza. He said his ministry is in contact with Israeli authorities about the cases. Ash-Sheikh explained in an interview broadcast on Ma’an Network radio stations that a joint committee of the Civil Affairs and Health Ministry is working on the issue of medical referrals from Gaza to the West Bank and abroad. He urged Palestinians not to use medical permits merely as a means to leave Gaza, as this will affect the ability of critical patients to leave Gaza. He also said that hundreds of Palestinians from Jerusalem have been applying for PA West Bank IDs after Israeli authorities revoked their Jerusalem IDs. 

Hamas lawmaker included on UK's 'least wanted' list 
5/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Hamas lawmaker has been included on a list people banned from entering the UK for allegedly preaching extremism and hatred. The list includes Hamas lawmaker Younis Al-Astal, and Lebanese fighter Samir Al-Qintar, who was released by Israel in a prisoner exchange last year. The UK released some of the names for the first time on Tuesday. Also on the list of 22 are Egyptian cleric Safwat Hijazi, Israeli settler Mike Guzovsky, in addition to other Islamic figures, white supremacists, and US anti-gay extremist Fred Phelps. The ministry’s justification for adding Al-Astal to the list was he once called Jews “descendents of apes and pigs. ”Commenting on his being on the UK list, Al-Astal said in a statement, “this is a certificate of honor for me. I thank the British ministry for this honor. . . . " 

Lieberman: Peace process a ‘waste of money’ 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has dismissed the peace process as a “waste of money” during his first visit to Europe in his new post. "Nothing has come from this whole 'peace industry' except for conferences in five-star hotels and a waste of money," Lieberman told his Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini, during a meeting in Rome on Monday, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Lieberman repeated his view that "two states for two peoples" had become a clichéd slogan designed for the media. "This is a process with no results," Lieberman said, according to Haaretz, "Everyone is earning a living off of it. There are conferences and there are meetings in five-star hotels. Do you know how much money has been spent on this? And what has come of it? " Lieberman spoke glowingly of the "Cypriot model," which would include a population. . . 

Hamas denies it deployed forces to enforce Gaza ceasefire 
5/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas did not forcibly halt the launch of projectiles by factional groups during the ceasefire despite Israeli claims to the contrary, Hamas Spokesperson Ismail Radwan said Wednesday. “These are false allegations aimed at tarnishing Hamas and the resistance,” he said, while also denying reports of a recent meeting with Islamic Jihad and other factions in which they agreed to stop launching homemade projectiles. He said they did discuss Palestinian unity dialogue and bilateral relationships among the factions. Radwan reiterated that Hamas supports resistance as a right of the Palestinian people and a response to Israeli aggression comes according to what the resistance believes it should be. Israeli media had claimed early on Wednesday that Hamas deployed its security personnel at the borders of the Gaza Strip to halt such action against Israel. 

PA: Netanyahu's "fresh approach" should implement past agreements 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority (PA) urged Israel to implement past peace agreements on Tuesday in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call for a “fresh approach” to peacemaking. “When Netanyahu speaks of a fresh approach to peace, implementing Israel’s obligations under existing agreements is precisely the fresh approach that Palestinians and the international community expect of his government,” said top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in a statement. “This includes an immediate freeze on all settlement activity, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem, and lifting all restrictions on freedom of movement and access for Palestinians both in and out of, as well as within, the occupied Palestinian territory, including an immediate end to the siege on Gaza,” he added. 

UN mandated meeting over Israeli-Palestinian peace process kicks off in Cyprus 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon told an International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace in Nicosia, Cyprus that he hopes for a heightened role of the Middle East Quartet in reviving Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with the aim of creating a two-state solution. The conference, which began Wednesday, is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly, and is running under the theme “Action by European, Arab and other parliamentarians and their umbrella organizations for Israeli-Palestinian peace. ”The UN chief addressed conference participants through a statement read out to those gathered. His words emphasized the continued commitment of the UN to resolving the Palestinian issue; both its standing bodies and its participants in the Middle East Quartet, which includes the UN, EU, US and Russia. 

Surif man sentenced to ten years hard labor for collaboration 
5/6/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an Special – The North Governorates Military court in the West Bank found a Surif man guilty of collaboration with Israel and sentenced him to ten years of prison and hard labor as his case was closed Wednesday. “MF” was accused of collaborating following a period in the Etzion detention center where it is believed Israeli officials offered to reduce an alleged four year prison sentence in Israel down to two years if MF agreed to collaborate. The defendant, who was affiliated with Hamas when he began collaborating, started passing information to Israeli authorities from inside the facility. MF was transferred to work in the mail room where he was able to keep track of Hamas political action particularly in Surif. Following his release MF was paid for his information. The court charged and found guilty MF for collaboration, but reduced his sentence - which is often a death sentence - to ten years of hard labor in prison. 

Abbas: Decision to reinstate Fayyad government in interest of peace, dialogue 
5/6/2009 - Cairo – Ma’an – Although he resigned on 7 March Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his caretaker government will stay on in their posts with a “few new additions,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday. Speaking after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas assuredthat the decision to keep the majority of Fayyad’s resigned government in power and the addition of new members would not interfere with the planned national dialogue set to take place in Cairo on 16 May. Abbas also noted that the small governmental shuffle was one of the topics of conversation between himself and Mubarak, but noted that the central points of the meeting were to discuss the peace process and the impending visit of Abbas to Washington. Both points, he added, were discussed in relation to national unity which “remains our priority. 

Bethlehem University Student Council to be run by Fatah-affiliated party 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Bethlehem University’s Student Council will be lead by a Fatah-affiliated student group after the party won university-wide elections Wednesday. Participation was down to 74% this year from almost 90% the year before. At last count 1,850 students cast votes. The Islamic Jihad and Hamas-affiliated parties did not participate in the elections. Results were as follows:The Shabibeh Students Bloc (Fatah) won 22 out of 31 seatsThe Leftist Bloc (affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - PFLP) won 9 seats [end] 

Wind energy project launched in Hebron 
5/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - A new wind energy project will see 40% of the power needed to run Hebron’s Al-Ahli Hospital supplied by turbines as a test case possibly prompting the adoption of wind energy infrastructure in locations across the West Bank. The 80% EU funded project was launched Monday and will be implemented over three years and include the installment of a wind turbine that can produce up to 700 KW of energy. The project, with partners at the Netherlands’ University of Twente, will cost upwards of two million US dollars to complete. The project is being billed as a fight against climate change and extension of the EU’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions as well as “an important step in the framework of the construction of an independent Palestinian state, which is not so reliant on its neighbors for its energy supply,” said European Commission Representative Christian Berger at the opening. 

Expired dates from illegal settlement seized en route to Jericho 
5/6/2009 - Hebron - Ma’an - The Palestinian Authority Security Service seized several tons of expired dates imported to the West Bank from an illegal Israeli settlement in Jericho on Wednesday evening. Police Deputy Omar Qabha said the expired goods were confiscated following an intelligence campaign to stop the smuggling of expired goods from the Israeli settlements into the West Bank. He added that the dates be destroyed by experts in Jericho for the protection of locals. [end] 

The National

Fear for the missing as relations improve
6 May 2009 - Despite warming ties with Lebanon, Syria is still refusing to acknowledge hundreds of abductions during 29-year occupation.

Egypt seeks new chapter in Islamic unity
5 May 2009 - Cairo's new book aims to educate the country about Shiism but analysts believe its real aim is to counter Iran's growing regional influence.

Biden calls for end to Israeli settlements
5 May 2009 - US vice president confirms commitment to creating a Palestinian state ahead of Israeli PM's visit to Washington.

Israel steps up patient interrogation
4 May 2009 - Physicians for Human Rights says Palestinians are forced to become informants to be allowed out of Israel for treatment.

Israel names Oren as US ambassador
4 May 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu has named the US professor and historian Michael Oren as the next ambassador to Washington.

Lieberman takes first foreign trip as minister
3 May 2009 - The visit is viewed as part of the Israeli government's campaign to ease tensions with EU states.

Aljazeera

Two die in air raid on Gaza tunnels
2 May 2009 - Israeli bombings 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.

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: Israel Hit by Doubts Over U.S. 
JERUSALEM, May 6 (IPS) - Almost a full fortnight before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is received at the White House, and already political nerves here are all a-jangle. Is a showdown with Israel's staunch ally about to materialise?

Q&A: 'We Eat Hatred Here' 
TEL AVIV, May 6 (IPS) - Beit Daniel is an Israeli pluralist religious organisation promoting coexistence between Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land. Executive director Rabbi Meir Azari speaks here to IPS about the war in Gaza, the importance of compromise, and the moral dilemmas of Israel.

POLITICS: U.N. Inquiry Critical of Israeli Attacks in Gaza 
UNITED NATIONS, May 5 (IPS) - A detailed 184-page report critical of Israeli attacks on U.N. personnel and buildings during the Gaza conflict last December-January has been meticulously stripped down to a 27-page document - mostly due to political sensitivities and on security grounds.

POLITICS-US: AIPAC Conference Pushes Hard Line on Iran 
WASHINGTON, May 5 (IPS) - The annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful and hawkish pro-Israel lobby, wrapped up on Tuesday with a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, capping three days that were primarily devoted to the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Stop The Wall

http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/1934.shtml
3 May 2009 - After arrests and injuries on Workers Day, the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the popular committees against the Apartheid Wall in al Ma'sara and the district call on trade unions around the globe to increase solidarity and join the BDS call. [

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. [

PCHR Latest

(04-05-2009) PCHR welcomes the Spanish National Court’s decision to continue investigating suspected Israeli war criminals
PCHR

Journalist Mustafa Sabri Detained for 2 Weeks by Palestinian Preventive Security Services in Qalqilya
PCHR

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

Israeli soldiers break Hebron resident's arm, enter two shops
International Solidarity Movement - 4 May 2009 - On Monday, the 4th of May, a Hebron resident's arm was broken by two soldiers in the old city.   49-year-old Mohammad Hashem Borqan was on his way to pray at the Ibrahimi Mosque at around 5:30am.   As he went through the checkpoint at the entrance to the mosque, two soldiers started beating and kicking him.   Mohammad fell to the ground, breaking his arm.   After the beating the soldiers ordered him to leave the area, and he was forced to take himself to the hospital. Mohammad Hashem Borqan displays his broken arm after being beaten by Israeli soldiers. Israeli soldiers entered at least two shops in Hebron's old city. Seven soldiers entered at least two shops in Hebron. Additionally, at around 2:00pm that same day, seven Israeli soldiers entered at least two Palestinian handcraft shops in the old city of Hebron near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Romano. 

International Human Rights Workers to accompany Palestinian farmers near buffer zone in Gaza Strip
International Solidarity Movement - 8am, Thursday 7 May 2009: Six International Human Rights Workers will be accompanying 12 Palestinian farmers Laytamaat area near Khoza'a, east of Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza strip, as they harvest crops several hundred metres from the Green Line. Farmers and international accompaniers were last fired upon in BeitHanoun by Israeli forces on the 17th of April. Several farmers have been shot by Israeli forces while farming theirlands. Mohammed al-Buraim is the fourth Palestinian farmer to be shot byIsraeli forces in the ‘buffer zone' in the last months. The threeshootings prior to Mohammed's were: on 18 January, Maher Abu-Rajileh (24) from Khoza'a village, was killed by Israeli soldiers whileworking on his land 400m from the Green Line; on 20 January, Israeli soldiers shot Waleed al-Astal (42) of Al Qarara (near Khan Younis) in his right. . . 

UN demand for IDF compensation in Gaza could reach $11m
International Solidarity Movement - 6 May 2009 - A United Nations demand for financial compensation for Israeli strikes on UN facilities in Gaza could come to $11 million, a government official in Jerusalem said Tuesday in response to a UN report that criticized Israel for the attacks. The incidents occurred during Operation Cast Lead in January. The official said Israel would begin negotiations with the UN on this and other matters in the coming weeks. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused Israel Tuesday of lying about attacks on the facilities, including one said to have killed more than 40 people outside a school compound, and formally demanded compensation. He said a UN investigation found conclusively that Israel was responsible for attacks on several schools, a health clinic and the organization's Gaza headquarters. 

Villages and organizations ask Norway to divest from Leviev's Africa-Israel over settlements
International Solidarity Movement - 6 May 2009 - The West Bank Palestinian villages of Bil'in and Jayyous and 11 national and international networks from Europe, Palestine, Israel and the US have sent letters calling on Norway to comply with its ethical guidelines and divest from its pension fund holdings in the company Africa-Israel, owned by the controversial diamond magnate Lev Leviev. The villages of Bil'in and Jayyous cited the devastating impacts of the construction of Israeli settlements by Africa-Israel and another Leviev-owned company, Leader Management and Development, on their villages' agricultural land. The letters to Norwegian officials follow controversy in Norway over pension investments in Africa-Israel and other Israeli companies involved in human rights abuses, statements by Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen supporting a review of pension fund investments, and an April 28 article in the UK's Guardian. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Here she comes: Saudi Arabia's Miss Beautiful Morals
6 May 2009 - Sukaina al-Zayer is an unlikely beauty queen hopeful. She covers her face and body in black robes and an Islamic veil, so no one can tell what she looks like. She also admits she's a little on the plump side. ...

Peres tells Ban: Israel will never accept UN Gaza probe
5 May 2009 - President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday that Israel would never apologize for its military offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, calling a damning United Nations report on its conduct there "unfair and one-sided." ...

'EU to decide on upgrading ties after Israel reviews strategy'
5 May 2009 - The European Union will decide what to do about a frozen upgrade in ties with Israel once Israel unveils its Palestinian strategy review, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Wednesday. ...

'Making Israel sign NPT won't be miracle cure for world ills'
5 May 2009 - Jerusalem officials were surprised to learn on Wednesday of a U.S. call to Israel to join the the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global pact meant to limit the spread of atomic weapons. ...

Defense official: Israel has no territorial claims to Ghajar
5 May 2009 - Senior defense officials met on Wednesday to discuss a United Nations proposal for Israel's withdrawal from the northern part of the village of Ghajar, which straddles the Israeli-Lebanese border. ...

The Guardian

Letters: No justification for Hamas claim
6 May 2009 - Jeremy Beecham ( Letters , 6 May) refers to "the disingenuousness of author David Gardner's justification of Hamas". He is, of course, perfectly entitled to consider me disingenuous. He is not entitled to suggest I have "justified" or...

Life in Nu'man land
6 May 2009 - How Israel's West Bank wall has turned a Palestinian village into a day-leave prison for its 200 residents The Palestinian villagers of Nu'man have lived on their hilltop for generations, looking out across sweeping views of...

Israeli military occupation 'severely compromises Bethlehem'
6 May 2009 - The Israeli military occupation around Bethlehem is severely restricting its growth, undermining its economy and compromising its future, according to a UN report. The combined effect of Israeli annexation, the West Bank barrier, settlements, settler bypass...

Israeli activist to be jailed for caring | Neve Gordon
6 May 2009 - Ezra Nawi was ridiculed and arrested for trying to protect people's homes. Only international attention can help him now Without international intervention, Israeli human rights activist Ezra Nawi will most likely be sent to jail. Nawi...

Ha'aretz National page

Rightist MK demands Army Radio cease playing German pop song
5 May 2009 - Rightist lawmaker Aryeh Eldad demanded on Wednesday that Army Radio cease playing German pop group Polarkreis 18's song "Allein Allein" because of associations between the German language and the Holocaust. ...

Ayelet Zurer blazes Hollywood trail in 'Angels and Demons'
5 May 2009 - After Noa Tishby helped make Matthew McConaughey's latest film a box-office hit this past weekend and Gal Gadot boosted Vin Diesel's latest installment of Fast and Furious, Ayelet Zurer became the latest Israeli actress to join the list of Hollywood success stories. ...

'U.S. funded anthrax vaccine trials on IDF soldiers'
5 May 2009 - The United States provided some $200 million to fund a top secret laboratory and assembly line in Israel which developed and produced a vaccine for anthrax, according to the Internet news site Intelligence Online. ...

Mossad officials jostle for top intelligence agency post
5 May 2009 - Senior Mossad officials are beginning to set their sights on the job of deputy Mossad chief, to be in the right place at the right time when Mossad head Meir Dagan retires, according to off-the-record conversations and consultations. ... 

'Government must stop the Dead Sea from sinking'
5 May 2009 - A report by the state comptroller rebuked the government for years of inaction on the declining water-level of the Dead Sea, particularly the sink holes that have appeared along the shoreline. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Annual report 2008
6 May 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Ban sends report of UN probe into Gaza incidents to Security Council
6 May 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Israel gives Palestinians access to Hebron street 
6 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Transcript of press conference by UN SG Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters, 5 May 2009
5 May 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

L'UNRWA reçoit 25 millions de dollars pour un projet au nord du Liban
5 May 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Israel rejects blame in UN report for Gaza deaths
5 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

OPT: Israel's cash limitations threaten Gaza banks
5 May 2009 - Source: Reuters

Palestinian unity, rebuilding of Gaza vital to maintain calm – UN envoy
5 May 2009 - Source: UN News Service

YNet News

PM approves $12 million transfer to Gaza
6 May 2009 - Netanyahu's office says money will go to pay salaries of PA's employees in the Strip

'Not much progress' at Solana-Lieberman meeting
6 May 2009 - EU foreign policy chief meets with Israeli foreign minister, says decisions regarding future of ties to Israel will be made only after new government reveals its standing on peace negotiations with Palestinians 

Border Guard kills Palestinian near Tomb of Patriarchs
6 May 2009 - Palestinian ordered to halt but officers fire after he ignores several warnings, one officer lightly injured

Barak fears economic crisis in Defense Ministry
6 May 2009 - Finance Ministry slashes defense funds with new State Budget, demands dismissal of 1,000 officers

Peres tells Ban 'we made mistakes in Gaza' 
6 May 2009 - President meets with UN secretary-general, rejects claims IDF deliberately targeted UNWRA facilities during recent operation. 'I admit that we made some mistakes, but I do not know of any war without mistakes. We did not want to kill a single civilian 

Spanish prosecutors appeal Israel probe
6 May 2009 - Public prosecutors tell judge 'judicial actions taken by Israel are sufficient' in case of 2002 Gaza strike

Dramatic drop in Qassam attacks
6 May 2009 - April recorded as quietest month for southern Israel in 2009, rocket launches down to 8 from over 80 in previous months. Meanwhile army confirms third airstrike this week against Palestinian smuggling tunnels in Rafah

EU: Upgrade of ties with Israel dependent on 2-state solution
6 May 2009 - European Union ambassador to Israel, Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, has no problems with FM Lieberman's request the world stop 'standing with a stopwatch' for Israel to formulate its new foreign policy. However, he says, there are clear expectations to see PM Netanyahu endorse a Palestinian state 

Merkel: No alternative to 2-state solution
6 May 2009 - Ahead of Lieberman's visit, German chancellor 'hopes new Israeli gov't will make progress in talks'

B'tselem

3 policemen indicted for assaulting Palestinian in Tel Aviv
5 May 2009 - On 3 May '09, indictments were filed against three policemen, charging them with assaulting Tareq Abu Laban, in Tel Aviv, in June '08. According to Abu Laban, the three forced him into a police car and beat and abused him severely during a ride in it.

State Attorney's Office to Police: Forbidden to fire tear-gas canisters directly at demonstrators
3 May 2009 - The SAO's directive follows several warnings by B'Tselem to law-enforcement authorities in the West Bank about the life-threatening danger inherent in firing tear-gas canisters at people. A demonstrator in Bi’lin was recently killed when struck by a tear-

Daily Star

Gates promises to keep Arab allies in the loop on Iran front 
5 May 2009 - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday Arab fears of a possible "grand bargain" between Iran and the United States were unwarranted and that Washington would not abandon its long-time regional allies. Seeking to reassure Arab governments about a potential shift in the regional balance of power.

Ahmadinejad, Assad vow support for resistance 
5 May 2009 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed Zionism as "occupation" and "aggression" Tuesday as he delivered his latest diatribe against Israel on a visit to key Middle East ally Syria. "The Zionist occupiers are destructive microbes, because Zionism itself is occupation, aggression, the use of assassination and annihilation," he told.

Khamenei publicly rebukes Ahmadinejad over removal of senior official 
5 May 2009 - Iran's supreme leader publicly rebuked the president over his removal of a top official, a rare show of discontent with the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by the country's most powerful figure. The rebuke, issued in the press Monday, quickly raised questions whether the supreme leader is backing off.

Dozens of candidates sign up for Iran's presidential vote 
5 May 2009 - Dozens of hopefuls, including four women, threw their hat into the ring on Tuesday on the first day of registration for June's presidential election, expected to be a test for Iran's dominant conservatives. Fifty people have so far signed up to stand in the June 12 vote, including four women, after Iran opened up the five-day candidate registration period.

Ban accuses Israel of lying about attacks on UN schools 
5 May 2009 - The UN chief on Tuesday accused Israel of lying about attacks on United Nations schools and other facilities during the Gaza military campaign - including one reported to have killed more than 40 people - and formally demanded compensation. Ban Ki-moon said a UN investigation found conclusively that Israeli weaponry.

Biden presses Israel to halt settlement expansion 
5 May 2009 - The United States stepped up pressure on Israel's new right-leaning government on Tuesday to accept the goal of a Palestinian state and halt expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far shied away from publicly supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meshaal: Hamas wants to be part of the solution 
5 May 2009 - Hamas' top political leader, in a message to the Obama administration, said the group is determined to be part of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The group's exiled leader, Khaled Meshaal, said in an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday that Hamas has halted its rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Information Center

Four citizens wounded in Israeli air raid
6 May 2009 - Four Palestinian citizens were wounded Wednesday evening when Israeli warplanes launched two air raids on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders south of the Gaza Strip at the pretext of targeting tunnels.

Change and reform bloc asks Britain to stop contra-democratic practices
6 May 2009 - The change and reform parliamentary bloc has expressed dismay at the British decision to ban entry of Palestinian MP Dr. Younis Al-Astal to the United Kingdom.

Awkaf minister warns of unprecedented IOA scheme against Jerusalem, Aqsa
6 May 2009 - Dr. Taleb Abu Shaar, the minister of Awkaf and religious affairs in Gaza, has warned of a new IOA scheme aimed at building 13,000 new housing units in occupied east Jerusalem.

UN committee charges Israel with maintaining secret jail
6 May 2009 - The UN committee against torture has denounced the Israeli general security apparatus for using a secret detention center for interrogation that could not be visited by the Red Cross.

Jihad leader: Ramallah authority should stop prosecuting resistance
6 May 2009 - Abul Qassam, one of the Islamic Jihad leaders in northern West Bank, has called on the Ramallah authority loyal to former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas to stop prosecuting resistance elements.

Israel pressures against endorsement of UN report condemning it of war crimes
6 May 2009 - The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has bowed to Israeli pressures and did not endorse a UN fact finding commission's report condemning Israel for war crimes committed during its war on Gaza.

Haneyya gov't calls on world to bridle Israeli "terrorism"
6 May 2009 - The government of premier Ismail Haneyya has called on the world community to immediately act to check the growing Israeli fanaticism and terrorism against the Palestinian people.

Baraka categorically denies Hamas leaders to leave Syria
6 May 2009 - Ali Baraka, the deputy representative of Hamas to Syria, has categorically denied press reports that the leaders of Hamas and Palestinian resistance factions would soon leave the Syrian territory.

IOA kidnaps 40 Palestinian children in one month
6 May 2009 - The PA ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners' affairs in Gaza has accused Tuesday the Israeli occupation authorities of kidnapping 345 Palestinian citizens, including 40 minors during April.

Mishaal: We don’t change our charter to meet the wishes of others
6 May 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, has denied that his Movement was about to change its charter or stop its resistance against occupation..

Los Angeles Times

Biden urges Israel to work for a Palestinian state 
6 May 2009 - Speaking to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, Vice President Joe Biden also calls for a halt to the expansion of Jewish settlements. Vice President Joe Biden called on Israeli officials Tuesday to work harder for creation of a Palestinian state and to halt growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. 

New York Times

Leaders of Iran and Syria Vow to Back ‘Palestinian Resistance’
5 May 2009 - As the Obama administration seeks to improve strained U.S. ties in the region, Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar al-Assad met in Damascus. 

Addressing U.S., Hamas Says It Grounded Rockets
4 May 2009 - Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, said the militant group was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Egypt: Gates Seeks to Assure Allies
4 May 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates landed in Cairo on a tour of the Middle East intended to reassure Egypt and Saudi Arabia that they remain valued partners. 


Articles


An Open Letter to Barack Obama from a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 
Mairead Maquire, CounterPunch 5/1/2009
      Stand Up to Israeli Apartheid
     DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA,
     I found your book ‘Dreams from my Father’ a moving and inspiring story of your own struggle to find your identity and purpose in life. You found it for sure, and today carry the hopes and dreams of so many people in our world. We pray for you and your family. We wish you all good health and happiness. You carry so much responsibility. We hope you will change the policies of USA (both domestic and Foreign) to people centred policies, based on the values and ethics which you try to live out in your life.
     Reading your book I was inspired by your involvement (during Sophomore year at University) in the South African anti-apartheid Divestment campaign. Your own words - ‘I found myself drawn into a larger role – contacting representatives of the African National Congress to speak on campus, drafting strategy, I noticed that people had begun to listen to my opinions.’, encouraged me to share with you the following opinions, and experiences, of many of the people I met during my most recent visit to Palestine/Israel.
     Earlier this month, I attended the 4th Bil’in International Conference on Popular Nonviolent Resistance held in Bil’in, near Ramallah, in the Israeli occupied Terrority of Palestine. Here, all the Palestinian people are asking of you, President Obama, is to listen to their opinions and use your position to help end the racist, apartheid policies of Israel, which continue to cause so much pain and suffering to them. Each week, for the past four years, the villagers (after prayers in the Mosque) walk to the Wall which has annexed much of their land, and cuts them off from their farms and olive groves, and their ability to make a living for their families. As you know, under International Law the Apartheid wall is illegal but Israel continues to ignore International Laws (and some 62 UN resolutions) and annex more land from the Palestinians, all the while demolishing Palestinian homes, building illegal settlements both in East Jerusalem, and the West Bank, and laying Siege to the Gaza strip (l and a half million people), thus breaking the Geneva Conventions and committing crimes against humanity.

Billboards Criticizing Israel Taken Down Five Weeks Before Contract Had Expired - Please Call Or Write 
US Campaign to End the Occupation 5/5/2009
      Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA — On Tuesday, April 28, 2009, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, a billboard company in Albuquerque, New Mexico abruptly removed 10 billboards that had been purchased by the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel. The billboards (photo is attached) featured an image of an Israeli tank and a Palestinian girl with the message: Tell Congress: Stop Killing Children. End Military Aid to Israel."
     The Stop $30 Billion Coalition believes the billboards were pulled in response to pro-Israeli pressure. A contract had been signed for eight weeks; the billboards were taken down after only three weeks.
     We, the members of the Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel, call on all people of conscience to call Lamar at the phone numbers below and tell them "I am calling to express my opposition to Lamar’s removal of the Billboards advocating an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. I demand the billboards be re-posted immediately."
     Michael Mons Lamar General Manager Abq/El Paso 1-800-334-2236 #106
     Or send an email to Lamar below...


Electronic Intifada
"Life is blind now" 
6 May 2009 - Mahmoud Mattar spent his 15th birthday in February this year, lying in the intensive care unit of Egypt's Sheikh Zayid hospital. He is one of the 1,606 children who were injured during Israel's military offensive on Gaza, some of who sustained horrific disabilities, head and spinal injuries, facial disfigurement, burns and amputation. 

Ban Ki-moon's moral failure
6 May 2009 - For the UN secretary-general, Israeli bombing is good -- although he would like perhaps to see a little bit less. But, in tune with his political masters, he considers Palestinians to have no right to any form of self-defense against the Israeli occupation, constant aggression and the Israeli, internationally-supported, deadly siege, with whatever means they have at their disposal. Hasan Abu Nimah comments. 

Month in pictures: April 2009
5 May 2009 - The below photographs are a selection of images from the month of April 2009. "The month in pictures" is an ongoing feature by The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net. 

Israel's war on dissent
5 May 2009 - About six months after Israel's attorney general publicly announced an effort to criminalize dissent, state authorities have upped the ante in their "war" -- as the Israeli daily Haaretz called it last September -- against Israel's youth; against the broad, grassroots movement slandered by officials as "draft shirkers." Rela Mazali comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
nicer times 3
6 May 2009 - Part of a wedding celebration. Other parts include the procession through town, festive music blaring, boys and men hanging out of car windows or on top of flatbed trucks, dancing, reveling in the wedding or in a reason to celebrate. While I’ve seen many of these, it never fails to bring a smile. This afternoon, I left my flat, passing some of the flock of children who gather about that time daily, to kick the football in the courtyard or run up to shake my hand. Today they were busy, concentrating on adding soil to the potential lemon tree they hoped would grow. But they were too proud to just...

Palestine Chronicle
The New Discourse on anti-Semitism 
5 May 2009 - By Shafiq Morton - Cape Town Those who criticize Israel or those who interrogate Zionism (the ism that gave birth to Israel) are often labeled “anti-Semitic” by the Zionist lobby. This lobby, a world-wide movement, is seen to be most influential in the United States where it vigorously defends the interests of Israel. To view Israel unsympathetically means vilification by this group: it avows political critique is something that threatens the existence of all Jews. Yet, ironically, some of the most ardent critics of Israel have been Jews – academics and political liberals who have not denigrated their Jewishness in any way because of their conscience. The truth is that the Jewish community (13, 3 million worldwide) is hardly a monolithic group that unquestioningly supports Israel’s policies. Studies by American academics, such as Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, have graphically – if not uncomfortably – pointed to this. In the multi-faceted Diaspora, it’s becoming evident – particularly since Gaza – that reservations have emerged about Zionist hasbara. This is the spin that suggests Israel is a country enjoying an exclusive right to be a victim, and that Israel can spurn international law because of this. Often depicted as the “Israeli David” versus the “Arab Goliath”, the scenario is met in the Arab street with the comeback that the reverse is true. Israel has the deterrent of nuclear power and the best-equipped military in the Middle East. The Palestinians don’t even have generals. The curse is that if a Jewish person...

The Silent Population
4 May 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem If it weren't for two little boys hitching a ride with us, this article would never have been written. Thanks to the mysterious way the universe operates, I will admit I am glad for the bizarre events of yesterday so that I could be reminded of a sector of Palestinian society all too often disregarded. I am talking about the Bedouins, those silent nomads of whom I was reminded because of two tiny first graders who needed a ride home. To and from Jericho, two checkpoints meet you. One is Israeli and the other, just a few hundred meters away is manned by Palestinian police. After saluting the Palestinian guards at the checkpoint with a friendly "salaam", we instinctively slowed down as we approached the Israelis, not wanting to be accused of storming the checkpoint or trying to evade an inspection. On the side of the road, small children with oversized backpacks were walking through the dust, some so tiny it was hard to believe they were of school age. After answering the customary, "Where are you from" and "Where are you going" from the Israeli soldier, we were met with an unorthodox request. "Could you take these kids with you if you're on your way to Ramallah?" the soldier inquired from my husband in Hebrew. "They live near Nabi Musa," the soldier clarified. Before I knew it, two tiny, timid and dark-skinned boys slipped into the back seat, sitting uncomfortably upright and looking so...

Has a Stake Been Driven through Neocon Foreign Policy?
4 May 2009 - By Ivan Eland Neo-conservatives used the Republican Party as a vehicle to promote and employ their policies of muscular nation-building overseas. But like the parasite that eventually kills its host, the Republican Party’s virtual collapse, in large part because of the failed nation-building adventure in Iraq, has left neo-conservatives discredited and facing policy extinction. Unfortunately, neo-conservatism will probably live on by changing hosts. Throughout American history, the structure of the political systems has ensured that only two major parties would be viable at any one time. They haven’t always been the Democrats and Republicans. They have always been the Democrats and one other party. First, it was the Federalists, then the Whigs, and finally, from just prior to the Civil War to the present, the Republicans. The Republicans started out as a regional party of the Northeast. The only reason they ever took power away from the Democrats, the only true national party at the time of the Civil War, was because the Democratic Party split into northern and southern wings over the slavery issue. Thus, the Civil War was essentially caused by the fracture of the Democratic Party. Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election with only 39.8 percent of the national popular vote, beating two Democrats and one minor party candidate. Southern states, fearing a Republican’s potential policies on slavery, didn’t even wait until Lincoln’s inauguration before they began to secede from the union. Ironically, today, the Republican Party, which once had hopes of becoming the majority party in...

When, Where the Pope Inspires No Hope
3 May 2009 - By Nicola Nasser - Bir Zeit, West Bank Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to be the third pontiff to visit the Holy Land from 8-15 May, following in the footsteps of Paul VI in 1964 and John Paul II in 2000, on a mission officially described as a “pilgrimage” and one of “peace and reconciliation.” However, the Pope will be stepping into “a diplomatic minefield,” where the Catholic highest spiritual authority will be unmercifully scrutinized by the protagonists of the one hundred year old Arab-Israeli conflict for the Holy Father’s every step, word and handshake, which would force him into the defensive in an impossible balancing act that will rule out any hope his presence is supposed to inspire, especially among the down-trodden Arabs of Palestine, whether those who are “Israelis” living as second class citizens since 1948 or those Palestinians living under the Israeli military occupation since 1967. Even the pontiff’s own Catholic diminishing flock in the Holy Land seems in controversy over the timing and the itinerary of his pilgrimage. "We will ask him why he came, what he intends on saying … and why he isn't coming to Gaza," Father Manuel Mussalam, the pastor of the only Catholic church of about 300 believers in Gaza, out of 3000 Christians in the Israeli besieged Mediterranean strip, was quoted by AFP as asking. "We'll tell him that this is not the right moment to come and visit the holy places, while Jerusalem is occupied," Mussalam added. In November 2006,...

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