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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
8 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Four injured, two kidnapped as Israeli troops attack nonviolent protest near Bethlehem
8 May 2009 - Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters conducted a nonviolent protest on Friday at Al Ma’ssara village near the southern west Bank city of Bethlehem.  

Five injured in the weekly Ni’lin protest
8 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. Five protestors were injured and dozens were treated for the effects gas inhalation. 

Bil’in Demonstrators Call on International Health Institutions to “Stop the Occupation Flu”
8 May 2009 - Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters walked through the streets of Bil’in on Friday wearing surgical masks to protect themselves from the “Occupation Flu” which first infected Palestinians sixty-one years ago.   

11 arrested during nonviolent protest against illegal settlements in Hebron
8 May 2009 - Eleven nonviolent protestors were detained and several others were injured during a nonviolent protest against Israeli settlements and outposts in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Friday morning. 

Quartet envoy: “Peace talks should address Jerusalem”
8 May 2009 - Quartet envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, stated Thursday that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians must address core issues, including the future of Jerusalem, and that the Quartet would pressure Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to resume final-status peace talks. 

Hamdan demands Arab Countries to drop Peace Initiative
8 May 2009 - Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, demanded the Arab countries to retract the Arab Peace Initiative as it drops the Right of Return in compliance with the demands of Israel and the United States. 

Army says soldier killed near Ramallah was shot when he gun discharged during scuffle
8 May 2009 - Israeli army sources reported that the Israeli Canadian-born soldier, who was shot and killed on Thursday morning in an invasion to a town near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, was killed when his weapon discharged when he scuffled with Palestinian residents. 

Israel delays transfer of salaries into Gaza
8 May 2009 - The Israeli Authorities delayed on Thursday the transfer of 50 Million NIS into the Gaza Strip meant to pay the salaries of government employees. The transfer was blocked after extremist settlers blocked the Eretz Crossing. 

Obama official admits Israel has nuclear weapons
8 May 2009 - An Obama administration official has provoked the anger of the Israeli government by implying that Israel has nuclear weapons. 

New government headed by Fayyad likely be declared next week
8 May 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Thursday that a new government headed by Dr. Salaam Fayyad, could be declared as early as next week. 

Peace Now files petition against illegal outposts
8 May 2009 - Israeli Peace Now Movement filed on Thursday a petition to the High Court demanding Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gadi Shamni, to issue orders immediately stopping construction in Halamish – Neve Tzuf illegal settlement. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, 14 injured by Israeli forces this week
7 May 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 29 April - 06 May 2009, two Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip as a result of the collapse of a tunnel bombarded by Israeli forces.  Israeli forces also killed a mentally disabled Palestinian civilian at the entrance to the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Lebanon arrests five more suspected of spying for Israel
8 May 2009 - Officials say arrests based on information extracted from ex-Lebanese general. 

WATCH: Leftists clash with settlers at illegal outpost
8 May 2009 - Activists: IDF declared closed military zone but evacuated only Palestinians, leftists, not settlers. 

IDF soldier killed in West Bank shot with own weapon
7 May 2009 - Canadian-born Sgt. Noam Adin Rechter-Levy was killed during clash with Palestinians near Ramallah. 

U.S. slams Hezbollah actions in Egypt, urges group to disarm
8 May 2009 - U.S. comments come after UN report shows Hezbollah planned to carry out clandestine 'hostile operations' in Egypt. 

UN chief slams Hezbollah for activities in Egypt
7 May 2009 - New United Nations report says Hezbollah engaging in clandestine activities beyond Lebanon. 

Nine Bedouin 'terror suspects' have charges reduced
7 May 2009 - Group earlier suspected of plotting attacks indicted of disorderly conduct, endangering lives on highway. 

Gaza militants fire mortar, anti-tank missile at IDF troops
7 May 2009 - No casualties; soldiers were operating south of Gaza; on Wed., IAF bombed Gaza tunnels after mortar salvo. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Gaza boats under attack; three attacks in two days 
5/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli war boats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats near the coast of Tel As-Sultan in the southern Gaza Strip Friday afternoon, six hours after an attack on a boat off the northern coast. An early morning attack on a Gazan shipping boat was reported off the As-Sudanieh coast north of Gaza City. No injuries were reported from that attack but damage was done to the boat. The attacks mark the third in two days after four men were seized from their fishing boat which came under attack at noon Thursday. The men remain in Israeli custody. [end] 

Israeli raid sees three Bethlehemites taken for questioning 
5/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three Palestinians were taken from their Bethlehem-area homes by invading Israeli troops before dawn Friday. Israeli sources said the three were listed as “wanted” by Israeli intelligence and noted they were taken to investigation centers for questioning. They have not been identified. [end] 

Israel partially opens one crossing into Gaza; 70 trucks to transfer goods 
5/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Kerem Shalom crossing point will be the only pathway open for the transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip Friday, as the larger Karni and Nahal Oz fuel transfer sites will remain closed, said Crossings Authority spokesperson Raed Fattuh. Israel is expected to allow 70-80 truckloads of commercial and humanitarian goods into the Strip during the day. [end] 

Illegal antiquities dealer arrested near Tubas 
5/8/2009 - Tubas – Ma’an – The Tubas antiquities authority arrested an amateur antiques hunter and smuggler Friday after receiving information on stolen antiquities. When investigators searched the homes of the alleged smuggler they found excavation tools and preservation materials used for hunting and extracting ancient artifacts from sites around Palestine. The Wadi Al-Far’a resident, just south of Tubas, was arrested and his tools seized. He will be charged with smuggling Palestinian antiquities and tried in court, said Tourism and Antiques officer Hassan Na’irat. [end] 

Maintenance to Gaza power station postponed 
5/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Gaza power station postponed its scheduled electricity cut Friday, and told residents the maintenance operation would set for a later date. The cut was set for Friday afternoon, but logistical considerations and lack of supplies necessitated a postponement. The repairs are supposed to be conducted yearly, and are carried out by ABB and Seimins technicians. Power station officials said preliminary maintenance was beig conducted and would continue until the end of May. The Gaza power plant sustained heavy damages in 2006 when the site was bombed by Israeli aircraft and was never brought back to full capacity. Further damage to the electricity grid was sustained during Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip during Israel’s Cast Lead operation that saw 22 days of air-raids and shelling as well as a ground invasion. 

Hamas leader denies reports of imminent truce with Israel 
5/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas leader Ismail Radwan denied reports published in China View Thursday that Hamas was close to a ceasefire deal with Israel. The Chinese news agency quoted sources close to Hamas as saying leaders had contacted Egyptian mediators Thursday telling them they were ready to negotiate a ceasefire deal for a limited period in return for an Israeli promise to halt attacks against Hamas members in Gaza. The initial report also noted that Hamas was expected to announce a ceasefire Friday. Radwan told Ma’an by phone that the report was “totally not true” and added that “any truce should include the opening of all crossings, lifting the siege imposed over Gaza and freezing the Israeli attack against civilians. ”

Papal message of peace mixed with concern for politics in Jordan 
5/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Pope Benedict XVI will land in Jordan Friday afternoon and begin his week-long visit to the Holy Land. While the pope’s visit to Israel and Palestine has raised dozens of political issues around the occupation, ideological control over East Jerusalem and a low-level war for favor, in Jordan the pope’s message of peace has spoken louder than the surrounding politics. "My primary intention is to visit the places made holy by the life of Jesus, and to pray at them for the gift of peace and unity for your families," the Holy Father told people of the region in a statement preceding his visit. There is some concern in Jordan, however, over the willingness of the Pope to engage Israeli politicians during his visit to the region. Pope Benedict XVI is the first to announce his travel to the State of Israel and the Holy Land; previous pontiffs noted they would travel to the Holy Land. 

Youth protest construction of illegal outpost; settlers throw burning rags at internationals 
5/8/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers detained five Israeli citizens working as peace activists protesting the establishment of an on illegal settlement east of Hebron in the West Bank. The Israeli activists, along with a dozen international activists and Palestinians were demonstrating near the land of Issa Jaber in the Al-Buwaira area of Hebron. Protesters built small booth, mirroring a hut constructed on the land last month by Israeli settlers on Palestinian-owned land. According to the group Youth Against Settlements, the settlers are trying to impose a “de facto” situation on the land and create an illegal settler outpost on the area and effectively annex the land. According to the youth, Israeli soldiers arrived shortly after 10am, when the hut was built. The soldiers took positions around the settlers, who were pelting the protest hut with stones, heavy tools and gas-soaked rags set aflame. 

Al-Aqsa Brigades attack Israeli patrol near Silwad 
5/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Imad Mughniyya branch of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades fired at an Israeli army patrol near the West Bank village of Silwad Thursday evening, the group claimed. Locals from the north-of-Ramallah village said Israeli forces stormed the area overnight and broke into several homes without making any arrests. In a statement the brigades said members opened heavy fire on an Israeli jeep and then took cover. “Israeli forces rushed to the spot,” they said, noting that all members were already safe by the time the response came. Israeli sources confirmed the attack and said no one was injured. [end] 

Israeli forces detain two at flying checkpoint near Jenin 
5/8/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli troops detained two from the town of Jaba south of Jenin as they passed through a military checkpoint. The men, identified as 33-year-old Farhat Alawneh and 35-year-old Rabi’a Fashafsheh were detained late Thursday night as they travelled towards their homes in Nablus after work in the Jenin area. According to the parents of the men they were stopped by troops, forced to leave their car on the roadside and taken to an unknown location. [end] 

Hamas: PA security forces arrested 32 members in West Bank last week 
5/8/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Palestinian security forces arrested 32 Hamas members and affiliates over the past seven days, a statement from the party said Friday. Those detained were identified as:From Nablus:Ja’far Rayhan,NajehMadi,Belal Ramadan, 15-years-oldFrom Salfit: Mahmoud RashadFrom Qabatyia:Ziad Abed Ar-Rahmman and Majdi YasinFrom Hebron:A’dnan Shuman,Tamer A’ssaf,Khalid Azzam,Muhanad Neirukh,Qais Al- Karaki,Amin Ashour,Rami Abu Doush,Eid Abed Al-Ghani HalahlaFrom Ramallah:Basher A’bed,Murad as-Sanuri,Humam mar Al-Hadidi,Sa’id Qasrawi,Qeidar Suleiman,Maher NourFrom Qalqiliya:Abed An-Naser As’ad Ghanem,Rashad SuwanMahdi Dahmus,Useid Nassar,Amir Dahbur,Mohammad Radwan,Saleh Hasaneen. . . 

Bil’in: Eight injured as "Occupation Flu spreads" 
5/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - “Stop the Occupation flu,” chanted protesters wearing surgical masks as they marched through the streets of Bil’in towards the Israeli separation wall that cuts the village off from its land. “The Occupation flu first infected Palestinians sixty-one years ago. It has caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, injured hundreds of thousands and has put millions in prisons, including Israeli prisons but also the prisons created by the wall in the West Bank and the siege on Gaza,” protesters shouted from beside the wall. The Occupation flu, said organizers, has already killed 100 times more than the most recent flu outbreak of H1N1 or swine flu. “It is an epidemic here,” one protester said. Demonstrators called on international health and human rights institutions to intervene in order to save the Palestinian people from the “dangerous disease which is spreading in the region and is threatening the rest of the world. 

Coloring Jerusalem: Hebronites begin mural project to honor capital 
5/8/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - The Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Hebron hosted Palestinian artist Sameeh Abu Zakyeh for a workshop on art and expression entitled "coloring Jerusalem" in honor of Al-Quds Capital of Arab Culture 2009. The workshop took place at the Manafeth community center and was attended by 40 men and women who began a joint artistic project to color Jerusalem on the walls of Al-Husein Ben Ali School. The project will continue throughout the year and aims to paint all the faces of the capital on the walls of homes, mosques, churches and gates in an effort to increase people’s knowledge about the ancient city, its culture and history. [end] 

Israeli soldiers injure dozens at West Bank anti-wall protest 
5/8/2009 - Ni'lin - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers injured dozens of Palestinian protesters on Friday in the West Bank village of Ni'lin, which hosts weekly marches against the separation wall. At least five Palestinian demonstrators were treated for non-tear-gas-related wounds, while dozens suffered light injuries from gas inhalation during the protest that began shortly after noon prayers on Friday. Israeli news sources reported that one demonstrator had lost a finger during the march, although that claim could not be immediately substantiated by Ma'an. Witnesses noted hundreds of tear-gas canisters launched from several Israeli posts, including one set up near the main route leading into the village, where shells littered the road and sent droves of Palestinians and internationals fleeing through the streets. A few stun grenades also exploded within meters of a number of protesters,. . . 

Israelis fire artillery shells at open areas in eastern Gaza 
5/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel's military fired a number of artillery shells toward the eastern border with Gaza on Friday, local witnesses told Ma'an. "Israeli forces present near [the] Nahal Oz [crossing] shelled areas east of Gaza; no injuries were reported," said one source in a statement to Ma'an. Meanwhile, other forces arrived near the border and warships continued firing near the coast. Jets and flying drones were also spotted in the area. [end] 

Gaza forces prevent Fatah official from traveling to Jordan 
5/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Senior Fatah official Ibrahim Abu An-Naja told Ma’an that de facto security forces hadprevented him from leaving Gaza on Friday. He was supposed to leave to travel to Jordan to attend the meetings of the preliminary committee for Fatah's sixth conference, expected to be held on Saturday. Abu An-Naja added that "a post affiliated with the de facto security forces present at Beit Hanoun stopped me for 20 minutes" and searched his luggage, as well as asked him to answer questions from the department of Internal Security. "I called senior Hams official Ghazi Hamad, who promised to follow up the issue but never responded," he added. Abu An-Naja denounced the act, saying that “this so sad, how a Palestinian citizen could be not allowed to travel? How could we allow ourselves to allow the world to record such acts with each other? ”***Get breaking news from Palestine: Click here to follow Ma'an on Twitter. 

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.

Aljazeera

Obama renews Syria sanctions
8 May 2009 - Obama administration says "serious concerns" remains despite engagement with Damascus.

Report on Bethlehem faults Israel
7 May 2009 - UN office says just 13 per cent of West Bank city's land is available for Palestinians. 

Peres condemns UN Gaza report
6 May 2009 - Israeli president blasts report on UN Gaza attacks as "outrageous".

Israel rejects nuclear pact call
6 May 2009 - The region's only reported atomic power refuses to sign non-proliferation treaty.

US: Israel must back two-state deal
5 May 2009 - Vice-president says settlement building must stop, but commits to support for Israel.

Inter Press Service

SRI LANKA: Unions Strike Landmark Deal to Protect Migrant Workers 
COLOMBO, May 8 (IPS) - Trade unions from Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait came together with their Sri Lankan counterparts here to strike an unprecedented agreement on the welfare of migrant workers.

POLITICS: Obama Aide Puts Israel’s Nukes in the Diplomatic Mix 
LONDON, May 8 (IPS) - Last month in Prague, President Barack Obama vowed that he would seek a world without nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller spelled out that this policy would apply to Israel, as well.

MIDEAST: Palestinians Rebuild With Mud 
RAFAH, May 7 (IPS) - Jihad el-Shaar is pleased with his mud-brick house in the Moraj district of Gaza. The 80-square metre home is a basic one-storey, two-bedroom design, with a small kitchen, bathroom and sitting room, made mostly with mud and straw.

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?

Stop The Wall

Checkpoint assaults in Jenin, Qalqilya
8 May 2009 - In separate incidents last week, soldiers in isolated ghettos in Jenin and Qalqilya assaulted Palestinians passing through checkpoints. These attacks reflect a wide-spread practice of harassment, itself part of a broader strategy aimed at furthering silent transfer and cleansing particular areas of their Palestinian populations. [

PCHR Latest

(07-05-2009) Attorney General’s Office informs Israeli Supreme Court that No Investigation will be Conducted into Suspected War Crimes Committed in Gaza in 2004; During Hearing Justices Make Political Comments Unrelated to the Petition
PCHR

Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Organisations Release Joint Fact Sheet Calling for an End to International Donor Complicity in Israeli Violations of International Law
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

It takes a village
International Solidarity Movement - 7 May 2009 - Montreal's ties to illegal Israeli settlement - In April, Palestinian activist Bassam Ibrahim Abou Rahme was killed by Israeli military forces after being shot at close range by a teargas canister, becoming the 18th Palestinian to have been killed for protesting against the Israeli wall being built in Bil'in, a farming village. "Bassam was a leader from the Bil'in movement against Israeli apartheid. Everyone in the village loved Bassam, who regularly worked with Israeli activists," remembers Abdullah Abu Rahme, a Bil'in resident and activist. Local residents have held weekly demonstrations every Friday in attempts to alert the world to their cause. Rahme says Bil'in has been severely impacted by the construction of the security wall, which will annex around 50 per cent of village lands, mainly farm lands. 

Settlement expansion seeing biggest boost since 2003
International Solidarity Movement - 7 May 2009 - West Bank construction has been accelerating for several months, putting Israel on a collision course with a U. S. administration taking a hard line on settlement expansion. A new outpost, new roads, and other building projects have raced ahead in and around the settlements, often without legal permits, producing the biggest construction drive since 2003, according to Dror Etkes of the Israeli advocacy group Yesh Din. That group monitors construction in the West Bank. The construction, which has sped up even more since Benjamin Netanyahu's government took office this spring, is to be a main issues in U. S. President Barack Obama's meeting with Netanyahu at mid-month. Vice President Joe Biden called on Israel on Tuesday to stop building in the settlements and to dismantle existing illegal outposts. However, left-wing groups monitoring events in the territories say the construction has accelerated in recent months, not halted. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Obama to deliver speech to Muslim world in June
7 May 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama, who has pledged to rebuild U.S. relations with the Muslim world, will give a key speech on the issue in Egypt on June 4, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday. ...

U.S. renews sanctions against Syria
7 May 2009 - The Obama administration has renewed sanctions on Syria because of "serious concerns" over its behavior, despite sending two envoys to Damascus this week to try to improve ties, U.S. officials said on Friday. ... 

Pope expresses 'deep respect' for Islam at beginning of Mideast trip
7 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI began a delicate trip to the Middle East on Friday by expressing "deep respect" for Islam and calling for a three-way dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews to help peace. ...

'Lieberman sees us Europeans as a bunch of cowards'
7 May 2009 - An expert on German foreign policy accused Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of "seeing Europeans as a bunch of cowards" Thursday, despite Lieberman's efforts to avoid media exposure of his visit. ...

Netanyahu: Israel will never withdraw from Golan
7 May 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of Russian-language reporters Thursday that Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights. ...

The Guardian

Allow Hamas some 'ambiguity' too | Abderrahim Sabir
8 May 2009 - If Israel can be 'constructively ambiguous' ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with Obama, Hamas should be granted the same right During his preliminary trip to Washington to smooth his prime minister's first encounter with President Obama , the...

Gaza: pursuit of the laws of war | Tom Porteous
8 May 2009 - If the UN fails to further investigate crimes committed during the conflict it will ensure stalemate, and more suffering for civilians The Israeli government and its supporters have lashed out at the report of the UN...

Netanyahu's three-step solution | Simon Tisdall
7 May 2009 - The US expects Israel to participate fully with its Middle East gameplan – but Bibi's counter-offensive is already taking shape Israel is under siege. More precisely, Binyamin Netanyahu's government faces excruciating pressure on all sides as...

Bethlehem is silently strangled | Seth Freedman
7 May 2009 - The Israeli military occupation of the town just outside the bubble that is West Jerusalem is a microcosm of life across the territories As reported in today's Guardian, the military chokehold on Bethlehem is depriving the...

Ha'aretz National page

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu is beginning to look worried
7 May 2009 - This week, for the first time since he took office, Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has been looking worried. People who have spoken with him found him short-tempered, almost testy. The problems piling up on his desk are burying the sweet victory of his return to the Prime Minister's Bureau: His approaching visit with U.S. President Barack Obama is looking less and less like cause for rejoicing amid the ill winds emanating from Washington. Before that he has Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to deal with, and in between, a budget that skimps on education, welfare and health, and is cruel to children at risk, the unemployed, demobilized soldiers, widows and new mothers. ... 

2 hurt as ultralight aircraft crashes into Nes Tziona house
7 May 2009 - A man was seriously injured Friday, and another man was lightly hurt when an ultralight aircraft crashed into the backyard of a Nes Tziona home. ...

Swine flu victim flies to Israel after diagnosis 
7 May 2009 - A seventh confirmed case of swine flu infection was discovered in Israel, the Health Ministry announced on Friday, as a woman who was diagnosed with the virus during her stay in the United States flew to Israel on May 3. ...

Israeli Americans proud one of their own named ambassador to U.S.
7 May 2009 - Some call him the new Moshe Arens, others compare him to Benjamin Netanyahu - either way Michael Oren has become one of Israel's most prominent English speakers since being named the new ambassador to the United States this week. While many in the local Anglo community celebrated their fellow immigrant's success, friends and companions reminisced this week about different aspects of the eclectic scholar-turned-diplomat's personality. ... 

Tel Aviv scalpers cashing in on Depeche Mode concert 
7 May 2009 - Scalpers are charging up to NIS 800 per ticket for Sunday's Depeche Mode concert in Tel Aviv. The same tickets cost less than NIS 300 in January. ...

Relief Web

OPT: UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict holds first meeting in Geneva
8 May 2009 - Source: UN Human Rights Council

Conseil : l'Envoyé spécial pour la résolution 1559 juge l'environnement au Liban favorable au renforcement de la souveraineté et à l'indépendance politique du pays
8 May 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

US House Committee approves Iraq, Afghanistan war funding
7 May 2009 - Source: Voice of America

Endorsement of role of parliaments, inter-parliamentary organizations in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace process caps Cyprus meeting
7 May 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

Feature - Pills that are Gazans' little helpers
7 May 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

Lawmakers must engage in Palestinian question since constituents will always confront harsh realities of Middle East peoples, Cyprus meeting told
7 May 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

UNRWA emergency appeal progress report, Jan – Jun 2008
7 May 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Lebanon's political, security situation markedly improved, after being taken to 'brink of civil war and back' one year ago, Security Council told
7 May 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

YNet News

US renews sanctions on Syria
8 May 2009 - State Department says Obama has 'serious concerns about Syrian behavior, activities in world'

UN team to probe Gaza war
8 May 2009 - Human rights experts preparing to investigate alleged IDF 'war crimes' call for Israel's cooperation

Lebanon arrests three Israel 'spies'
8 May 2009 - Two brothers among detainees in alleged spy ring case, in which 16 people have been arrested so far

Fayyad calls for end to land expropriation 
8 May 2009 - Palestinian prime minister attends Friday prayer in east Jerusalem, promises residents to thwart Netanyahu government's plan to confiscate property in Abu Dis area

Minister urges pope to condemn Shoah deniers
8 May 2009 - Days before Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel, Religious Services Minister Yakov Margi sends letter asking him to unequivocally condemn anti-Semites during visit to Yad Vashem. Meanwhile, 80,000 policy, security guards prepare for visits, receive specific instructions to maintain appearance as world watches 

7th case of swine flu diagnosed in Israel
8 May 2009 - As World Health Organization urges gov'ts to stay alert for possible pandemic of H1N1 virus, warns 'third of world's population could be infected', tests show woman who returned to Israel from US had contracted flu and recovered

Caucasus, Bukharan soldiers exempt from kitchen duty
8 May 2009 - Common practice in IDF basic training: Male troops of central Asian origin granted informal exemptions from cleaning duties traditionally deemed 'women's work' that is 'beneath their honor'. Army says commanders instructed to take different sects into consideration so as 'not to offend individuals' 

Lieberman: Europeans listening to me 
8 May 2009 - Foreign minister returns from first official trip abroad filled with confidence over 'immense interest' and 'fantastic talks' on Iran. In Ynet interview, he explains new government raising questions about conventional perceptions 

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

Obama charts active role in Middle East peacemaking 
8 May 2009 - The impending arrival of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will start an unpredictable engagement by President Barack Obama in trying to shift the Middle East from a tense standoff to Arab-Israeli peacemaking. Netanyahu, due at the White House May 18, has signaled he intends to resist a key plank in Obama's program:

US renews sanctions against Syria despite thaw 
8 May 2009 - The Obama administration has renewed sanctions against Syria due to "serious concerns" over its behavior, despite sending two envoys to Damascus this week to try to improve ties, US officials said on Friday. "The president felt it was necessary," said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

Pope voices 'deep respect' for Islam at start of Holy Land tour 
8 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI underlined his "deep respect" for Islam on Friday in Jordan, on his first trip as pontiff to an Arab state, and stressed that religious freedom is a fundamental human right. Speaking after a red carpet welcome from King Abdullah II and Queen Rania at Queen Alia Airport at the start of an eight-day tour of the Holy Land.

Arab League seeks UN court ruling on Jerusalem violations 
8 May 2009 - Arab League foreign ministers said Thursday they will ask the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule on Israeli violations in Occupied Arab East Jerusalem. At the end of an extraordinary meeting at Arab League headquarters in Cairo the ministers said in a statement they decided to set up a committee of international law experts to prepare a case against Israel.

Germany urges Israel not back away from peace process 
8 May 2009 - Germany urged Avigdor Lieberman, wrapping up his first visit to Europe as Israel's foreign minister Friday, not to back away from the peace process with the Palestinians, the Foreign Ministry said. During talks with Lieberman late Thursday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza turn to drugs to escape increased trauma and hardship 
8 May 2009 - Palestinians struggling to cope with the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the trauma of war are turning to painkillers and tranquillizers at a rate that risks triggering a wave of addiction. There is also evidence of mounting recreational drug use as Gaza drifts in limbo, with no clear political future.

Palestinian Information Center

Hanna: No peace without Jerusalem
8 May 2009 - The prominent Palestinian Christian figure archimandrite Atallah Hanna has called on the Arab countries to immediately mobilize to save the occupied city of Jerusalem..

Hassanein: kidney patients in Gaza suffer due to the siege
8 May 2009 - Medical sources in the besieged Gaza Strip have warned that the number of kidney patients in Gaza was increasing rapidly as a result of the Israeli closure of the Strip's crossing points..

Barhoum: Talks on the Arab peace initiative waste of time
8 May 2009 - Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesman of Hamas Movement in Gaza Strip, has strongly deplored talks on reviving the Arab peace initiative..

Mishaal: Palestinian constants should not be compromised
8 May 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the head of Hamas's political bureau, said Thursday that no one is entitled to compromise the Palestinian national constants or negotiate them..

Arab Foreign Ministers decide to file a lawsuit against occupation
8 May 2009 - Arab Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo on Thursday decided to file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice against the Israeli occupation for its drive to Judaize Jerusalem.

Hamdan calls for withdrawing the Arab initiative
8 May 2009 - Osama Hamdan, the representative of the Hamas Movement in Lebanon, has asked the Arab countries to drop the Arab peace initiative rather than drop the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

Awad castigates Ban Ki-moon for blocking further probe of Israeli war crimes
8 May 2009 - Mohammed Awad, the secretary general of the Palestinian cabinet, has denounced the UN Secretary General for neglecting the international report that condemned Israeli war crimes in Gaza Strip.

Disabled Palestinians stage sit-in at the Rafah border crossing
8 May 2009 - The government committee against siege has called for the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and to allow entry of electric wheelchairs and other medical equipment to the disabled.

Mousa: Netanyahu's peace conditions unacceptable
8 May 2009 - Amr Mousa, the Arab League Secretary General, has lashed out at Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu's conditions for peace during an AIPAC speech, describing them as "unacceptable".

Bahar: British gov't decision against MP hostile to Palestinian people
8 May 2009 - The acting speaker of the Palestinian legislative council has described the British government's decision to ban entry of Hamas MP Dr. Younis Al-Astal into its territory as "hostile".

Los Angeles Times

Jordan first stop on pope's Holy Land visit 
8 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI is to arrive today in Amman, the Jordanian capital. His words will be carefully parsed in the region, where he is viewed with aloofness, anger and faint hope. Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Jordan today on a three-day pilgrimage to bless a tiny Catholic population and improve the Vatican's relations with a Muslim world greeting him with aloofness, anger and a slight hope that he may advance peace in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

New York Times

Pope, Hope in Hand, Arrives in Mideast
8 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI, who has made missteps that angered Jews and Muslims, arrived in Jordan on Friday to begin a regional visit. 

Pope Says He Has ‘Deep Respect’ for Muslims
8 May 2009 - Arriving in Jordan on his first trip to the Holy Land as pope, Benedict XVI on Friday expressed his desire to play a vital role in fostering peace in the Middle East. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Egypt: Uranium Traces Are Studied
6 May 2009 - The International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating traces of highly enriched uranium it found at a nuclear research site in Egypt, according to a report by the group, obtained by Reuters. 


Articles


Palestinians Rebuild With Mud 
Eva Bartlett, Inter Press Service 5/7/2009
      RAFAH, May 7 (IPS) - Jihad el-Shaar is pleased with his mud-brick house in the Moraj district of Gaza. The 80-square metre home is a basic one-storey, two-bedroom design, with a small kitchen, bathroom and sitting room, made mostly with mud and straw. 
     "My wife and our four daughters and I were living with family, but it was overcrowded, impossible. We knew we had to build a home of our own," Shaar said. "We waited over two years for cement but because of the siege there is none available. What could we do, wait forever?" 
     So he decided to do it with mud. 
     Building earthen structures like bread ovens and small animal pens is a technique many Palestinians are familiar with, but extending the method to houses isn’t a notion that has taken hold in Gaza.
     Jihad el-Shaar got the idea from his travels in Asia and the Middle East. "I travelled in Bangladesh, India, Yemen, Turkey...they all use some similar technique of building houses from earth. All you need is clay, sand and some straw." These he mixed with water, and poured into brick moulds that were left in the sun to dry for three days. Good enough to build a fine house with.
     While some Gaza residents speak of shame at the way life has ’gone backwards’ with the siege - using cooking oil in cars, wood fires for cooking, and horse and donkey carts for transportation - Shaar is proud of his clay home.

Minion of the Long War 
C. G. Estabrook, CounterPunch 5/6/2009
      “When we convince the American people that it will be a long war.” -- Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, after the 9/11/2001 attacks, answering a reporter’s question, “How will we know when we’ve won the war on terror?”
     A generation ago, when the Reagan administration came into office, they announced that their foreign policy would be "a war on terror." They rejected with scorn the Carter administration’s assertion that the theme of American foreign policy should be the promotion of human rights (a pious hope at best under Carter, who supported US client dictators in Iran, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and elsewhere).
     Seven presidential terms later, the Obama administration – with its great attention to how something is said – was perfectly willing to continue its predecessors’ policies in this regard, but they knew that the name had to be changed. After the attacks of 9/11/2001, the Bush administration had seized that old Reagan trope and proclaimed a new "War on Terror." Donald Rumsfeld – an apparatchik of the Reagan administration, including “Special Envoy to the Middle East,” while CEO to some of the most disgusting big business enterprises in the country – then Bush’s defense secretary, pointed out that the real object of the talk of a “war on terror” was the American people. He was admitting that a rationale had to be found for a long war that the American elite was determined to continue, but that the American populace opposed. The 9/11 attacks were a wonderful excuse. “Terrorism” could take the place of “Communism,” as the bete noire that would justify America’s imperialist actions around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
     Barack Obama understands perfectly well that prosecuting the war was the primary task of the role that he so avidly sought through the long presidential audition. At his "100 Days" press conference on April 29, he turned aside a question on the federal government’s responsibility for the economy by saying, "I don’t want to run auto companies. I don’t want to run banks. I’ve got two wars I’ve got to run already."


Electronic Intifada
Palestinians rebuild with mud
8 May 2009 - RAFAH, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Jihad al-Shaar is pleased with his mud-brick house in the Moraj district of Gaza. The 80-square meter home is a basic one-story, two-bedroom design, with a small kitchen, bathroom and sitting room, made mostly with mud and straw. "My wife and our four daughters and I were living with family, but it was overcrowded, impossible. We knew we had to build a home of our own," Shaar said. 

UN chief defends "watered down" Gaza report
7 May 2009 - UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - A detailed 184-page report critical of Israeli attacks on UN 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. Responding to charges he had released only a "watered down" version of the report by a four-member UN Board of Inquiry (BoI), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vehemently denied the accusation. 

Rights orgs: Donor aid shouldn't underwrite Israeli crimes
7 May 2009 - On 2 March 2009, major international donors convened in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt to collectively respond to the destruction caused by Israel's 23 day military offensive on the Gaza Strip. During the conference, a total of $4.5 billion was pledged in reconstruction funds for Gaza. In light of the extensive destruction across the Gaza Strip, especially the destruction of civilian homes and infrastructure, reconstruction is urgent. 

Villages call on Norway to divest from Africa-Israel
7 May 2009 - The West Bank Palestinian villages of Bilin 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. 

In Gaza
Denied Cement, Re-Building with Mud
7 May 2009 - RAFAH, May 7 (IPS) - Jihad el-Shaar is pleased with his mud-brick house in the Moraj district of Gaza. The 80-square metre home is a basic one-storey, two-bedroom design, with a small kitchen, bathroom and sitting room, made mostly with mud and straw. “My wife and our four daughters and I were living with family, but it was overcrowded, impossible. We knew we had to build a home of our own,” Shaar said. “We waited over two years for cement but because of the siege there is none available. What could we do, wait forever?” So he decided to do it with mud. Building earthen structures like bread ovens and...

Palestine Chronicle
Gaza 2009: The Moment of Truth
8 May 2009 - By Dr. Haidar Eid - Gaza Gaza has returned to its pre-massacre state of siege, confronted with the usual, conspiratorial, "international" indifference after 22 long days and dark nights, during which its brave people were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world -- an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of trigger-happy soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs. Gaza now does not make news. It's people die slowly, its children malnourished, its water contaminated, its nights dark, and yet it is deprived even of a word of sympathy from the likes of Ban Ki Moon and the president of "Change; Yes We Can." Israel could not have carried out its genocidal war, preceded and followed by a medieval, hermetic siege, without a green light from the international community. During the massacre, one Israeli soldier commented: "That's what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn't have to be with a weapon, you don't have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him." When apartheid Israel decided to attack the northern part of the Gaza Strip in late February, early March of 2008, we were threatened with a greater shoah (Holocaust) by the deputy minister of war, then, Matan Vilnaii. Around 164 Palestinians, including 64 children were killed. What was the reaction of the international community? Absolutely nothing. In fact, the EU decided...

No Context: Fatah, Hamas and Flawed Language
7 May 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud From a distance, the struggle between Hamas and Fatah appears commonplace, a typical third world country's political scuffle over interpretation of democracy that went out of control, or simply a 'power struggle' between two political rivals vying for international aid and recognition. In fact, the conflict may appear as if it popped out of nowhere and will continue as long as the seemingly power-hungry Palestinians carry on with their self-defeating fight. Therefore, it’s typical to read such deceptive news reports as that of Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press: “Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza's militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals.” Such sinister terminology as “Gaza’s Hamas rulers” – which happened to refer to a democratically elected government – is now in common use, in most Western news agencies, and those who readily recycle their reports. Barzak makes no mention of the Israeli factor in the decried Palestinian rivalries, and the only reference to the US in his report was that of the “U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which controls the West Bank.” Is Barzak serious? Even if we willingly overlook the fact that Palestinian rivalry has little influence on Israel’s decision to block the Gaza borders, thus subjugate its inhabitants, and purposely disregarded the US-led international campaign to isolate Gaza and its government, how can one allow such a misreading of so...

Israel's Right-Wing Wrong Politics
7 May 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem When Likud Party leader and right-wing politician Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel's new prime minister, nobody on this side of the fence broke out the bubbly. In the United States, President Barack Obama remained diplomatic, saying his country would deal with any Israeli government regardless of the formation. However, the ominous cloud hovering over the prospect of any move towards peace was unmistakable. Not only is Netanyahu the premier, his second hand man, the foreign minister, is none other than Russian-immigrant and shameless West Bank settler Avigdor Lieberman. For the Palestinians, this was a match made in hell. The winds of change seem to be blowing however, at least in the form of a tiny breeze over Capitol Hill. In the past few weeks, there have been more positive statements coming out of Washington than in the whole eight years of President George W. Bush's term in office. One cannot help but ponder the possibility that the more intransigent the Israeli government becomes vis-à-vis the Palestinians, the more pressure it feels in the opposite direction. During the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on May 5, US Vice President Joe Biden called on Israel to halt settlement construction and work towards a two-state solution with the Palestinians. "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution," Biden told AIPAC. "You're not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement." Netanyahu is...

The Last Resistance - Book Review
7 May 2009 - By Iqbal Jassat – Pretoria The Last Resistance. Jacqueline Rose. (London: Verso: 2007) A regular contributor to the London Review of Books, Jacqueline Rose has authored a compelling new book which Sarah Roy of Harvard University correctly predicts is destined to become a standard in the field of literature on Zionism. Rose, a Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London, is also known for the Channel 4 documentary “Dangerous Liaison – Israel and America”, which she wrote and presented. What makes The Last Resistance a powerful testament of contemporary Israeli politics is its ability to transcend the notorious Nazi era and position Zionism’s legacy of producing intolerable lives for another people. Being a specialist of psychoanalysis, Rose is able to combine her literary skills and intellectual grasp of many troubling questions pertaining to the creation of Israel as a state intended to save the Jewish people, to produce this masterpiece. In addition, being a compilation of essays, all written after 9/11, Rose succeeds in creating greater depth and diversity in dealing with the term Resistance. She cites Irene Nemirovsky’s SuiteFrancaise, which explores complex personal relations during the Nazi era and also how resistance changes shape and shifts allegiances. “This word”, Jacques Derrida writes, “which first resonated in my desire and imagination as the most beautiful word in the politics and history of this country […] charged with all the pathos of my nostalgia, as if what I would have wanted not to miss at any cost would have...

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