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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
9 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Arab Foreign Ministers to file a lawsuit to the ICJ against Israeli violations
9 May 2009 - Arab Foreign Ministers decided on Friday to start preparations to file a lawsuit against Israel for its violations against the Palestinians and their homes in East Jerusalem. 

Netanyahu: “We will never cede the Golan Heights”
9 May 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights as the area is considered a “strategic advantage” in case of a military conflict with Syria, Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported. 

UN Experts to visit Gaza to probe war crimes
9 May 2009 - UN experts are planning to visit Gaza in the coming period to probe claims of Israeli military war crimes committed during the offensive against the Gaza Strip in which more than 14000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, were killed and thousands were wounded. 

Israeli escalates settlement construction in the occupied West Bank
9 May 2009 - Israeli sources reported Friday that Israel recently escalated its settlement activities in Palestinian areas east of the Annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank. These activities included new outposts, and new structures in existing settlements. 

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. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

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. 

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

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

PM prays on lands to be annexed for settlement expansion; PA promises to thwart theft 
5/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad travelled to lands abutting Israel’s second largest settlement bloc in the West Bank and participated in a Friday prayer gathering as part of a collective protest against Israel’s decision to annex the land. Fayyad’s participation in the prayer service, along with Palestinian High Judge Tayseer Tamimi, put an official seal on a popular protest against the annexation of lands next to Ma’ale Adumim, the settlement east of Jerusalem which cuts Bethlehem from Ramallah, forcing Palestinians to travel kilometers out of the way via dangerous valley roads to access the north and southern parts of the West Bank. The lands Israel plans to annex belong to the Palestinian towns of Abu Dis and As-Sawahira Ash-Sharqiyya in the East Jerusalem governorate. The planned settlement expansion will include 6,000 housing units to be built. . . 

Rafah youth killed in motorcycle accident; Strip residents worried about increasing deaths 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Gazan youth was killed in a motorcycle accident in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and another was seriously injured on Saturday morning. The death is the third fatality by motorcycle accident in Rafah this week, and has raised increased concern over safety of the vehicles in the Strip. Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in Gaza Muawiya Hassanein issued a warning to motorcyclists to exercise caution when riding in the Strip. He noted that several districts have witnessed noticeable increase in the number of unlicensed motorcyclists racing in heavy traffic and pedestrian areas. The de facto government in Gaza promised after Wednesday’s accident to crack down on unlicensed motorcycle driving and has set the Ministry of Transportation on the task of ensuring vehicles are up to standard. 

Independent Palestinian figures lobby to end rivalry 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A group of independent Palestinian figures have announced their intention to break the internal “political wrath” spreading in the West Bank and Gaza based on the Fatah-Hamas rivalry. The group, many of who participated in the February Cairo talks, includes academics, businessmen, clerics and representatives of civil society organizations. They have promised to exert pressure on all political sides to place the national interest ahead of individual political concerns. Dr Abdul-Aziz Ash-Shiqaqi, who participated in Cairo dialogue, said it is essential that a Palestinian home front be strong as efforts to counter Israeli occupation ramp up. “There in no place for internal rivalry amongst Palestinians in search of a homeland” he said. Muhammad Al-Masrouji, chair of the Palestinian Businessmen Association, urged all Palestinians to encourage each other to put differences aside in favor of a state. 

Gaza: No more strawberries, no more watermelons, advises Ministry of Agriculture 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The small quantities of fertilizer available in the Gaza Strip are almost prohibitively expensive for most farmers, said a fruit and vegetable cultivator Mu’taz Al-Budi from northern Gaza. “My fields have produced less and less each year,” he said, blaming the siege for lack of supplies and the roller-coaster security situation which saw him stay away from the fields during the 2006 war and the most recent Israeli war on Gaza shortly before the new year, not to mention high and low points in the tit-for-tat airstrike and projectile launches in the intervening years. Al-Budi has ten dunnums planted with onions, eleven with potatoes, and two and a half with strawberries. “I need five tones of fertilizers and 70 tones of organic fertilizers if I’m to get a full yield,” he explained. “What I can get isn’t good,” he said. 

Europe Day Fair opens in Ramallah to celebrate friendship with Palestinians 
5/9/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – In a city-wide event, European consulates and diplomats gathered in Ramallah Saturday for the first ever Europe Day Fair that aims to explain to Palestinians the historical and humanitarian impetus within Europe that lead it to becoming the largest donor to Palestine. Hosted by members of the European Union and European Commission for Palestine, the individual exhibits of the Europe Day Fair explain the nature of EU-funded projects in Palestine. Each of the projects designed by the EU in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority (PA) has the same goal to “support the Palestinians in their efforts to build their own future. ”“The European Union grew out of the ruins of the Second World War,” explains the promotional material for the fair. “Europeans wanted to prevent such killing and destruction from ever happening again,” and started the process that would eventually lead to the formation of the modern-day European Union. 

In Jordan, pope visits mountaintop site of Moses' grave 
5/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Pope Benedict on Saturday visited the site where the Bible says the prophet Moses saw the Promised Land before dying, Mount Nebo in Jordan. "Like Moses, we too have been called by name, invited to undertake a daily exodus from sin and slavery towards life and freedom," Pope Benedict said, according to Reuters. "His example reminds us that we too are part of the ageless pilgrimage of God's people through history," he added at the sixth century Moses Memorial Church. The pope will visit a number of sites in Israel beginning on Monday, including the country's Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem and the largely Palestinian city of Nazareth, before visiting Bethlehem on 13 May. 

Egypt's Foreign Ministry denies inviting Lieberman for visit 
5/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Husam Zaki told the BBC on Saturday that Israeli claims about Egypt inviting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to visit Egypt were false. Israeli deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had said during an interview with Israel Radio that Lieberman was invited to visit Egypt, yet no specific date was set for the visit. Ayalon affirmed that Egypt and Israel had common interests, yet Lieberman’s agenda was full as he had invitations to visitMoscow, London, Washington, and Latin American countries. Israeli sources mentioned that Liberman was invited to visit Egypt last month after he held talks with director of Egyptian intelligence, Omar Sulaiman, in Israel. In the same regard, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Egypt next week in his first international visit after took office on 31 March. 

Palestinian freed from Israeli jail after six years detention 
5/9/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – After six years of imprisonment by Israeli forces Yousif Al-Qatanani from the old Askar refugee camp east of Nablus was released on Saturday. Al-Qatanani was taken from his home on 20 December 2002. [end] 

Israeli forces declare closed military zone near Beit Umar 
5/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli forces declared the area around the Bat Ayn settlement near Safa village a closed military zone and prevented a dozen farmers from Beit Umar from accessing their lands. International Solidarity Activists accompanying the farmers reported the closure, which was announced only ten minutes after the group arrived in the area to harvest their crops. According to the activists four jeeps of Israeli border police entered the area and forced the farmers to leave. As they left the area settler children were heard yelling “death to Arabs” from the nearby colony. [end] 

Islamic bloc boycotts student council elections at Jenin University 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The student council party representing the Islamic bloc announced that it would be boycotting student council elections at the Arab American University in the West Bank city of Jenin, set to take place Tuesday. The bloc explained in a Saturday statement that the reason behind its decision was a recent increase in persecution suffered by bloc leaders and members at the hands of the Palestinian Authority security. The bloc demanded the PA “stop the security chases” targeting its affiliates and to restore the right to free political expression. “Decent and honest elections must be held,” the statement said. ***Get breaking news from Palestine: Click to follow Ma’an on Twitter. 

DFLP welcomes pope’s visit to Palestine 
5/9/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – The coming visit of the pope to Palestine during this particular period will be of “great spiritual and political significance” to people around the globe, announced the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) on Saturday. Member of the party’s central committee Nehad Abu Ghush said the “pope’s visit to Palestine will remind the whole world of the suffering of the Palestinians due to the Israeli occupation and their need for peace, freedom and independence like all other citizens around the world. ”He expressed hope that the pope will mark the many Israeli violations of human rights in Palestine, of the attacks on civilians and the concrete separation wall as he visits the Ayda Refugee Camp on his way to the Nativity Church in Bethlehem Wednesday. “We hope he notes the attacks on Christian and Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem when he visits. . . 

After nine years in exile, Nativity Church deportees call for return 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – One of the 2002 Nativity Church deportees is calling on Palestinian and international officials to intervene and allow him to return to the West Bank, according to statements made on Saturday. The Palestinian, Hatem Ihmud, told Ma'an that his father died while he was away, "and I could not see him or receive people in my family home" in the West Bank. In April 2002, during an Israeli operation in Bethlehem, a large group of "wanted" Palestinians took refuge in the Church of the Nativity, and after the army surrounded the site, the siege became the focus of international attention. After negotiations and international mediation, 26 Palestinians were deported to the Gaza Strip, while 13 of them, considered the more dangerous suspects, were sent to a number of European countries. Ihmud told Ma'an that the Palestinian Authority, International Quartet and. . . 

Dozens of Israeli settlers invade Nablus-area village 
5/9/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Dozens of Israeli settlers invaded the village of A’seera Al-Qeblieyah in the southern West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday, witnesses said. No clashes between the illegal settlers and West Bank Palestinians were reported. Husni Ash-Sharif, head of the local village council, told Ma’an that "more than fifty armed settlers invaded the village from its southern entrance without any clashes or confrontations with the residents of the village. " He added that they "contacted the Palestinian coordination office, who called the Israeli side and sent military jeeps to the village and the settlers were evacuated. "[end] 

Six Gaza patients return from Egypt through Rafah 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Six Palestinians injured in the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip returned after receiving treatment in Egypt on Saturday, the local Health Ministry said. Mu'wieyah Hassanein, the head of Emergency and Ambulance Services within the Health Ministry, told Ma'an that they returned through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. A total of 16 patients and injured Palestinians returned from Egyptian hospitals on Friday through the Rafah crossing after completing their treatment there, he added. [end] 

De facto government considering truce with Israel 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A spokesperson for the de facto government in the Gaza Strip told Ma'an on Saturday that the Hamas-run administration is "closely following efforts made by Egypt in more than one aspect. " The spokesperson, Taher An-Nunu, said that the national dialogue issues are being discussed, as well as considerations on establishing a truce with Israel, "to achieve security and stability in the region. " He added in a statement that the de facto government "expresses its appreciation for the Egyptian efforts. "He also affirmed that "ending the occupation and lifting the siege is the key to achieving stability and reaching a just peace in the region, that will restore to the Palestinians their legitimate rights. " An-Nunu concluded by insisting that his government "will restore the national consensus in case a truce is reached with the [Israeli] occupation, if factions decide to move in that direction. 

Islamic Jihad: PA tortured affiliated member 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Islamic Jihad movement said on Saturday it is holding the Palestinian Authority fully responsibility for the life of A’mer Abu Khalil, one of its affiliates, who “was harshly tortured by PA security forces. ”The movement urged in a statement the national factions to "take all means of pressure to stop attacking resistance under any pretext whatsoever," as "attacking the resistance will serve the [Israeli] occupation's interests and its policies. " Islamic Jihad reiterated its denunciation of arrests that target the resistance, warning of its consequences on ongoing conciliation efforts, as “it deepens the rift and deepens the division among Palestinians. ”

Gaza journalist wins Al-Awda award for feature writing 
5/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Marwa Al-Hasanat, a journalist from Gaza and anchor at the local Fursan Al-Irada (Knights of Will) radio station, won an award for her 2009 feature entitled, "An-Nakba in Bedouin eyes. " Al-Hasanat, along with others, were honored in a number of fields offered by Badil, the Palestinian Center for Refugee and Residence Rights, a group that is itself affiliated with the Palestinian Coalition for the Right of Return. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza City hosted an awards ceremony on Saturday, which was attended by national figures and many local residents, and was held simultaneously with another celebration in the West Bank city of Ramallah to honor winners from Palestine and abroad. The award was delivered for the third consecutive year to encourage journalists, writers and artists "to have their say on the Nakba," the Arabic word for "catastrophe". . . 

The National

Obama to give address in Cairo
9 May 2009 - The US president will honour a longstanding promise and address the Muslim world from Egypt next month.

Settlement expansion accelerates' 
9 May 2009 - A human rights group says existing West Bank colonies are being expanded, while several new ones have sprung up.

Hamas and Fatah are poles apart
9 May 2009 - Efforts to form a unified Palestinian government look set to collapse this week, with apparently irreconcilable differences still separating Hamas from Fatah.

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.

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.

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

Protests for the Ma’sara prisoners
9 May 2009 - Nearly 20 people were injured in protests against the Wall this Friday, several of which were held in solidarity for the five activists who were arrested in al-Ma’sara last week. In addition to a large demonstration in the Bethlehem area, the demonstrations in Ni’lin and Bil’in also called for their release. The people of Bi’lin themed the weekly action around “Occupation Flu”, and a demonstration was also held in Jayyus. [

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

Al-Ma'asara village continues demonstrations despite increased army repression
International Solidarity Movement - On the 8th of May, 2009, residents of the southern West Bank village of  Al-Ma'asara conducted their weekly demonstration against Israel's annexation barrier, despite increased repression from Israeli forces.   At last week's demonstration, five nonviolent Palestinian organizers were arrested, and they continue to be held in an Israeli prison.   This Friday, Israeli soldiers created at least three flying checkpoints on the roads leading to the village in an attempt to stop participants from reaching the demonstration.   Soldiers turned back all Palestinian cars and only allowed settler vehicles to pass.   Five military jeeps and two police cars were also stationed at the entrance to Al-Ma'asara, much further into the village than during past Friday demonstrations.   Israeli and international solidarity activists who were able to reach the village by going around the checkpoints were showed papers that declared the entire village a closed military zone. 

Israel bans Palestinians from hosting pope next to West Bank fence
International Solidarity Movement - 7 May 2009 A Palestinian official says the Palestinian Authority has scrapped plans to host Pope Benedict XVI next week on a stage near the West Bank separation fence. Palestinian say they had hoped that receiving the pope next to a towering cement wall and military watchtower inside the Aida refugee camp would highlight their suffering under Israeli occupation. But Palestinian lawmaker Essa Qaraqie said Thursday that the location had been changed to a United Nations school after Israeli military officials forbade them to erect the stage near the barrier. The pope's convoy will, however, still pass close to the barrier. The pontiff's visit to the region will include trips to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. In Israel, he will hold mass in Nazareth and Jerusalem, as well as visiting the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. 

Fayyad calls for end to land expropriation
International Solidarity Movement - 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. Battle over east Jerusalem lands heating up: Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Friday took part in a prayer held on disputed lands in the Abu Dis area, where protest tents have been set up following the Israeli demand to expropriate lands. Fayyad participated in the prayer held by Kadi Taysir Tamami, head of the Palestinian Authority's Sharia courts, near Area E1, which is the focus of a dispute between the Palestinians and Israel, which seeks to build the community of Keidar and connect between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim. Hundreds of Jerusalem residents attended the prayer. The Palestinian prime minister stated that "the PA will not agree to all the Israeli plans", and promised that they would not succeed. 

Bil'in demonstrators call on international health institutions to "Stop the Occupation Flu"
International Solidarity Movement - 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. 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 carried banners that read, "Stop the Occupation Flu" and called on international health and human rights institutions to intervene in order to save the Palestinian people from this dangerous disease which is spreading in the region and is threatening the rest of the world. Protestors also carried Palestinian flags and photos of the martyr Bassem Abu Rahmah, Bil'in's most recent victim of the "Occupation Flu", who was killed by the Israeli army three weeks ago. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Obama renews U.S. sanctions on Syria
8 May 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday he had renewed sanctions against Syria because it posed a continuing threat to U.S. interests. ...

Pope: Catholic Church and Jewish people united by 'inseparable bond'
8 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday that his visit to the Middle East was a reminder of the inseparable bond between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, a relationship that has been strained at times under his leadership. ...

Netanyahu may meet Jordan's king next week
8 May 2009 - Israel and Jordan are concentrating efforts on arranging a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II as early as next week, before Netanyahu departs for Washington. ...

Hamas: We won't accept two-state solution 
8 May 2009 - The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas will not accept a two-state solution as a means to end the conflict with Israel, the movement's Damascus-based politburo chief Khaled Meshal said Saturday. ...

'It's okay to kill Jews,' says suspected killer's journal
8 May 2009 - Connecticut man Stephen Morgan, suspected of killing a Jewish student at Wesleyan University, allegedly wrote in his journal that it is "okay to kill Jews," it emerged Saturday. ...

The Guardian

She's Israeli, he's an Arab. War has made them like mother and son
9 May 2009 - An unlikely pair of peace campaigners brought their message to Britain last week. Sarfraz Manzoor discovers how the deaths of loved ones brought them together It is a friendship as remarkable as it is unlikely: Robi...

Peace in our time for the Middle East? | Ben White
9 May 2009 - There is growing speculation about a revamped peace plan for the Middle East. But what will it contain – or achieve? Recently, and in the last week in particular, there has been a flurry of speculation...

The Pope must have a message for the Middle East | Tariq Ramadan
9 May 2009 - Benedict XVI's visit to the Middle East may be a 'pilgrimage', but it is also a political opportunity In order to avoid controversies, official voices from the Vatican have been trying to explain that the pope's...

The paradox of Israel's pursuit of might | Max Hastings
9 May 2009 - Forty years ago, I was enraptured by Israel's courageous sense of mission. For me today, as for many, that idealism has palled I first visited Israel in 1969. It was a time when much of the...

Ha'aretz National page

Michael Fox, cofounder of Israel's largest law firm, dies at 75
9 May 2009 - Michael Fox, the cofounder of Israel's largest law firm, died on Saturday in a Jerusalem hospital, after a decade-long struggle with cancer. He was 75. ...

19 hurt, 1 seriously, during altercation in southern town of Rahat
8 May 2009 - Nineteen people were wounded, 1 seriously, during an altercation that broke out on Saturday in the Negev town of Rahat. ...

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. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Hamas to rebuild Gaza homes with mud bricks
9 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

UN Security Council fails to discuss Gaza investigation
9 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

World Bank Global Food Crisis Response Program project status 30 Apr 2009
8 May 2009 - Source: World Bank

18th EU-Japan Summit joint press statement
8 May 2009 - Source: European Union, Government of Japan

European Parliament resolution of 7 May 2009 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2008 and the European Union's policy on the matter
8 May 2009 - Source: European Union

OPT: The Governments of India, Brazil & South Africa (IBSA), through UNDP, fund the construction of a multipurpose sports centre in Ramallah
8 May 2009 - Source: UN Development Programme

Committee against Torture hears response of Israel
8 May 2009 - Source: UN Committee against Torture

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

YNet News

Labor 'rebels' slam Barak's 'dictatorial conduct' 
9 May 2009 - Four Labor members to boycott party convention, say Barak uses party to boost own status

Bibi-Abdullah meeting in works
9 May 2009 - Prime Minister Netanyahu may meet with Jordan's King Abdullah after scheduled meeting with Egypt's Mubarak; in talk with Ynet, senior source confirms 'intention to hold such meeting before PM's trip to White House' 

Mashaal warns Abbas not to form new government 
9 May 2009 - Hamas leader warns Abbas against unilateral steps, as contacts with Fatah continue to falter 

Hizbullah: UN provides cover for Israeli crimes
9 May 2009 - Hizbullah slams statements by senior UN envoy who criticized group's actions beyond Lebanon

Obama to reach out to Muslims in Egypt speech 
9 May 2009 - Event to fulfill Obama campaign promise to speak to Muslims from Muslim city, but some take issue with choice of Egypt; Amnesty Int'l says content of speech more important than location, stresses focus should be on Israeli-Palestinian issue, human rights violations in region

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

Erdogan calls for opening Gaza crossings to start rebuilding efforts
9 May 2009 - Turkish premier Recep Erdogan called for opening Gaza crossings in order to rebuild what was destroyed by the last Israeli war and in order for patients to receive medical treatment abroad.

Khudari calls on Pope Benedict XVI to visit Gaza
9 May 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular anti siege committee, has called on Pope Benedict XVI to visit the Gaza Strip during his current tour of the region to witness the people's suffering.

Qassam: Grad missiles qualitative leap in resistance's deterrence capability
9 May 2009 - The Qassam Brigades on Saturday asserted that its acquisition of Grad missiles had led to an important qualitative leap in the resistance's ability to deter the "Zionist enemy".

Hamas: Dhameeri’s remarks aimed to justify the Israeli bombing of mosques
9 May 2009 - Hamas deplored Adnan Al-Dhameeri for alleging that the security apparatuses in the West Bank found explosives stashed inside a mosque, saying that such remarks justify the Israeli bombing of mosques.

European campaign: The "Hope" convoy led by senator Rossi is to arrive soon
9 May 2009 - The European campaign to end the siege said that the "Hope" convoy is led by Fernando Rossi, a member of the Italian senate, and is expected to arrive during the next few days.

IOF troops wound 12 Palestinians, round up foreign activists
9 May 2009 - IOF troops assaulted peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian and foreign activists in villages near Ramallah and Bethlehem to protest confiscation of Palestinian land.

UN experts plan to probe war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza
9 May 2009 - UN human rights experts announced their intention to make field visits soon in the post-war Gaza Strip to investigate reported war crimes committed by IOF troops against civilians there.

OCHA: IOA plans the construction of 30,000 housing units in O. Jerusalem, WB
9 May 2009 - The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has revealed that the Israeli occupation authority was planning the construction of a new settlement south of occupied Jerusalem.

Nazzal: We won't accept the quartet’s terms even if this will end the rift
9 May 2009 - Mohamed Nazzal said that his Movement would never agree to recognize Israel and the international quartet’s terms even if such conditions were the only way for the reconciliation.

Masri: Formation of new gov't in WB death declaration for national dialog
9 May 2009 - MP Mushir Al-Masri has said that the announcement in the West Bank on the formation of a new PA government under Salam Fayyad would serve as a death declaration of the national dialog in Cairo.

Los Angeles Times

Pope Benedict arrives in Jordan 
8 May 2009 - Benedict, after being greeted by King Abdullah, says his three-day visit will give him a chance to 'speak of my deep respect for the Muslim community' and call for religious freedom. Pope Benedict XVI arrived 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. 

Pope arrives in Jordan 
9 May 2009 - Beginning his Middle East tour, Pope Benedict is given a red-carpet welcome in Amman, where he is greeted by King Abdullah. He says he has a 'deep respect for the Muslim community.' Pope Benedict XVI, arriving Friday in Amman on the first leg of a Middle East pilgrimage, expressed a "deep respect for the Muslim community" to King Abdullah II, who greeted him at the airport. 

Science Briefing 
9 May 2009 - Mild sunspot season is expected / Congo volcanoes may erupt soon / Ancient garrison found in Egypt / Madagascar frog protection hangs in balance / Suicide linked to long summer days It's sunspot season 

New York Times

Parks Fortify Israel’s Claim to Jerusalem
9 May 2009 - A $100 million effort to develop parks and gardens outside the Old City of Jerusalem may strengthen Israeli claims to the land. 

In Jordan, Pope Deplores ‘Ideological Manipulation’
9 May 2009 - Benedict XVI visited a mosque, where he called for Christian-Muslim understanding, and Mount Nebo, where the Bible says Moses saw the Promised Land. 

Reporter’s Hearing in Iran Is Moved to Earlier Date
9 May 2009 - The earlier date for Roxana Saberi’s appeals court hearing could complicate her defense by giving her second lawyer less time to review the case. 


Articles


Gaza: Pursuit of the Laws of War 
Tom Porteous, Common Dreams 5/9/2009
      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 board of inquiry into Israeli attacks on UN installations during Israel’s latest offensive in Gaza. The report, they say, is biased, tendentious and inaccurate. According to Robbie Sabel, writing in Comment is Free, the "unbalanced report" does "little to bring understanding or justice to the conflict in Gaza".
     The full report has not been published, but there’s little in the summary that UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon sent to the security council on Tuesday to support such claims. On the contrary, it provides careful but compelling evidence that Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) violated the laws of war during their military operations around UN installations in Gaza.
     According to the summary, the board of inquiry concluded that "IDF actions involved varying degrees of negligence and recklessness with regard to United Nations premises and the safety of United Nations staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries and extensive physical damage and loss of property". The board also holds "Hamas or another Palestinian actor" responsible for one attack on a UN installation - a World Food Progamme warehouse hit by a Qassam rocket.

Who Will Stop the AIPAC Jews Before it is Too Late? 
Medea Benjamin, Common Dreams 5/9/2009
      While I was being tackled by security guards at Washington’s Convention Center during the AIPAC conference for unfurling a banner that asked "What about Gaza?," my heart was aching. I wasn’t bothered so much by the burly guards who were yanking my arms behind by back and dragging me-along with 5 other CODEPINK members-out of the hall. They were doing their job.
     What made my heart ache was the hatred I felt from the AIPAC staff who tore up the banner and slammed their hands across my mouth as I tried to yell out: "What about Gaza? What about the children?"
     "Shut the f--- up. Shut the f--- up." one staffer yelled, red-faced and sweating as he ran beside me. "This is not the place to be saying that shit. Get the f--- out of here."
     What makes my heart ache is thinking about the traumatized children I met on my recent trip to Gaza, and how their suffering is denied by the 6,000 AIPAC conventioneers who are living in a bubble-a bubble where Israel is the victim and all critics are anti-Semitic, terrorist lovers or, as in my case, self-hating Jews.
     I found it fascinating that AIPAC’s executive director Howard Kohr opened the conference admitting that there was now a huge, international campaign against the policies of Israel. He painted a picture of 30,000 people marching in Spain, Italian trade unionists calling for a boycott of Israeli products, the UN Human Rights Council passing 26 resolutions condemning Israel, an Israeli Apartheid Week that is building a global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.


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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