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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
10 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Jerusalem governor: “Palestinians facing ethnic cleansing in cleansing in Jerusalem”
10 May 2009 - Jerusalem governor at the Palestinian Authority, Adnan Al Hesseini, stated Saturday that Jerusalem and its Palestinian natives are subjected to ethnic cleansing and blatant racism as they are facing expulsion as Israel is demolishing their homes, and replacing them with settlers. 

Popular Committee Against the Siege calls on the Pope to visit Gaza
10 May 2009 - The Popular Committee Against the Siege demanded Pope Benedict XVI to visit the Gaza strip during his tour in the region in order to observe the destruction and devastation inflicted during the Israeli offensive, and to observe the suffering of the residents. 

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. 

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

Israelis close land to Palestinian farmers near illegal settlement 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Around a dozen farmers from the village of Beit Ummar with lands in Safa close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Bet Ayin were denied access to their fields on Saturday after Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone. The farmers were accompanied by eight international solidarity activists and five Israeli human rights activists. After less than ten minutes of being in the fields, farmers were ordered off their lands by Israeli soldiers and border police in four jeeps. Israeli forces showed the villagers a closed military zone order and demanded they leave the area. As the farmers were leaving, dozens of Israeli settler children screamed, “death to all Arabs” in unison from the top of the hill where Bet Ayin settlement is located. Over the past month, Israeli forces have continuously declared the agricultural lands close to the settlement closed military zones. 

Gaza convoy joined by 12 European parliamentarians 
5/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Twelve European parliamentarians have joined the “Hope” aid convoy to Gaza, which leftthe Italian port of Genoa last Sunday, said Hamdi Sha’ath, who heads the Palestinian governmental committee in charge of hosting delegations, on Saturday. Sha’ath said in a statement released by the committee’s information office that the convoy would include 120 foreign solidarity activists headed by member of Italian Senate Fernando Rossi. Parliamentarians from Britain, Italy, Greece, Scotland, and Switzerland have also joined the aid convoy, which is expected to arrive at Alexandria port in Egypt by mid-May, before heading to Gaza by land. According to Sha’ath, the convoy includes 15 ambulances, 12 vehicles for people with special needs, and 13 other vehicles. The convoy will also bring 50 copies of special computer software to help the blind, as well as electric wheelchairs. 

What's happening at Kerem Shalom? 
5/10/2009 - GAZA CITY, 10 May 2009 (IRIN) - Kerem Shalom is currently the only entry point for commercial and humanitarian goods from Israel into Gaza, and as such has become a life-line, but how does it work? A small crossing without the facilities to allow large numbers of trucks to enter, Kerem Shalom lies inside Israel, 3km from the Gazan town of Rafah on the Egyptian border. The only people authorised by Israel to physically access Kerem Shalom are employees of Shaiber Company, a private Gaza company with permission from Israel to access Kerem Shalom to retrieve imports. The company declined to comment. The Gaza authorities cannot access Kerem Shalom. Israeli truck drivers dump pallets of goods in an open area and withdraw, and then Palestinian truck drivers from Gaza enter and retrieve the goods, according to senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad and Gaza traders. 

Israeli police seize 60 Palestinians attempting to enter Israel 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - At least 60 Palestinians were arrested on Saturday near the southern Israeli town of Ein Gedi en route to Tel Aviv to find work, according to Israeli news reports. The Palestinians were inside a vehicle container, which was searched by an Israeli Agriculture Ministry unit on Highway 60, near Ein Gedi, the Israeli news agency Ynet reported on Sunday morning. The Palestinians were subsequently handed over to Israeli police for questioning. [end] 

PA: Explosives discovered at Qalqiliya homes and mosques 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Quantities of homemade explosives were found in homes and mosques in Qalqiliya, a city in the northern West Bank, on Saturday, according to Palestinian Authority security services spokesperson Adnan Dmeiri. Dmeiri said at a news conference held at the PA Information Ministry on Sunday that the explosives were primitive, which increases the danger to residents, as "they could explode at any moment, endangering citizens. " He also insisted that the Palestinian Authority will not allow manufacturing and storing of explosives in residential neighborhoods, whatever the justification, because it endangers residents’ lives. Dmeiri did not name any particular faction thought to be responsible for storing the explosives, however, he highlighted that statements were found near the explosives bearing the signature of Hamas’ militant wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. 

Israeli soldiers seize Palestinian boy near Bethlehem 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A 15-year-old Palestinian boy from Bethlehem was arrested by Israeli forces south of Jerusalem on Sunday. According to Israeli news reports, the boy was carrying a knife and confessed that he was planning "a stabbing attack. " [end] 

Israeli forces detain Hebron woman for ‘carrying knife’ 
5/10/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it detained a young Palestinian woman in possession of a knife near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron. Palestinian sources identified the woman as Wuroud Jawad Abu Sneineh, who was attempting to cross one of the Israeli military checkpoints in the area en route to her house in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood. She is being held at an unknown location. Israeli forces frequently arrest young women near the Mosque on the grounds that they are carrying knives. [end] 

Israel plans to consolidate hold on Jerusalem with parks 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli government has a secret plan to surround the Old City of Jerusalem with parks, tourist attractions and hiking trails in a bid to consolidate its occupation of area, which it occupied in 1967, an Israeli NGO has revealed. The organization Ir Amim (“City of Nations”), dedicated to promoting coexistence in Jerusalem, released a report on the plan on Sunday, on the eve of the pope’s visit to the city. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the plan which was hatched in 2008 by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office and the mayor of Jerusalem, has been a secret until now and was not subject to any form of public scrutiny. Ir Amim says the plan “integrates with statutory program 11555, approved by the Jerusalem Municipality in November 2007, designed to accelerate development in one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel. 

Gaza projectile lands in Israel 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A homemade projectile allegedly fired from Gaza landed in an open area in Israel’s Negev Desert on Sunday evening, according to news reports. No injuries or damage resulted. There has been no claim of responsibility yet from any Palestinian armed group. Since the end of Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip in January, the military has responded with airstrikes to each individual projectile and mortar fired from Gaza. After a lull in violence in April, Palestinian fighters and Israeli forces exchanged fire in several incidents last week. 

Netanyahu to visit Egypt's Sharm Ash-Sheikh on Monday 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to head to Sharm Ash-Sheikh on Monday where he will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This will be Netanyahu’s first international visit since he formed his new government. Israeli Minister of Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, and the head of Israel’s National Security Council, Uzi Arad, will join Netanyahu in his visit with Mubarak. Netanyahu will meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday evening before he goes to Sharm, and the latter will update him on the results of his visit to the US. Both will prepare to receive Pope Benedict XVI, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday. The Israeli daily newspaper Maariv reported that Netanyahu’s bureau was exerting efforts to arrange a meeting between Netanyahu and Jordanian King Abdullah II, hoping the meeting will be held by this weekend, prior to Netanyahu’s visit to Washington. 

In Bethlehem, preparations are underway for hosting pope 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Bethlehem, the city of the Nativity in the southern West Bank, has been preparing to host Pope Benedict XVI, who is scheduled to visit on Monday, 13 May after he visits Israel. The city is being prepared in all aspects for the historic visit. Streets are being refurbished; welcome posters are being hung on the main road to the Nativity Church where the pope’s convoy is expected to pass. Furthermore, preparations are ongoing at Ayda refugee camp in the northern part of Bethlehem, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will host the pope, along with the camp’s residents at a public hall, since Israel banned the construction of a platform near the separation wall, which snakes around the camp. The pope was in Jordan on Sunday. He is scheduled to visit the place believed to be where Jesus Christ was baptized along the eastern bank of the Jordan River. 

Embassy: 500 Gaza patients to be treated in Egypt 
5/10/2009 - Cairo – Ma’an – The Palestinian Embassy in Egypt says it is working to allow 500 Palestinians to leave Gaza to receive medical treatment in Egypt over the next few days. A medical consultant at the embassy, Hussam Tuqan, explained that on 16 and 17 May this number is expected to enter Egypt, noting that the patients received permits from the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. He added that the embassy staff is following up to ensure that the Rafah border crossing is opened to allow the patients into Egypt. Ambassador Nabil Amr Deputy Ambassador Barakat Al-Farra, Minister of Health Fathi Abu Moghli are working with the Egyptian Ministry of Health on the project. Most of the patients will go to hospitals specializing in certain areas, including Ar-Ramad Eye Institute, Al-Ahli Bank Hospital, specialized in neural surgery, the Egypt Red Crescent hospital specialized in bone surgery, and As-Salam hospital for cancer, among others. 

Hamas: PA security forces arrested eight affiliates 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Hamas movement claimed on Sunday that Palestinian Authority security services arrested eight Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Saturday. Hamas identified the arrestees in a statement as Alaa Rajab from the town of Anabta, east of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, Mahdi Mabrouk from Tulkarem, Sheikh Isam Rummana, imam of Birzeit Mosque in Birzeit, near Ramallah in the central West Bank, and Abdul-Aziz Rantisi, a student at Birzeit University. The statement added that in Jenin, in the northern West Bank, PA security arrested Sheikh Khalil Al-Hajj from the village of Jalqamus, Firas Abu Shadouf from Burqin, Husam Ma’tuq from Marda, near Salfit, and Diya As-Sa’id from Hebron in the southern West Bank. 

Fatah official says conference attendees will number 1,550 
5/10/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – The preparatory committee for Fatah's sixth conference has completed preparations and decided eligible participants would number some 1,550, said Ahmad Ghneim, who is a member of Fatah’s Central Committee. Ghneim asserted in a statement that the conference would be held in an Arab country that he did not name. He also said that the committee would continue with its duties until the conference is held, which he said would be as soon as possible. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the general commander of the Fatah movement, was expected to announce within the coming few hours when and where Fatah’s sixth conference will be held. He is also expected to note the number of eligible members to attend the conference, according to Haytham Al-Halabi, secretary of the Fatah movement in Nablus in the northern West Bank. 

Police launch security campaign in Tubas 
5/10/2009 - Tubas – Ma’an – Palestinian police launched a security campaign in Tubas district villages in the northern West Bank began on Sunday. Deputy Director of Tubas district police Khalid Azzam asserts the security campaign means police and security services are intenton keeping order and pursuing fugitives. Police appealed to residents to cooperate with security services and contact them either by dialing 100, or visiting their website in order to enhance police efforts to achieve stability and security. [end] 

Birzeit police seize marijuana seedlings near Ramallah 
5/10/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian police in the central West Bank town of Birzeit seized marijuana seedlings late on Saturday planted near the main crossroads of Turmmus’ayya village, east of Ramallah. Director of the public relations and media office in Ramallah police department Major Farid Al-Ladawdeh explained that the Birzeit center received a phone call from people close to the police, through which they were told that there were seedlings in the area. A police force headed to the place and found them, he said. Al-Ladawdeh added that residents of the village expressed their distress regarding such practices and confirmed that they saw the seedlings and thought they were normal plants. Meawhile, Palestinian Authority police confiscated 1,159 poppy plants and seeds growing in the gardens of nine residents of a village south of Nablus on Saturday, said the deputy head of the police department, Ahmad Abu Ar-Rub. 

Gaza's new interior minister issues first orders 
5/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas’ newly appointed Minister of Interior and National Security in Gaza Fathi Hammad began issuing orders to improve the security forces on Sunday. Hammad was appointed in April to replace Said Siyam, who was assassinated by Israel during the military offensive on Gaza in January. Siyam was the most prominent Hamas leader to be killed during the three-week campaign. Hammad’s directives on Sunday included an order to treat civilians with dignity at checkpoints, in the streets, and even when entering their houses. He also cautioned security personnel not to drive at high speeds in the streets. In addition he ordered his officers to respond positively to requests from journalists, giving the information needed. Since taking full control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Hamas has consolidated its hold on the territory, appointing a complete cabinet and. . . 

Police: Nablus women grew opium for years without knowing it 
5/10/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority police confiscated 1,159 poppy plants and seeds growing in the gardens of nine residents of a village south of Nablus on Saturday, said the deputy head of the police department, Ahmad Abu Ar-Rub. Abu Ar-Rub said in a news conference in Nablus that “the PA police department released those allegedly accused after finding that they did not have any relationship with planting drug crops. " He said the cultivation "was done by women who spontaneously passed over planting them between each other for many years because this kind of plant has beautiful flowers. " Head of the anti-drug department in Nablus Jamal Al-Hihi said that “this kind of drug is planted often, and mostly in Afghanistan, Columbia and Lebanon. ""Planting a dunum of it will produce one kilogram and a half of drugs; the price of the kilogram is 30,000 US dollars. 

Israeli truck driver carjacked near Hebron-area checkpoint 
5/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Four masked Palestinian men carjacked an Israeli truck driver transporting poultry to Jerusalem on Sunday, according to Israeli news reports. The driver was reportedly overpowered around the Yatir checkpoint near the Green Line and the southern West Bank city of Hebron, before the carjackers fled with the truck. The driver was unharmed, according to the Israeli news agency Ynet, which reported that police are investigating the incident. [end] 

The National

Obama to give address in Cairo
10 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

Iran court hears US reporter appeal
10 May 2009 - Appeal hearing brought forward for US-Iranian journalist sentenced for spying.

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.

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

Israel prepares red carpet welcome for Pope Benedict XVI
9 May 2009 - Israel is planning the visit by Pope Benedict XVI down to the last detail, even holding dress rehearsal Sunday to prepare for the pontiff's arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday. ... 

Israel has secret plan to thwart division of Jerusalem
9 May 2009 - The government and settler organizations are working to surround the Old City of Jerusalem with nine national parks, pathways and sites, drastically altering the status quo in the city. The secret plan was assigned to the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA). ... 

U.S. puts October deadline on Iran talks 
9 May 2009 - The United States has set October as its target for completing the first round of talks with Iran on its nuclear program, according to confidential reports sent to Jerusalem. ... 

Netanyahu to urge Egypt, Jordan to help counteract Iran
9 May 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will tell Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II at meetings this week that they need to work with Israel to counteract the Iranian nuclear threat. ... 

Muslim Brotherhood: Obama's Egypt trip 'useless'
9 May 2009 - Egypt's most powerful opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, on Saturday called President Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Egypt useless unless the U.S. shows dramatic change in its policies toward Arab and Islamic countries. ...

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

Facebook founder's roommate recounts creation of Internet giant
9 May 2009 - Five years ago, hardly anybody had heard of Facebook. Today, it seems that there is nobody in Israel or the world over who is not familiar with the social networking Web site, which recently crossed the 200 million user threshold. Facebook is estimated to be worth $15 billion after Microsoft bought 1.6 percent stock in the company for $240 million. ...

Mother, grandfather on trial for murder of 4-year-old Rose Pizem 
9 May 2009 - The trial of the mother and grandfather alleged to have killed four-year-old Rose Pizem last year commenced Sunday morning at the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court. ...

Fifth Israeli set to conquer Everest within days
9 May 2009 - Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Daniel Keren will in the coming days become the fifth Israeli to conquer Everest, the highest mountain in the world. ...

Barak: Defense budget cuts will harm Israel's security
9 May 2009 - Disagreements over steep budget cuts proposed by the treasury are posing the first potential crisis for the new government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ...

Full house expected for Depeche Mode concert Sunday
9 May 2009 - A concert by veteran British pop group Depeche Mode is expected to draw 50,000 people to the Ramat Gan stadium Sunday night. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Prince Mash'al gives go-ahead to largest OIC aid convoy to Gaza
10 May 2009 - Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference

OPT: Hamas political chief rejects two-state solution
9 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

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

YNet News

Al-Jazeera presents 'evidence' of spies in Lebanon
10 May 2009 - Broacast shows satellite equipment belonging to three recently-arrested suspects and allegedly used for communicating with Israeli intelligence

Ahmadinejad's rivals: 12-year-old, Saddam lookalike 
10 May 2009 - Registration for Iranian presidency race completed. Koresh Mouzuni, 12, dreams of leasing Hawaii to Jews 'so that they don't kill the children in Gaza', promises not to make his father a minister 

Barak warns of deep political crisis over budget cuts 
10 May 2009 - Shortly before weekly cabinet meeting, defense minister says there are disputes between Labor ministers, Treasury in regards to 'basic matters related to the State's security and future and the social human fabric' 

Gush Katif evacuees: Still waiting for compensation 
10 May 2009 - Three and a half years after Gaza pullout, commission of inquiry into status of area's former residents finally set to begin work. 'People are paying the price of the disengagement every day,' says head of evacuees' council 

60 Palestinians seized en route to Israel 
10 May 2009 - Men arrested near Ein Gedi on their way to Tel Aviv in search of work. 'When we felt we had reached the roadblock, the container stopped and the flow of air was halted completely. We felt people were about to suffocate,' one of Palestinians tells Ynet 

US aid to Israel to continue despite crisis 
10 May 2009 - American administration asks Congress to approve security aid to Jewish state as part of 2010 budget. 'This is an expression of the ongoing US commitment to Israel's security,' says outgoing Ambassador Meridor 

B'tselem

Testimony: Settlers throw stones with soldiers present
9 May 2009 - According to a testimony given to B'Tselem by a resident of the Wadi a-Nasara neighborhood of Hebron, on 3 April 2009, dozens of settlers, accompanied by soldiers, entered the neighborhood. The soldiers allowed the settlers to throw stones at homes and pa

Settler youngsters attack ambulance in Hebron
6 May 2009 - On 11 April, a Palestinian ambulance was transporting a patient to her home in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron. According to testimonies, children and youths from nearby settlements threw rocks at the ambulance and soldiers at the scene did not inte

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

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Los Angeles Times

For Christian enclave in Jordan, tribal lands are sacred 
10 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI has sought better ties between Christians and Muslims. But in Fuhays, Jordan, devotion to the land comes first. Michel Hattar's father was a priest in Jerusalem in 1947 when word arrived from the rocky Jordanian hills that he must renounce his vows and marry to protect his tribe's land and inheritances. 

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. 

New York Times

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

Reporter’s Hearing in Iran Moved Up
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. 

Obama to Speak From Egypt in Address to Muslim World
8 May 2009 - White House officials would not say exactly where in Egypt the president would give his highly anticipated June 4 speech. 


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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