InI Needs Your Support!
Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
governor: “Palestinians facing ethnic cleansing in cleansing in
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.
5/11/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli police and intelligence forces raided the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem early on Monday morning, shutting down in advance a Palestinian Media Center planned in advance of the pope’s visit to Jerusalem. The Israelis handed the management of the hotel an order signed by the Israeli internal security minister closing off a conference room that had been planned to be used media center, offering visiting journalists resources to cover the pope’s visit. Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Jerusalem later on Monday on his first visit to the Holy Land. Most of the Jerusalem holy sites the pontiff will visit are in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed. The international community does not recognize Israeli control over the area. The director of the Media Center, Ahmad Ar-Ruweidi, said they have assigned an attorney to follow. . .
Israel allows 93 Christians to leave Gaza during pope visit, denies 400 others
5/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel granted permits to 93 Palestinian Christians to leave Gaza to attend a papal mass in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and turned down applications for more than 400 others, a church official in Gaza said on Monday. Amin Sabbagh of the Latin Patriarchate in Gaza said that Israel refused to allow anyone under the age of 35 to leave Gaza. Israeli officials have confirmed that they imposed some restrictions on allowing the faithful to leave Gaza, citing “security concerns. ”Some Gazan Christians took advantage of their permits on Monday afternoon, leaving Gaza via the Erez border crossing, becoming members of an infinitesimally small minority with exit permits. Israel has maintained a near total closure of Gaza’s borders since June 2007. Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Israel on Monday on the second leg of a Middle East pilgrimage.
Abbas to appoint new government within 48 hours
5/11/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an Exclusive – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Monday that the new Palestinian government will be formed during in the next 48 hours. Abbas made this pronouncement at a meeting with members of the Central Committee of Fatah, the movement of which he is the leader. The president added that Fatah is eager to see success of a new round of talks with the rival Hamas movement in Cairo next week, though the appointment of a new government will be interpreted as a sign of the failure of the negotiations. Last week Abbas said that he would re-appoint caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to lead the new government. Fayyad tendered his resignation in March in a move he hoped would pave way for a unity government including Fatah and its rival Hamas. Fatah and Hamas have engaged in three rounds of talks this year in hopes of forming a unity government.
Two soldiers arrested for stealing from Palestinians in Gaza
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel has arrested two of its own soldiers on suspicion of stealing a credit card from Palestinians during the invasion of Gaza in January, Israel’s Ynet website reported on Monday. The two members of the Givati Brigade are suspected of using the card to purchase thousands of Israeli shekels worth of products. [end]
Israeli forces seize six Palestinians in West Bank raids
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli forces seized six Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank overnight. The military said the “wanted” people were taken for questioning. Their identities have not been determined and it is not known where they are held. [end]
Israeli forces seize two from Jenin, raid village
5/11/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized two Palestinians, including one disabled man, during a dawn raid on the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Monday. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that the Israeli soldiers detained 24-year-old Alaa Hassan Wishahi after storming his house, noting that he was shot in the legs at the beginning of the Second Intifada and is still disabled. Another man, 21-year-old Sa’id Muhammad Jalal, was also seized by the soldiers as soldiers raided several houses. Meanwhile Israeli forces raided houses in the village of Al-Aqaba, east of the northern town of Tubas. Soldiers destroyed furniture and other property and interrogated residents. Head of the local council Sami Sadeq told Ma’an that soldiers forces sleeping residents into the street while searching their homes and also fired bullets and stun grenades.
Israeli sources report projectile attack from Gaza
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A mortar shell was launched from the Gaza Strip and landed in the western Negev on Monday evening, according to Israeli news reports. There were no reports of injuries or damage in the apparent attack. [end]
Abbas: Ahmadinejad does not speak for Palestinians
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not speak for Palestinians, President Mahmoud Abbas told the Italian television station RAI on Sunday. “If he's speaking for the Palestinian people, I want to emphasize that we did not give him a mandate to do so. We are recognized as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people, we recognize Israel and don't want to destroy it. We want to establish an independent, Palestinian state, living alongside Israel," said Abbas. Answering a question about Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israeli tirade at the UN Conference on Racism in April, Abbas said “I believe these comments do not contribute to support the question of Palestine. ”With regards to his expected meeting with US president Barack Obama at the end of May, Abbas said Obama’s declarations have been encouraging, showing he wants to push forward the peace process.
King Abdullah: Obama promoting '57-state solution'
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – US President Barack Obama is planning to roll out a peace plan involving a "57-state solution" that will offer Israel relations with the entire Muslim world, Jordan’s King Abdullah told the Times of London in an interview published on Monday. “If you consider that a third of the world does not recognize Israel — 57 nations of the United Nations do not recognize Israel, a third of the world — their international relationships can’t be all that good. More countries recognize North Korea than Israel,” Abdullah said, “That is a very strong statement when we are offering a third of the world to meet them with open arms. ”However, the King warned, “If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months.
Report: Abbas turned down offer to meet Netanyahu
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has turned down an offer to hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because the latter has not announced a clear policy on relations with the Palestinians, according to Israeli daily newspaper Ma’ariv on Monday. According to Ma’ariv, Netanyahu’s office planned to hold that meeting before the prime minister meets US President Barack Obamain Washington next week. They contacted Abbas’ office in an attempt to arrange a meeting between the two leaders, but the Palestinian answer was that Netanyahu must first declare his position on peace negotiations. The report also said the Palestinian side demanded that the Israeli government recognize previously-signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, accept the two-state solution, and to completely stop settlement activity.
Israel opens Gaza crossings for aid, fuel, grain
5/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel authorities decided on Monday to open all of the Gaza Strip’s commercial crossing points, according to Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh told Ma’an that more than 100 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods would enter through Kerem Shalom crossing. Truckloads of wheat and fodder will enter through the Karni terminal, and limited quantities of industrial diesel and cooking gas will be shipped through the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. Israel has maintained a near-total blockade of the Gaza Strip by land and sea since June 2007. The quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. According to the UN and aid agencies, some items, such as construction materials needed to rebuild from the recent war, are completely banned. Exports are also prohibited, and Gaza’s 1. 5 million residents are banned from travelling.
Right-wing Israelis demanding pope return Jewish artifacts stolen by Romans
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Right-wing Israeli activists filed a criminal complaint in a Jerusalem court on Monday demanding that the pope return artifacts looted from the Jewish temple by the Roman Empire in the first century of the Common Era. Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel filed the complaint in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, according to the newspaper Yediot Ahronot. The two argue Roman Emperor Titus, who destroyed the temple, took with him a candelabrum, gold and copper altars, curtains, and other items. They allege that these artifacts can now be found in the Vatican. Meanwhile Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declined to attend the pontiff’s red carpet reception at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport citing what he said were unspecified threats to disrupt the proceedings. Israeli police were quoted in news reports as saying that there were threats to disrupt Benedict XVI’s visit, but did not give details.
Arriving in Israel, pope calls for 'two homelands'
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Pope Benedict XVI landed in Israel on Monday morning on the second leg of his Middle East tour after a short flight from Jordan. Speaking at a red carpet welcoming ceremony, the pontiff called for renewed efforts for a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. "I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue in the search for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties, so that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own, within secure and internationally recognized borders," said Benedict. The pope did not make reference to a Palestinian state in his first foray into the Palestinian-Israeli arena. “The hopes of countless men, women and children for a more secure and stable future depend on the outcome of negotiations for peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” said. . .
Prisoners denounce pope for visiting family of captured soldier
5/11/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The families of several Palestinian prisoners set up camp in front of the Red Cross building in Gaza City on Monday, in protest of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the family of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The families urged him to visit them, as well, and to note the situation of their own sons in Israeli prisons. Moreover, the families asked that the pope visit them in Gaza to hear of their sons suffering in Israeli jails, and to pressure the Israeli government to free them. The father of Palestinian prisoner Ali Al-Sarafati urged rights organizations to focus on the issue of Palestinians held in Israeli jails, and insisted that it was unfair for the pope to attend to the concerns of a single Israeli soldier and ignore the more than 11,000 Palestinians held by Israel. Mwafeq Hameed, the general relations director for the Gaza Organization of Prisoners. . .
Hamas: Netanyahu's Egypt visit an attempt to whitewash Gaza crimes
5/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Egypt on Monday as a dangerous attempt to whitewash Israel’s international image after the war on Gaza. Netanyahu’s meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm Ash-Sheikh is his first foreign visit in his present term as prime minister. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement, “What is requested from Egypt is not to accept the Israeli policies and to be serious in calling on the Israeli side to lift the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza, and insist on a prisoner exchange. ”“Egypt has to make all efforts to ensure that Palestinians will receive all their rights. Netanyahu shouldn’t be given any chance to impose his policy and beautify the Israeli face in front of the Arab world to cover for Israel’s crimes,” he said.
Israeli researcher suggests creating 'Palestinian emirates'
5/11/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – An Israeli researcher specializing in Arab-Israeli affairs at Bar-Ilan University, Dr Motti Kedar, asserted on Monday that he would submit to the Israeli Knesset this week a proposal suggesting the establishment of a “Palestinian emirate state. ”Kedar told local Palestinian radio station “Ar-Raya FM,” which is based in Ramallah, that several Knesset members and party leaders welcomed his idea that he has worked on for some ten years studying the nature of Palestinian-Israeli relations. “Today I promise both peoples that their complicated question will be solved through this proposal. My proposal suggests the appointment of a king or emir or caliph in each Palestinian city or village, which will have its own systems and its own army. These emirates could become richer than the Gulf states if the Palestinians wake up and invest in the gas reserve near the Gaza beaches.
UN Security Council to debate Middle East peace process
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The United Nations Security Council will debate on Monday how to revive moribund Middle East peace negotiations. Russia called for the meeting in order to give “new impetus" to a peace process that Israel shattered with its attack on the Gaza Strip in December that left nearly 1,500 Palestinians dead before its conclusion in January. Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, who chairs the 15-member Security Council this month, called the Council meeting to stress the "urgency of reaching comprehensive peace in the Middle East," according to AFP. The meeting will include foreign ministers of Russia, Britain, France, Turkey and Austria as well as US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and UN chief Ban Ki-moon. Israeli and Palestinian representatives will not take part in the talks, which will focus on the two-state solution to Middle East impasse.
In Egypt, Netanyahu says he wants new peace talks
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he hopes to begin peace negotiations with Palestinians within a few weeks. The Palestinian Authority withdrew from talks following Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, which ended in mid-January and killed nearly 1,500 Palestinians. "We would like as soon as possible to renew the peace talks between us and the Palestinians," Netanyahu said following talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the country's resort city of Sharm Ash-Sheikh. "I hope that they will be renewed in the next few weeks," he added. "We would like Israel and the Palestinians to live with prospects of peace, security and prosperity. The three things go together and not one at the expense of the other," Netanyahu said. The Israeli president has thus far not committed to the establishment of a Palestinian. . .
Israeli rabbi slams pope for not apologizing for Holocaust
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The head of Israel's Holocaust memorial council, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, criticised Pope Benedict XVI for not apologizing for the Holocaust in his remarks at a museum on Monday. "There certainly was no apology expressed here," Lau said, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. "Something was missing. There was no mention of the Germans or the Nazis who participated in the butchery, nor a word of regret," he added, although he noted that the speech was moving nonetheless. Lau also said the pope should have specifically said that six million Jews were killed, although Benedict did mention the figure earlier on Monday. Benedict had visited Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on Monday in Jerusalem, where he paid tribute to the deaths of Jews during World War II. "As we stand here in silence, their cry still echoes in our hearts.
Hamas criticizes pope's visit, sympathy for captured soldier
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Hamas movement criticized the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Land, saying that the visit comes to improve the image of Isreal, the Al-Quds newspaper reported on Monday. Regarding the sympathy from the Pope with the family of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said "this is a wrong step, as it ignores the suffering of 12,000 Palestinian detainees in Isreali prisons. " The Hamas movement had said earlier that it considers the pope's visit an attempt to "beautify the image of Isreal and weaken the chances of pursuing its leaders as war criminals, who committed massacres and holocausts against the Palestinian people. " According to the statement from Hamas, the group was "surprised by the pope's marketing of the idea of a two-state solution, because this means support to the establishment of a racist. . .
Pope walks out of meeting after PA official criticizes Israel
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Pope Benedict XVI left an interfaith meeting in Jerusalem early on Monday following a harshly worded attack on Israel by an Islamic judge, according to news reports. The chief Islamic judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, had criticized Israel for "murdering women and children in Gaza and making Palestinians refugees, and declared Jerusalem the eternal Palestinian capital," according to the Jerusalem Post. Following his remarks, and before the meeting had officially ended, the pope reportedly left, although Israel's Army Radio said Benedict shook Tamimi's hand before leaving. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Tamimi had opened his speech with a story about Saladin, who had upheld the rights of Christians after conquiring Jerusalem, and stressed that Islam and Christianity should unite against "Israeli occupation and bring about an independent state.
Gaza electric company workers jailed
5/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian court in Gaza City has sentenced employees of the Gaza electricity company to a year in prison and a 25,000 shekel fine on charges of handling stolen money. The sentence was handed down on 27 April, but was not made public until Monday. The website of the de facto government’s Interior Ministry said that prosecutors were able to collect evidence to back their charges, promising to “make an example” of the suspects. [end]
PFLP to boycott national consensus government
5/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is the second biggest faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), announced on Monday that it will boycott a proposed national consensus Palestinian government. “We will not be part of such a government,” said Khalida Jarrar, member of the PFLP’s politburo, and member of the Palestinian parliament. Jarrar also criticized expected expansion of the caretaker government in the West Bank and the de facto government in the Gaza Strip as worsening Palestinian political infighting. She called for the creation of a “unity government. ”Rival factions Hamas and Fatah will resume negotiations on the proposed national consensus government later this month. After two days of bilateral negotiations, other parties including the PFLP are invited to join the negotiations.
Hamas denies secret talks with Fatah
5/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas and Fatah are not holding secret meetings on unresolved issues prior to resumption of unity talks, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said on Monday. “Dialogue is a pure Palestinian concern which should be discussed in public whether it was bilateral talks between Hamas and Fatah under Egyptian patronage, or comprehensive Palestinian talks,” said Barhoum, commenting on reports that the rival factions were negotiating in secret. “We will hold a fifth dialogue round in Egypt to continue from where we stopped,” he added, referring to the renewed negotiations taking place later this month in Cairo. [end]
Hamas activist jailed for 'planning coup against PA'
5/11/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian military court in Nablus in the northern West Bank sentenced a Hamas activist to one and a half years in prison on Monday on weapons offenses and allegedly planning a coup against the Palestinian Authority (PA). Hamas released a statement identifying the activist as 33-year-old Muhammad Qatanani, who was arrested by the Palestinian General Intelligence service and held at Juneid Prison in Nablus for 10 months. The statement explained that Qatanani was charged with setting up clandestine cells in preparation for a coup. A Palestinian security official in the West Bank confirmed the news, but gave no other comment. [end]
Fayyad: New government will prioritize rebuilding Gaza
5/11/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Monday that an incoming new government will continue practicing its national responsibilities by easing the suffering and distress of Gaza Strip residents. He said the Palestinian Authority would prioritize the war-ravaged coastal strip's reconstruction, as well as create a suitable atmosphere for the success of the national dialogue, insisting that the government's agenda will continue to prioritize unity. Fayyad pressed that popular and official efforts have to be focused on the next stage, in order to enable interlocutors to reach a national agreement and make the government commit to continuing the duty of enforcing civilians’ steadfastness and to stand by them against Israeli practices. While heading the final cabinet meeting on Monday morning Fayyad thanked ministers for their efforts and accomplishments. . .
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.
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.
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.
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. [
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 - During the reporting period, 20 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were wounded by IOF and Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
International Solidarity Movement - 8 May 2009 - Before the start of the weekly Friday demonstration against the Apartheid Wall in Ni'lin, international solidarity activists visited homes that Israeli forces occupied last Friday. As soldiers were already present in the olive groves of Ni'lin, the internationals stayed at the homes to deter another attempt by the Israeli army to occupy their homes. Around 100 demonstrators gathered, accompanied by international and Israeli solidarity activists, to march against the construction of the Apartheid Wall on Ni'lin's land. Demonstrators reached the construction site and were able to damage a part of the illegal Wall. Then protestors were pushed back into the village when Israeli forces opened fire with numerous tear-gas canisters. The protest continued as demonstrators were pushed back, and the young men from the village responded to the army violence by throwing stones.
Palestinians protest land confiscation in Hebron
International Solidarity Movement - 9 May 2009 - PHOTOS - The Youth Against Settlements group, with participation from international and Israeli solidarity activists, organized a protest in Bwaireh north east of Hebron on Friday. The protesters built a small booth in response to the recent construction of a settler outpost. A month ago, local settlers created a structure to de facto annex Palestinian land with a colonial outpost in the area. The Israeli settlers trespassed on to the Palestinian land owned by Issa Abu Karsh Jaber a month ago and built an illegal structure. Israeli army and police, who were present, did not interfere despite the illegality of the structure. Israeli forces arrived to the place of the protest to protect the settlers who began attacking the protesters and their. . .
An open letter to Leonard Cohen
International Solidarity Movement - Dear Leonard Cohen: Your songs have been part of the soundtrack of our lives - like breathing, some of them. But we can't make sense of why you've decided to perform in Israel in September this year. If we understand anything about Buddhism - your practice of which is public knowledge - it's that Buddhism advocates "˜right action'. We accept that this precept, like the injunction to "˜love thy neighbour as thyself', is probably honoured more in the breach than the observance. But we can't believe you didn't weigh up performing in Israel in the light of "˜right action'. And apparently you've decided that it's right to take your unavoidably starry and very newsworthy presence there. But what does this say to the Palestinians? If you had just emerged from three weeks of unfettered bombing from land,. . .
New York protesters call for Mother's Day boycott of Leviev diamonds over Israeli settlements
International Solidarity Movement - 9 May 2009 - On the day before Mother's Day, 40 New York human rights advocates gathered at the Leviev jewelry store on Madison Avenue and called on throngs of weekend Madison Avenue shoppers to boycott Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev over his companies' construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in West Bank villages including Bil'in and Jayyous. Mother's Day is one of the biggest jewelry shopping periods in the US annually. The New York protest came as controversy is growing in Norway over Norwegian government investments in Leviev's company Africa-Israel. The New York protesters also commemorated Bassem Abu Rahma from Bil'in who was shot to death by Israeli soldiers last month during a peaceful protest against the construction on Bil'in's land of Israel's wall and of the Mattityahu East settlement by a Leviev company.
Israel has secret plan to thwart division of Jerusalem
International Solidarity Movement - 10 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). In a report presented to former prime minister Ehud Olmert on September 11 last year, the JDA described the purpose of the project as "to create a sequence of parks surrounding the Old City," all in the aspiration "to strengthen Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. "The program, sponsored by the Prime Minister's Office and the mayor of Jerusalem, is secret and did not engage in any form of public discussion. According to an analysis by Ir Amim, a non-profit organization dedicated to Jerusalem issues that impact on Israeli and Palestinians which exposed this detailed, confidential. . .
Anti-Israel activists urge Leonard Cohen to nix T.A. show
International Solidarity Movement - 11 May 2009 - Anti-Israel activists are stepping up efforts to dissuade Leonard Cohen from performing in Israel in September. The activists urge supporters to "apply pressure during his tour by local groups along his path," in their most recent appeal, which was circulated on Monday in various pro-Palestinian mailing lists. They added that letters "and various actions" might prove "instrumental in helping him take the decision to cancel his last concert. "This, they explain, is because "it is obvious the situation in Palestine and Israel is quite clear to Leonard Cohen, to judge by his song entitled Questions for Shomrim. The poem begins with the words "And will my people build a new Dachau and call it love, security, Jewish culture. "It also reads: "You were our singing heroes in ‘48, do you dare ask yourselves what you are now" and: "now my son must die for he's an Arab. . . "
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. ...
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...
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. ...
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
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
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
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.
10 May 2009 - Due to server load we cannot process your request at this time. Please try again a few minutes.
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.
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.
Gaza 2009: The Moment of Truth
Dr. Haidar Eid - Gaza, Palestine Chronicle 5/6/2009
’Israel’s fascist foreign minister is of the opinion that Gaza should’ve been nuked.’
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 to reward the oppressor by issuing declarations of intentions to upgrade their trade agreements with Israel, which, needless to say, served as a green light for the current atrocities....
Ban Ki-moon’s moral failure
Hasan Abu Nimah, Electronic Intifada 5/6/2009
Late last week, according to the BBC Arabic news website, a report was submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the scale of destruction Israel inflicted on UN installations in Gaza. This was also mentioned on a BBC news bulletin on 1 May, but I could find little trace of this story anywhere else.
The brief news item stated that the UN report contained secret information supplied by Israel about an incident in which more than 40 Palestinian civilians were massacred when Israeli shells fell "outside" a UN school where many Palestinians were taking shelter. The secretary-general is reportedly considering how much of the information he can release without revealing the information supplied by Israel, the news item said, adding that the UN report concluded that Hamas fighters were not inside UN buildings but close to them.
Commenting on the report, the BBC said that it was informed by a diplomatic source, that the United States has informed Ban’s office that the report should not be published in full due to the damage that that could cause to the Middle East peace talks; in other words (mine, in fact) to Israel.
The point here is neither to pass any premature judgment on an unpublished report -- despite obvious inconsistencies regarding shelling "outside" a UN installation that was somehow severely damaged -- nor to predict how much of the report the secretary-general will finally decide to publish.
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.