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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
16 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Police attacks, kidnaps students marking the Nakba in Jerusalem
17 May 2009 - The Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem attacked dozens of protestors who were peacefully marching in commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, in which some 750.000 Palestinians were displaced as the State of Israel was being created on their land. 

Obama, Netanyahu, to meet Monday; Obama has no new plan for peace
17 May 2009 - Sources at the White House reported Saturday that US President Barack Obama, will be meeting the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, but will not present any new initiatives on Middle East peace. 

Thousands commemorate the Nakba in Gaza
17 May 2009 - Thousands of Palestinians commemorated the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad organized massive protests in various parts of the Gaza Strip. 

Zionist group planning to build homes on top of demolished Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
16 May 2009 - Hatim Abdul-Qader, Jerusalem Affairs advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister, stated that the Ateret Cohanim Zionist group is planning, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Municipality, to build homes for Jewish settlers on top of Palestinians homes demolished by the municipality. 

Jews, Palestinians and Americans mark the Nakba in New York
16 May 2009 - As the Palestinian nation marks the Nakba day, hundreds of protesters, including Jews, Palestinians and Americans, led by a young Jewish Rabbi, marked the Nakba day on Thursday at night at the Union Square in New York. 

As Palestinians mark the Nakba, Occupation places the West Bank under siege
16 May 2009 - The Israeli Authorities imposed a strict siege on the Palestinian territories as the Palestinians are marking their 61 anniversary of Diaspora, disposition and Nakba, as they were displaced and force out of their homeland during the creation of Israel on historic Palestinian land. 

Bardaweel: “Hamas does not confirm or deny accepting a government that won’t be approved by PLC”
16 May 2009 - Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas political leader and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), refused to confirm or deny that the movement accepted a government that would be appointed by President Abbas without being approved by the PLC. 

Six injured by the military attack on Nil'in weekly protest
15 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. 

Bil'in: Nine injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation
15 May 2009 - Residents of Bil'in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah marched on Friday after midday prayer in the weekly protest. They were joined by international and Israelis activists. 

Israel rejects a Vatican request to grant to Jerusalem Palestinian couple residency in the city
15 May 2009 - Israel Minister of Interior, Ely Yishai, refused a request from the Vatican to grant a Palestinian couple residency in Jerusalem, although it is their birthplace, and their residency rights were taken away by an Israeli decision. 

Fateh accuses Hamas of barring its members from commemorating the Nakba in Gaza
15 May 2009 - Fateh movement accused Hamas of barring its members from commemorating the 61st anniversary of the Nakba in different districts of the Gaza Strip. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 5 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces this week
15 May 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 07 - 13 May 2009, five Palestinian civilians, including two children and one woman, were wounded by Israeli forces. Israeli forces conducted 15 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and abducted 12 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, and four in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces also abducted the mother of an allegedly wanted Palestinian. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

ElBaradei: Israel strike on Iran would be 'insane'
16 May 2009 - Head of UN nuclear watchdog says attack on nuclear facilities would turn Mideast into 'one big fireball.' 

Noam Shalit to Netanyahu: Tie Gaza gestures to progress on Gilad
16 May 2009 - Abductee's father urges Netanyahu not to agree to U.S. requests on Gaza until Hamas gives something in return. 

Here's how Israel would destroy Iran's nuclear program
15 May 2009 - U.S. study maps out 'complex and high-risk' possibilities for an IAF strike on Iran's facilities. 

Only 2,000 turn out for Gaza Nakba Day march held by Hamas
15 May 2009 - Gaza commentators believe poor showing due to Fatah-Hamas divide, Israel's recent offensive. 

Egypt finds massive arms cache along Israel border
15 May 2009 - Weapons include at least 266 rockets, 50 mortar shells and three anti-aircraft missiles, according to report. 

Amira Hass / Life among the ruins in Gaza
15 May 2009 - Despite 4,000 homes destroyed in the war, Israel won't let building materials be brought into the Strip. 

Defense Ministry: Iran could have nuclear bomb by 2010
14 May 2009 - Iran has two-thirds of fissile material needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon, ministry warns. 

Iran sends two warships to confront Somali pirates
14 May 2009 - Iran says warships to spend 5 months patrolling Gulf of Aden for pirates preying on oil tankers. 

Ma'an News

Israeli troops mass as Jenin-area village hosts anti-wall rally
5/16/2009 - Jeinin – Ma’an – Israeli troops massed at the iron gate installed at the entrance of Anin, a village north of Jenin Saturday. The village, which borders the illegal separation wall in the north, was preparing to host an anti-wall rally and commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes by advancing Israeli militias following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. Head of the Anin village council Rabah Yasin said high-profile Palestinian officials from the West Bank were set to partake in the rally in addition to Palestinians living in Israel. He explained that the rally, despite heavy Israeli military presence, would advance from the village center toward the separation wall at 10:30am. 

Woman found stabbed to death; body left for four days near Israeli checkpoint
5/16/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Red Crescent medics found the body of a young woman near the Atarah checkpoint north of Ramallah in the central West Bank on Saturday at noon. Medics received information about the body and rushed to the area to discover an unidentified woman in her twenties stabbed in the back 400 meters away from the military checkpoint. They estimated the murder occurred at least four days ago. The body of the woman had been outside for the four days and was damaged by wild animals. Palestinian police opened an investigation and arranged the transfer of the woman’s body to forensic science labs for testing. ***Get breaking news from Palestine: Click here to follow Ma'an on Twitter. 

Israeli police arrest students marking Nakba in East Jerusalem
5/16/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli police forces carried out sweeping arrests of Palestinian university students participating in Nakba commemoration activities in East Jerusalem on Saturday. The students, most from the Al-Qelem Academic Foundation and Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, were marking the annual day of mourning that marked the 61st anniversary of the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians following the establishment of Israel. Witnesses said Israeli forces attacked the group of at least 1,000 students, and arrested a number of them without providing an explanation. Nevertheless, organizers continued the activities inside Jerusalem's Old City, including at Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as other suburbs of East Jerusalem, which Israel illegally annexed in 1967. Khaled Muhana, head of the media department in for the Islamic Movement in Israel and the spokesperson for Al-Aqsa, commented. . . 

Israeli municipal council and settlers plan to build over Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood
5/16/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – The Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem is slated for destruction to make way for residential units in a new illegal Israeli settlement, Palestinian prime minister’s Advisor on Jerusalem Affairs Hatim Abdul Qadir said Saturday. A plan by the Israeli-run municipal council of Jerusalem and an Israeli settlers’ association called Atirat Cohaneim is set to build residential units on the area of Batn Al-Hawa in Silwan, south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The 5,800 square meter Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood is home to 60 Palestinian residential buildings built on the area before 1948. The Atirat Cohaneim association applied to the Israeli Jerusalem municipality’s committee for construction seeking approval to build new residential units this month, but have not submitted documents proving ownership of the area, Abdul-Qadir told residents while visiting the area. 

PLC members visit Hamas affiliate released from Israeli jail
5/16/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A delegation from the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform bloc visited Mohammad Al-Ay, who was released from Israeli prison after 17 years of imprisonment. The members of the Palestinian Legislative Council visited Al-Ay at his house near the At-Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City on Saturday. Among the PLC members were deputy head of the bloc Ismail Al-Ashqar, Salem Salamah, Musheer Al-Masri, Jamal Iskiek and Imad A’fanah, general manager of the bloc in Gaza City. In a statement, the delegates expressed their joy for Al-Ay’s release after 17 years of imprisonment, having moved from one Israeli jail to another throughout the sentence. [end] 

Israeli forces quash student-organized attempts to quietly commemorate Nakba
5/16/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli police detained three Jerusalemites in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as they participated in a commemoration ceremony marking the 61st anniversary of the Nakba. More than 300 female university students arrived in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to jointly commemorate the Nakba, when 61 years ago hundreds of thousands of their parents' and grandparents' generation were driven out of their homes and villages to make way for the State of Israel. As the women began to gather in the compound Israeli forces forcibly evicted them, confiscated posters and pamphlets about the Nakba from two female university students who were then detained and taken to the Western Wall, or Al-Buraq, police station. A third Palestinian, Nawwaf At-Touri, was also detained as he lead a clean-up campaign in the ancient Islamic cemeteries surrounding the Al-Aqsa compound. 

Khan Younis boy dies in mysterious explosion
5/16/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – An explosion in the Al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Younis killed a Gaza boy on Saturday morning. Palestinian security sources identified the boy as 11-year-old Ayman Hamdan, who died before he was evacuated to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. No other casualties were reported. Two Al-Qasssam Birgadesmen were killed east of Khan Younis in recent weeks during what militia leaders called “special missions” in the area. [end] 

Israelis arrest Palestinian man in his 30s at Salfit checkpoint
5/16/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an - A Palestinian man in his 30s was detained by Israeli soldiers in the northern West Bank city of Salfit on Saturday, according to local sources. The arrest occurred at a flying checkpoint at the eastern entrance of the district, near Iskaka bridge, the sources added. According to witnesses, Israeli soldiers forced the driver, Shadi Kazaf Shahin, to get out of his taxi before he was blindfolded and hands were tied behind his back. He was then taken to an undisclosed location. Others said that soldiers removed the checkpoint following the arrest. [end] 

Wild boars descend on Salfit-area farmlands; wreak havoc
5/16/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Herds of wild boars descended on northern areas of Salfit destroying wheat crops and terrifying farmers, locals said Saturday. The large herd trampled areas in the Ash-Shaer and Al-Irsal neighborhoods. Farmers have long suspected nearby settlement communities of illegally residing Israelis to be responsible for unleashing the boars to harass farmers. Head of the Salfit farm workers and food industries council Khalil I’mran said it was time to take action against the animals, which may have undocumented cases of H1N1 Swine Flu and are a nuisance to the locals. [end] 

Settlers claim ownership of two Palestinian homes
5/16/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Two Palestinians are scheduled to appear before an Israeli court on Sunday for refusing to evacuate homes that settlers are claiming to own. The two Palestinians, Abed Al-Fatah Al-Ghawi and Maher Hanun, were ordered to appear in court after they refused to willingly evacuate their homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. One of the two residents, Maher Hanun, had previously spent three months in an Israeli prison for refusing to evacuate his home, which he insists he never sold to settlers. The Israeli court disagrees, and has ruled that the homes must be evacuated. [end] 

Rafah crossing open Saturday for students, patients, and foreign passport holders to exit Strip
5/16/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Eleven busses carrying 550 Gazans are expected to pass into Egypt Saturday, and an unknown number will travel Sunday, officials said. Students, patients, special cases identified by Egypt and foreign passport holders lined up in Khan Younis after being ordered to stay away from Rafah in a new transfer process administered by the de facto government in Gaza. The process appeared to have sped up the transfer of Gazans out of the Strip, as three busses were already on their way through by ten o’clock Saturday. Locals were skeptical about the new system, preferring to queue closer to the border at Rafah. Crossing authorities noted that a number of Gazans are to cross into the Strip from Egypt Saturday, though none have yet come through. 

UNSC discusses Gaza probe report on damages to UN buildings, personnel
5/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - UN Security Council members issued a statement over the Board of Inquiry Report commissioned by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon probing damages to UN buildings and personnel during Israel’s war on the Strip over the winter. The short statement issued on 13 May expressed “concern” over the report’s findings which diplomats called “critical of Israel. ”The recommendations of the report - to begin legal action against Israel for damages to UN buildings and an inappropriate use of force in the Gaza Strip - will not be implemented, according to Ban. [end] 

Erekat updates Middle East World Economic Forum participants on Palestinian situation
5/16/2009 - Jericho - Ma’an - The World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2009 kicked off in Jordan at the Dead Sea on Friday with addresses from regional leaders and US Foreign Relations Committee Senator John Kerry. In attendance are Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr Sa’eb Erakat, Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Mousa and its chairperson Nasser Al- Loazy, as well as representatives from the Jordanian Royal Court, King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Jouda. Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa was also present. Updating conference participants on the Palestinian situation Erakat stressed that the international community must continue to pressure Israel to pursue a two-state solution and halt settlement building including on the pretext of natural growth. 

MK: Netanyahu won’t commit to two states during US visit
5/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Washington for talks with US President Barack Obama, he will not commit to the creation of a Palestinian state, according to a Likud-affiliated member of the Knesset. Israeli Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar on Saturday said that Netanyahu plans to "advance the peace process with the Palestinians on the economic, diplomatic and security-related tracks," according to Israeli news reports. Meanwhile, Knesset Member Ofir Akonis, also a member of the right-wing Israeli Likud, said that Netanyahu will not bow to worldwide calls for a two-state solution to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. "The establishment of a Palestinian state will lead to a second Hamastan, and its army will threaten the citizens of Israel," the MK reportedly said, according to the Israeli news agency Ynet. 

De facto Interior Ministry: Patients will not travel Sunday
5/16/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The De facto Ministry of the Interior in Gaza said on Saturday that there will be no travel for patients on Sunday. However, the Gaza Strip government noted that "efforts are ongoing in an attempt to open the Rafah crossing for a third day so more of them can leave. " Three busloads of patients managed to pass through the Rafah crossing into Egypt on Saturday, one hour after it was opened by Egyptian authorities. A total of 150 residents were transferred out of the besieged coastal strip. Other passengers on the busses that carried about 50 passengers each were students and other stranded Palestinians with alternative residency permits. The ministry had previously divided the passengers into three categories and gave each one a number for the busses that were waiting in Khan Younis, where it was expected that eight buses were to leave during the first day of opening. 

Fifth round of Cairo dialogue underway; parties approach with caution
5/16/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Fifth round of conciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas started Saturday afternoon in Cairo. The dialogue is set to run three days, the first to with bilateral Hamas-Fatah talks and the third an all-factions dialogue to confirm any tentative agreements made. Acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Bahar warned that dialogue would likely move slowly so delegates would thoroughly work out the core unresolved issues. The principal issue is the make-up of a new transitional government or committee that would bridge the two parties and facilitate the rebuilding of the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. Bahar also suggested there might be some difficulty with Fatah’s stubbornness around mending the fragmented security services, another of the core unresolved issues. “We hope dialogue will come up with successful results, but it is not. . . 

DFLP says Cairo unity talks postponed indefinitely
5/16/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Sources in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said on Saturday that the comprehensive talks that were supposed to begin Saturday were delayed indefinitely. The sources added in a statement that “the exclusive bilateral dialogue between Fatah and Hamas bypassed the comprehensive national dialogue in February and March 2009 concerning holding elections based on the fully proportionate representation [system], thus the dialogue was obstructed. ”The dialogue was set to run three days, the first with bilateral Hamas-Fatah talks and the third an all-faction dialogue to confirm any tentative agreements made. The sources noted that "a fourth bilateral round of talks will be held in Cairo on Saturday behind closed doors, and away from the Palestinians, twelve factions, figures and unions in occupied Palestine and the Diaspora. " 

PPP denounces alleged de facto government office raid
5/16/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian People's Party (PPP) on Saturday denounced a recent break-in at the Gaza office of the Popular Struggle Front, allegedly at the hands of de facto security forces. In a statement sent to Ma'an, the PPP said that the Hamas-affiliated government forces detained a number of the Front's affiliates for several hours, as well as ransacked files and computers at the office in Gaza City. The PPP added that "such acts are a violation that harm the national relations between factions, and urged the de facto security apparatus to "stop such incidents that will disturb these relations and threaten the positive atmosphere Palestinians are seeking here at the start of the national dialogue" in Cairo. 

The National

Egypt arrests 33 members of Muslim Brotherhood
16 May 2009 - Banned organisation claims the government is trying to prevent the possibility of talks with Barack Obama during his stay in Cairo in June.

Top Hizbollah official glorifies bloody attacks last May
16 May 2009 - Hizbollah's secretary general stuns Lebanon's political class with the assessment that last year's bloody near-coup was a glorious day for the Lebanese resistance. 

Freed journalist leaves Iran
15 May 2009 - The US-born reporter Roxana Saberi flies into Vienna from Tehran, only days after her release from an Iranian prison.

Abbas visit to Syria boycotted by Hamas
14 May 2009 - The snubbing of the president while in Damascus says much about the deep rivalries that continue to divide the Palestinian people.

Israeli Jews back Palestinian state
14 May 2009 - A poll indicates strong support for a two-state solution ahead of Mr Netanyahu's visit to the US.

Aljazeera

Palestinians resume talks in Cairo 
16 May 2009 - Hamas and Fatah will try to reach a deal to share power.

Pope ends Middle East pilgrimage
15 May 2009 - Benedict XVI criticises Israel's separation wall and calls for a Palestinian state.

Gazans remember 1948 exodus
15 May 2009 - Huge rallies mark the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians as Israel was created.

Jordan hosts economic crisis talks
15 May 2009 - Leaders gather to discuss implications of global slowdown on the region.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: U.S.-Israel Balance Echoes Tensions of 1991 
LONDON, May 15 (IPS) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Pres. Barack Obama in Washington next Monday, amid speculation that their two administrations may be heading for a confrontation worse than any they have known since 1991-92.

ENVIRONMENT: West Bank Becomes Waste Land 
RAMALLAH, May 15 (IPS/IFEJ) - Israel has found a cheap and easy way to get rid of its waste, much of it hazardous: dump it into the West Bank. A few Palestinians can be bought, the rest are in no position to complain.

US-MIDEAST: Lobbies Gear Up Ahead of Bibi-Barack Meet 
WASHINGTON, May 15 (IPS) - In the months since U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have taken office, there has been lots of noise made about the relationship between the two men and their respective countries.

EGYPT: Fears Rise Over Spate of Missing Children 
CAIRO, May 15 (IPS) - A surge in reports of missing children has set off alarm across the Egyptian countryside. The fears are being fed both by reports and rumour.

Stop The Wall

Remembering 61 years of Nakba
16 May 2009 - On May 15, Palestinians officially commemorated 61 years of the Nakba. From May 14 – 16, activities and demonstrations were organized across historic Palestine. This photo story features images from the '48 and the West Bank, including the central demonstrations, anti-Wall protests, and other activities. [

Two new BDS resources
16 May 2009 - Two separate briefings have been released addressing the Norwegian Pension Fund’s investment in Israeli companies. One looks at IEC, Nesher, and Emblaze, while the second is a detailed report about on Israeli arms supplier Elbit Systems. Both demonstrate that the actions of the above firms run contrary to the Fund’s ethical guidelines and demand divestment. [

PCHR Latest

(14-05-2009) War Crimes Against Children: new report on the 313 children killed during Gaza offensive
PCHR

PCHR Director Delivers Human Rights Lecture in Madrid, Spain
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(07 - 13 May  2008)
During the reporting period, five Palestinian civilians, including two children and one woman, were wounded in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Campaign to release the Palestinian activist arrested in al-Ma’sara
International Solidarity Movement - 15 May 2009 - The Al-Ma'sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements has been organizing and participating in demonstrations against the confiscation of their land for the past two and a half years. Participants and committee members are known for their strict adherence to non-violent tactics in demonstrations. While the protesters maintained their usual tactics on 1 May 2009, Israeli forces escalated their attempt to suppress the non-violent resistance by arresting several demonstrators. A new military commander, stationed in the area two months prior, had announced his intentions to end the resistance and implemented tactics such as night invasions of organizer's homes, destruction of property and threats. During the demonstration on 1 May 2009, the Israeli army arrested three members of the Al-Ma'sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements; Hasan Bergia, Mohammad Bergia and Mahmoud Sawahre. 

Balata Camp commemorates the Nakba
International Solidarity Movement - 14 May 2009 - The Nakba Committee of Nablus organized a commemoration ceremonyin Balata village. About 500 people from the area gathered to attend the event where various speeches were given by community officials such as the Mayor of Nablus and others. Some 500 Palestinians with flags and banners gathered in Balata village at the outskirts of Nablus to observe the 61st memorial day of the Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians where expelled from their homeland and became refugees. The mayor of Nablus, Dr. Jamal Mhezen, held a speech about the Nakba and the political situation today. He pointed out that the Palestinian government did everything Israel was asking for, and rhetorically he asked, "What did Israel do for the Palestinians? " He talked about the rights of return, and emphasized that Palestinians want peace, but that there are more than one ways to achieve it. 

Nakba commemoration: protesters carry a 5 meter long key in Bil’in
International Solidarity Movement - 15 May 2009 - Residents of Bil'in marched today after the Friday prayer in a protest joined by international and Israelis activists. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and posters of the martyr, Bassem Abu Rahmah, and also banners commemorating 61 years of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). A 5 meter long key was carried as a symbol to the right of return which a lot o Palestinians still have keys of their original homes and land ownership documents. Protesters marched towards the wall calling for the end of the occupation, and to stop construction of the Wall. What the Palestinians are facing by the Israeli occupation did not stop with one Nakba, but the aggression is still continuous especially the most recent offense on Gaza. Settlement building, home demolishing, and the ethic cleansing of the Palestinians in Jerusalem are all Nakbas. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Netanyahu is good for Obama 
16 May 2009 - As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lands in Washington Sunday, he brings a valuable gift for U.S. President Barack Obama: new U.S. legitimacy in the Middle East. If Netanyahu says the right password at the White House gates - "two states for two peoples" - Obama will have his first Israeli political achievement. Then there will be no escaping attributing this ideological compromise to American pressure on Israel. If Netanyahu refuses to say the magic words, this will further thicken the alliance between Obama and the Arab and Muslim Mideast. No matter how we spin this summit, Obama will be the winner. ...

Netanyahu heads to Washington in attempt to bridge differences 
16 May 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to state support for the establishment of a Palestinian state when he meets with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Sunday, an aide to the prime minister said. However, in a bid to soften edgy relations with Washington, Netanyahu will propose that joint teams draft a new road map for the Palestinian peace process and a new strategy on Iran. ... 

Deputy FM: Assad just wants peace process, not peace
16 May 2009 - Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said Saturday that Syrian President Bashar Assad was only interested in conducting a peace process with Israel, instead of actually reaching a peace accord. ...

U.S. Mideast envoy said preparing for Syria visit
16 May 2009 - President Barack Obama's special Middle East envoy is laying the groundwork for a visit to Syria as a way to push forward talks between the Arab world and Israel, U.S. officials said Friday. ...

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu's only card to play with Obama is Iran
16 May 2009 - I'm going out on a limb when I predict that no crisis will erupt at the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday. The smiles will be authentic, and Netanyahu will be able to tell reporters about the good atmosphere. Obama will be an affable and charming host, just as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was when he met Netanyahu in Sharm el-Sheikh this week. ... 

The Guardian

Pressing the right buttons | Editorial
15 May 2009 - Barack Obama has made no secret of his ambition to reset US foreign policy, but none of the buttons he has pressed on Russia or Iran will be nearly as electrifying as the one he is...

Israel's Eurovision song for peace | Rachel Shabi
15 May 2009 - Israel's Eurovision entry is sung by two friends, one Jewish, one Palestinian. It may be idealistic, but shouldn't we support them? The timing was doomed. Just as the Israel-inflicted death toll in Gaza reached 900, a...

Hate kills the soul, says pope in Nazareth mass
14 May 2009 - Mixed crowd of faiths and nationalities approaching 50,000 people hears pontiff emphasise tolerance and family values Pope Benedict XVI stood on a mountaintop in Nazareth today to say the largest mass of his visit to the...

Singing for peace in Israel | Hillel Schenker
14 May 2009 - A campaign to stop a Leonard Cohen concert fails to understand the impact of such artists as Joan Baez and Roger Waters "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender," reads the famous slogan on...

Ha'aretz National page

Fischer: Dankner must leave, by force if not by arrangement 
16 May 2009 - Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer wants to end the saga of Bank Hapoalim chairman Danny Dankner this week. Fischer would prefer an agreed-upon, honorable resignation by Dankner, but if that's not in the offing, then the central bank is ready to give Dankner his walking papers. ... 

New residents account for one-third of West Bank settlement growth 
16 May 2009 - Figures released recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics cast doubt on government officials' claims of housing shortages for young couples living in West Bank settlements - the central argument Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to present to U.S. President Barack Obama against freezing settlement construction. ... 

Jewish-Arab duo falls short in Israel bid for fourth Eurovision win
16 May 2009 - Israel's Jewish-Arab singing duo, Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad, came up short Saturday in their bid to bring Israel its fourth Eurovision victory, after favorite Norway blew away the competition. ...

Kiryat Shmona man electrocuted while fishing in Hula Valley
15 May 2009 - A Kiryat Shmona man died of electrocution on Saturday while fishing on an authorized fishing site in the northern Hula Valley. ...

Two injured as ultralight aircraft crashes in Negev
15 May 2009 - Two men were injured Saturday when an ultralight aircraft crashed in the northern Negev. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 02 - 15 May 2009
16 May 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

UN workers end Jordan strike
16 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Factbox - Main issues in Middle East peace
16 May 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Egypt opens Gaza border
16 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Palestinian factions to resume unity talks in Cairo
16 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture: Israel (CAT/C/ISR/CO/4)
16 May 2009 - Source: UN Committee against Torture

Le Comité contre la torture a conclu les travaux de sa session de printemps
16 May 2009 - Source: UN Committee against Torture

Committee against Torture concludes forty-second session
16 May 2009 - Source: UN Committee against Torture

YNet News

US official: No new peace plan, for now
16 May 2009 - Senior White House official says administration sees coming visit by Israeli premier to Washington as opportunity to discuss mutual interests; adds Obama expects Israel, Palestinians to live up to Road Map commitments

Minister Katz: Bibi to promote new diplomatic initiative 
16 May 2009 - PM Netanyahu to seek establishment of joint US-Israel committee that would advance new peace initiatives in place of existing plans, Minister Katz says, adds that Bibi has no intention of building new West Bank settlements

Palestinian factions resume unity talks in Cairo
16 May 2009 - Hamas, Fatah resume reconciliation efforts in Egypt; Hamas leader says group won't be part of any government program that recognizes Israel

ElBaradei: Strike on Iran would be insane
16 May 2009 - Atomic Energy Agency chief urges Tehran to engage with US, negotiate over nuke program; attacking Iran 'would turn region into one big fireball, Iranians would immediately start building bomb,' ElBaradei warns

MK: Bibi won't commit to Palestinian state during US trip
16 May 2009 - Likud member Akonis says establishment of independent Palestinian state will lead to 'second Hamastan'; Erekat says only Obama can compel Israel to accept two-state solution, urges US to 'stop stop dealing with Israel as an above-the-law state' 

Deputy FM: Assad doesn't want peace
16 May 2009 - After Syrian president claims there is 'no partner for peace' on Israeli side, Ayalon says 'you cannot wish for peace and simultaneously arm Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad

Egypt opens Gaza border
16 May 2009 - Hamas security figure says crossings 'authorized in both directions' for humanitarian reasons

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

Turkey's Gul visits Syria for Middle East peace talks 
15 May 2009 - Turkish President Abdullah Gul flew to neighboring Syria Friday for a three-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral ties and discussing prospects of peace in the Middle East. "We aim to develop our ties with Syria on the basis of friendship and mutual interest in a way that will benefit the entire region," Gul said at Ankara airport before his departure.

Palestinians in Gaza mark anniversary of Nakba 
15 May 2009 - Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday marked the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, the "catastrophe" of the 1948 creation of Israel, which made refugees out of around 700,000 Palestinians. They have been prevented from returning to their homes by Israel ever since - instead, they have lived dispersed around the Arab world.

Jordan's king lauds renewed US commitment to Mideast peace 
15 May 2009 - Jordan's king praised the renewed US commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East on Friday and urged Israel to work toward that goal. King Abdullah II spoke a day after he pressed Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately commit to the establishment of a Palestinian state, a step he has been reluctant to take despite pressure from the US.

Fears rise over spate of missing children in Egypt 
15 May 2009 - A surge in reports of missing children has set off alarm across the Egyptian countryside. The fears are being fed both by reports and rumor. "Provinces on fire with kidnapping rumors; every day more stories of missing children," read the May 1 headline of independent daily Al-Dustour.

Obama revives military trials for terrorism suspects 
15 May 2009 - President Barack Obama will restart military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees, reviving a Bush-era trial system he once assailed as flawed but with new legal protections for terror suspects, US officials said. The changes to the system, which will affect a small number of detainees, was announced on Friday.

Palestinian Information Center

Human Rights Organizations Warn of Obstacles to Gaza Reconstruction (Report)
17 May 2009 - After more than a hundred days since the end of the Zionist war on the Gaza Strip, human rights organizations are warning of the consequences of an alarming humanitarian situation in the Strip.

Wa’ed: Israel practices the ugliest torture methods in secret prisons
17 May 2009 - The Wa’ed society for detainees reported that all information available indicates that Israel practices the most heinous methods of torture against Palestinian prisoners in secret jails.

Hamas: We’ll discuss all options on the dialog table except the US terms
17 May 2009 - Hamas stated that its delegation to the fifth round of the national dialog will discuss with Fatah all options on the table except the American conditions.

Sheikh Salah: The Palestinian right is stronger than Israeli tanks and warplanes
17 May 2009 - Sheikh Ra’ed Salah emphasized that the Palestinian right is stronger than the Israeli tanks and warplanes, highlighting that the right of return is historical inevitability and divine destiny.

IOA court sentences Palestinian boy to five months in jail
17 May 2009 - The Israeli military court in Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, has sentenced a 15-year-old Palestinian boy to five months in jail in addition to about 1,200 dollars fine.

Bahar: Israel was established following bloody massacres
17 May 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar stated that Israel was established following "bloody massacres" against the Palestinian people, highlighting that the resistance is a legitimate right guaranteed by divine religions.

IOF soldiers wound 9 Palestinians in peaceful march
17 May 2009 - Nine Palestinian citizens were wounded on Friday at the hands of Israeli occupation forces while peacefully marching in Bilin village in the weekly demonstration against the separation wall.

Report: Israel kidnapped more than 2,500 Palestinians last year
17 May 2009 - The Palestinian center for human rights on Thursday reported that the IOF troops kidnapped more than 2,500 Palestinians last year, most of them from the West Bank.

Euro campaign: Slight amendment to convoy route delays its arrival in Gaza
17 May 2009 - The European campaign to lift the siege on Gaza Strip has said that the European "Hope" convoy would reach the Strip by the end of next week citing a slight amendment to its route for the delay.

Nakba Day…"They Killed Anyone They Saw
17 May 2009 - Mohammed al-Saghir Abu Sharar was 37 when the Hagana and other Jewish terrorist gangs attacked al-Dawayema, a village located 18 kilometers northwest of Al-Khalil..

Los Angeles Times

U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi arrives in Austria 
16 May 2009 - Austrian Embassy in Tehran played a key role in helping secure her release. She and her parents will head to the United States after a short stay. With Austria helping to secure her release, Iranian American journalist Roxana Saberi arrived in Vienna on Friday, days after she was released from prison in Iran following an appeals court decision suspending her sentence on an espionage charge. 

Pope Benedict's farewell remarks please both Israelis, Palestinians 
16 May 2009 - Pope Benedict condemns anti-Semitism and makes his strongest appeal for a Palestinian state. But no one expects his message of peace to move the Mideast conflict toward resolution. Pope Benedict XVI ended a politically charged visit to Israel and the West Bank on Friday with new condemnations of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and his strongest appeal yet for the creation of a Palestinian state. 

Stephen McEveety produces 'The Stoning of Soraya M.' 
16 May 2009 - Producer Stephen McEveety's new film depicts a modern stoning in Iran. As a producer of "The Passion of the Christ," Stephen McEveety knows how difficult (and also satisfying) it can be to make a controversial, sometimes brutal movie about religion and faithfulness. 

New York Times

Oman Navigates Between Iran and Arab Nations
16 May 2009 - Mindful of not antagonizing a powerful neighbor, Oman’s rulers have defied the appeals of others in the Middle East for it to draw away from Tehran. 

Citing Auschwitz, Pope Assails Hatred
15 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI wound up a sometimes fraught trip to Israel and the West Bank on Friday with a plea that the Holocaust must “never be forgotten or denied.” 

Jordan Tells Israel to Accept Two-State Solution
14 May 2009 - Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who urged the Israeli leader to commit to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. 

Misc

New West Bank roads jeopardizing chances for peace accord
Ha'aretz - Palestinian interest in the intentions of the new Israeli government tends to focus on one small area in the West Bank, Ma'aleh Adumim and its environs, particularly the area known as E1 linking the settlement to East Jerusalem. Earlier this month Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad participated in mass Friday prayers against land expropriation in the area, and the Palestinian media was full of reports of Israeli settlement plans in Ma'aleh Adumim and E1. The concerns are not baseless. E1 is the only area that Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly committed to developing, on the eve of February's elections. 

War crimes against children: new report on the 313 children killed during Gaza offensive 
ReliefWeb - Date: 14 May 2009 - A new report released today reveals the true extent of child killings by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip during its 23 day offensive on Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is publishing War Crimes Against Children in response to the unprecedented number of children killed by Israeli forces in its latest operation; a total of 313 children under the age of eighteen. 

VIDEO - Off the Charts: Media Analysis of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict 
If Americans Knew - Produced by Alternate Focus - A 30-minute segment featuring Alison Weir and the findings of If Americans Knew in researching media coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. 


Articles

Electronic Intifada
Hamas under scrutiny while Lieberman embraced
14 May 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - A founding member of Hamas says he hates all weapons and insists that his organization is not anti-Jewish. In an interview with IPS, Sayed Abu Musameh described frequent claims in the European and US press that Hamas's charter is based on enmity towards Jews as a "big lie." Speaking in the remains of the Palestinian Legislative Council headquarters in Gaza City, Husameh drew a distinction between followers of Judaism and the Zionist ideology to which most politicians in Israel's main political parties subscribe. 

Pope's visit overlooks Palestinians
14 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI upset the schedule on his first day in Israel by leaving an interfaith meeting in Jerusalem early on Monday night after a leading Muslim cleric called on him to condemn the "slaughter" of women and children in the recent assault on Gaza. The pontiff walked out, a spokesman noted, because Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi's speech was a "direct negation" of dialogue and damaged the Pope's efforts at "promoting peace." 

Israeli orgs call on Norway to divest from occupation
14 May 2009 - In an unprecedented way, a wide array of Israeli civil society and grassroots organizations has sent a letter to the Norwegian Pension Fund, addressed to its Council on Ethics, urging it to support their efforts for a just peace and equality in Israel/Palestine by divesting from all companies involved in the Israeli occupation. 

EU obligated to prosecute war crime suspects
14 May 2009 - Fair criminal trials in EU member states, especially if they result in convictions, could provide genuine deterrence and begin to provide justice for Palestinian victims of Israeli actions. The EU has a massive role in that regard. Instead of paying lip service to injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people by issuing statements "deploring the loss of life" and promises to "follow closely investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law," EU countries would achieve much more by applying the rule of law to Israel, starting with making their laws match their obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Daniel Machover and Adri Nieuwhof comment for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
bombing the lifelines
15 May 2009 - I wake to the thud of bombings which I’d incorporated into my dreams, dividing the thuds into small and bigger explosions.  In consciousness I hear more bombing and realize it’s probably the tunnels region, where people still live very close by, being bombed again. A friend will try to leave Gaza today via Rafah crossing, and among the myriad of legitimate worries a Palestinian must have when trying to leave Gaza, having the area where you hope to cross over bombed is a fairly large one. Her father, our host, and brother walk through the room where we’d been sleeping, asking whether we’d heard the bombing. “It’s either from the...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel and Palestinian Unity: Quarrel on the Titanic
16 May 2009 - By Uri Avnery – Israel One of the happiest moments in my life occurred in a restaurant. It happened before the second Intifada. I had invited Rachel to celebrate her birthday with dinner at a famous restaurant in Ramallah. We were sitting in the garden under strings of colorful lights, the air was fragrant with the perfume of flowers and the waiters were hurrying back and forth with laden trays. We ate Mussakhan, the Palestinian national dish (chicken with tahini baked on pita bread), and I drank arak. Our waiter, who had overheard us talking, took our order in Hebrew. We were the only Israelis there. At the nearby tables, Arab families with the children in their best clothes, as well as a bride and groom with their wedding guests. Bursts of laughter punctuated the murmur of Arabic conversations, and spirits were high. I was happy, and a sigh escaped me: “How wonderful this country could be, if only we had peace!” I think of that moment every time I hear sad news from Ramallah. The news is depressing, but the memory helps me to keep alive my hope that things could be different. The most depressing news concerns the split between the Palestinians themselves. This split is a disaster for them, and, I believe, also for Israel and the world at large. That’s why I dare to comment on a matter that seemingly does not concern us Israelis. It does. It is easy to blame Israel. Easy and also...

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine 
16 May 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago After two years of 'underground' work, it was launched with a 'successful press conference' and announcement that: "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Its work will focus on "the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its opinion on the (Separation Wall in Occupied Palestine, addressed relevant) "International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, as well as dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine." ( Watch video, Part I , Part II ) This Tribunal will "address the failure of application of law even though it has been so clearly identified." It begins where the ICJ "stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which cannot continue to shirk its obligations." The Russell Tribunal is part of the larger BRussell Tribunal, named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell. Established in 1967 to investigate Vietnam war crimes, it's a hearing committee, most recently on the Iraq war and Bush administration imperialism. Its work continues as "the only game in town for the anti-war movement in America, Britain and Europe" - to unite non-violently for peace on various world's hot spots, now for Occupied Palestine to expose decades of injustice against a defenseless civilian population. National committees will be formed globally, including expert ones composed of jurists, lawyers, human rights and international law experts, weapons experts, and others...

Arab-Latin American Cooperation: Shared Interests
16 May 2009 - By Martin Saatdjian - Venezuela The recently held summit of Arab and South American leaders in Doha, Qatar, took place during a very critical historical moment for humankind. Social, environmental, food, and economic crises have grown in their intensity in the past few years, making it harder for developing countries to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of overcoming poverty, eradicating hunger, preventing diseases, avoiding military conflicts, and the like. In addition to this dull view of world affairs, major international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), predict a sharp decline in economic activity in the entire world because of the financial crisis that has affected the most industrialized and developing countries. The meeting of the Arab and Latin American countries could be interpreted that both regions have found a common ground on where to discuss and make agreements to increase their economic ties, and to boost mutual cooperation. Furthermore, Arab and South American countries hope to create a united front against the foreign powers that have always had a grip in the socioeconomic order of Arab and South American countries. Even though it is premature to observe concrete results, the summit is the first step of establishing political dialogue between Arab and South American countries. The Arab-South-American cooperation could eventually breed a solid understanding between both regions and real cooperation that would allow the possibility to complement each other's economic growth. They could share technological and industrial knowledge, create financial tools to weather the...

'There is Still Time to Separate'?
16 May 2009 - By Terry Lacey - Jakarta The mythological Ousalam bird became extinct because its mating dance was so complicated that it forgot the reason for doing it. Now we enter a new phase in the Middle East Peace talks in which the objective will be to dance as beautifully as possible, for as long as possible. We start to see what we long suspected, that it may be too late for the twin state. What an interesting quotation on Al Jazeera, from Michael Williams the new UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East. Did he not say the words “There is still time to separate”? But it may be too late to separate. The walls, barriers and balkanization, apparent evidence of separation between Israelis and Palestinians, partly justified by security, may mean its impossible to create a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just told the UN Security Council that Briton Michael Williams was named as new UN special coordinator for the Middle East. He will be the UN envoy to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization as well as the quartet of Middle East advisers, which includes the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. But the power of the Palestinian Authority and PLO based in Ramallah is limited to the balkanized West Bank and it lacks electoral legitimacy. Hamas has the political initiative and was elected. Ban, in a letter to the council, also said Williams would coordinate "all UN...

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